I have been hunting since I was 12 years old and have to say that this past weekend will go down in my history book as one of my favorite weekends of hunting I can remember.  I finally ended an archery "buckless streak."I actually was going to sleep in and take Pepper bird hunting on Sunday (October 4). I woke up to let her out around 4:30 a.m., and with no wind and light snow on the ground, I had no choice but to head for the deer stand. I have been passing up bucks for a few years. I would gladly take a doe over a smaller buck. Even I buy in to the "QDM" (quality deer management) in an effort to try to get some bigger, more mature bucks walking around. Even this archery season I let some pretty decent bucks walk by.

Clay Moden

Sunday was  one of those days that things came together just right. An hour after daylight  I hadn't seen a deer at all. This was supposed to be the rut? I pulled out my grunt call for the heck of it and grunted three very short and quiet grunts. Put the grunt call away, thinking it would never work. Five minutes later, I look to my right (down wind), and there stood a big-bodied deer with a little rack! He walked 20 yards from my stand and stood broadside. I figured  the deer was older than a year and a half (his body and head looked way too "full"), and I saw that it was at least a six-point (turned out to be eight scorable points, with two broken off or it would have been 10).

I thought about letting it go, then I thought about how cool it was that I grunted a buck in! I let the arrow fly, and it hit some scrub brush I didn't see (gotta clear my lanes better!). I thought I missed. He turned and walked off like nothing happened. I knocked another arrow and tried to grunt him back. After 15 minutes, I go out of the stand to get my arrow and make sure I didn't hit the deer. Walked to the spot, and there was blood and hair everywhere. The arrow had fat on it but no blood???

I got my buddies and we waited at least an hour before heading back after the deer. Once we got after him, the tracking was easy!! Blood everywhere. Spraying out of both sides. That deer ran at least 150-200 yards with a big hole in the jugular vein! My arrow deflected off the small brush and hit the deer in the throat! Not my best shot, but I'd rather be lucky than good.

This is a two-and-a-half-year-old deer with horrible genes. The rack has some points but not much else. He's a good sized animal, and I am the happiest bow hunter in WNY today! Can't wait to get him on the grill. Anyone that thinks bow hunting is easy has never tried it. It is more than see a deer, kill a deer. The work, time and strategy involved is pretty involved and can be pretty frustrating.  But the rewards are amazing. This deer, this hunt and the entire day after mean a lot to me. From sharing the experience with my friends to the memories of grunting in a deer on a crisp fall day, it's one I will never forget!!