As I entered my treestand on Saturday morning, there was a cold light mist falling. I was hunting the downwind edge of a known whitetail bedding area. A cold front had moved through the night before and temperatures were nearly 35 degrees cooler than just 12 hours ago. I settled into my treestand nearly an hour before legal shooting light and about a half hour after getting set up, I heard movement to the southwest on the edge of the food plots.
I could see a deer, but couldn't tell much else because it was nearly 50 yards away and it was still pitch black. I watched as he headed through the middle of the plot. When he reached my shooting lane at 30 yards, I could see a bright white mess of bone high above his head. With every step he took, he let out a low, short grunt. I couldn't tell how many points or even begin to guess on a score, I just knew he was big and was a definite shooter. As the whitetail walked off to the north, I began to wonder what I could do to get him back. A few minutes after he disappeared, I let a couple grunt out of my grunt tube. Shortly there after, he came back towards the south. This time, he was a mere 15 yards from my location. I grunted as entered my lane. He stopped at just the right time. I drew back, hit my anchor, and looked for my pin. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough light to make the shot. I could have forced one on him, but with a whitetail deer of that caliber, I didn't want to force anything or risk wounding him. As he walked off, I looked at my watch, and it was exactly a half hour before sunrise. In Illinois, this is when legal light starts, but with a thick blanket of clouds, it was a little darker than normal. After the sky started to brighten some more, I went through a series of rattles, grunts, and snort-wheezes, but was unsuccessful in luring the giant whitetail back into bow range. The rest of the hunt was filled with snowflakes and an empty stand of woods. The snow made for a beautiful sit that morning, but one more win for the whitetails and I returned home unsuccessful.