Rare Rainy Day Piebald Buck

Steve Johnson

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Story By: Michael Stefanik It was the evening of October 23rd and I was preparing my hunting gear to hunt one of my stands in the morning. This was the first time I would be hunting this stand this year. The weather forecast was dismal! The forecast called for torrential downpours on and off all day. Great, I have never had any luck in weather like this. At least, this would give me an opportunity to try out my new tree umbrella. I had a long week at work and I couldn't wait until morning to get out there, no matter what the weather was.

Two weeks prior, I was talking to a landscaper friend who told me he was seeing a really big ten point buck crossing the road into this river bottom I used to hunt. I hastily donned my scouting clothes and proceeded to scout this slice of land. Hunting this property has been very frustrating in the past because of the wind direction and the way the land is set up. There is a road in front, a shallow river in the back, a creek to the left and a steep hillside to the right. It was perfect for deer to escape no matter which way you approach. I was very disappointed with my scouting results. There was absolutely no buck sign. I did see a couple of doe beds and some small tracks. Somehow I had a hunch about this place even though I never shot anything there. After a few hours of frustrating deliberation, I chose to enter the right side of the property. I would have to go down a steep embankment, then eighty yards to my stand. If this worked then it would be worth the stalk in the dark. I set my stand in a tree at the edge of a small beaver-dammed culvert. The trap was now set.

I woke up at 3:30 the morning of the 24th and couldn't believe the sound of the rain. I went outside to verify how hard it was raining and decided to abort the hunting idea and go back to bed. My wife asked me what I was doing. I told her I never had any luck in this type of rain. She proceeded to tell me that maybe this might be the day my luck changes. I decided to go with the hunch! I remember driving to my stand thinking to myself, I must be out of my mind to hunt in this type of weather. I kept saying a hunch is a hunch and I truly believe in hunches!

I climbed into my stand one and a half hours before it started to get light so I could have time to install my tree umbrella, settle in and calm down. It got light and I saw nothing but squirrels. I waited an hour. Still I saw nothing. I decided to grab my rattling antlers and grunt call. I figured I had nothing to lose since it was raining and nothing was in sight. I blew into my grunt tube, urrrp, urrrp, urrrrrrrp. Waited, looked and nothing. I took my rattling antlers and tickled them together for about thirty seconds and blew into the grunt tube again. A half hour later about eighty yards in front of me I saw a deer! He was pawing the ground and raking the brush with his antlers in front of him. I grabbed my bow and slowly stood up. I attached my release to the string just in case. He started walking towards me. Now he was forty yards away and I couldn't believe my eyes! He was like a bright- white neon light bulb! He had a large white patch on one side that went from his stomach all the way to the top of his back and white patches on his brisket and neck. He had a white stripe that ran down his back and his legs were white with patches of brown. This was the legendary ten point piebald deer!

Now he was at the edge of the culvert twenty yards in front of me grunting, snorting and pawing the ground. His ears were pinned back and his fur on his back was standing straight up! I thought my heart would pound right out of my chest! The deer was facing me. I had no shot! I decided to gamble and go to full draw just in case he moves. I must have made some noise drawing because he looked right up at me! His eyes met my eyes and at that moment it was as though we both knew. When he turned to leave I let the arrow fly. The arrow hit its mark high just under the back bone severing a main artery. He ran fifty yards and collapsed. I now had to sit down. I waited until I gained enough strength to climb down from my stand. I remember as I was walking up to this once in a lifetime trophy, thinking how truly intuitive my wife really was. When I finally knelt beside this magnificent animal and held his antlers in my hands, I finally comprehended why I never take this sport for granted. I now know how very blessed I am.

Posted by Steve Johnson under Field Journals on January 12, 10 08:28 AM | Permalink

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