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My First Buck Using My Late Father's Bow

Derek Slocum

I am grateful enough to be able to hunt on a family farm that has been around for as long as I can remember. This farm is only 36 acres but it has the right amount of cover and food to make it a sweet spot to hunt. I run a few Browning Trailcams on this farm year-round just to keep inventory of deer and turkey. In August, I was scrolling through a memory card and finally scrolled across a mature "hitlister" buck!

September rolls around and all deer have lost their velvet, and any hunter knows, when a buck loses its velvet, their pattern most likely changes. Well this was the case with the #1 hitlister for the year. I had tons of pictures of this buck in velvet but when he lost it, there was no further camera activity of him. I hunted hard starting Sept. 15th and any high pressure and correct wind; I was in the woods hunting for this one buck.

November 2nd, a morning to soon be one that I will never forget. The rut has fully kicked in at this point, and I had the right wind and a high-pressure front was moving in. I was supposed to help my brother-in-law with a roof we started the day before but I convinced him that there would be too much frost in the morning, so we might as well spend the morning in a tree stand. So, I traded in my work boots for my Lacrosse boots and hunted before heading to roof. The morning couldn't have gone any better. On my walk into the stand there were already bucks chasing does in the woods, which it was too dark to see them but you could hear the grunts and the doe busting through the timber. There was a lot of action as soon as I sat down and had a nice respectable management buck walk in that the neighbor and I planned to take if we had seen. Unfortunately, that buck was on a doe and he never provided a shot for me.

After sitting for a while and texting back and forth with some buddies of mine and deer their kids had shot that morning, (youth season in Missouri was happening that weekend also), I decided to rattle and let out a few grunts. As soon as I put my phone in my pocket and started to grab my rattling antlers, I looked up and out in the field, there he stood… my #1 hitlister! This deer has been MIA for almost 2 months. As soon as I saw him, I instantly went to grab my bow. Now at this particular moment, the buck is already at 30 yards and staring directly up at me. We had a stare off for what felt like 10 minutes but was really only for a minute. Luckily, I had the sun behind me and the buck could not see what he was looking at. He then put his head down and couldn't have walked in a better direction. He walked 10 yards in front of me and I placed a perfect broad side shot. He ran about 30 yards and I watched as he went down!

After scoring 154 5/8", this ends up being my biggest buck with a bow shot. Not only is that something I will remember forever, but the bow itself is what I'll truly never forget. This was the first buck I have ever shot using my late father's bow. I made the transition from my bow to his bow the year prior. I say a prayer to him every morning I hunt, asking him to send me a big one. Thanks dad, for listening to me that morning—I needed a good reason to justify to your son-in-law that being late to the roof that morning was a good idea!