Working as a freelance videographer during the 2011 season, I traveled a lot, trying to keep up with the bills. I was blessed with some great trips and captured on film some beautiful hunts for others. I was also lucky enough to find a little time to hunt around home for myself.
I’ve been hunting the same piece of property in Nebraska for 14 years now. I used to follow my dad’s footsteps in oversized hand-me-down camo, just trying to learn his techniques and discover why he loves to hunt. I still hunt that property with my dad, and today, I know exactly why he loves to hunt. We’ll wish each other “Good luck” and head our own directions, meeting up at the end of the day to share everything we encountered, the ups and the downs. It doesn’t matter what it is, we share it all because we love it all and want to learn from each other.
I got lucky in late October when I had a day or two to spare between trips. The buck, a nice 4x4, came in to one of our food plots displaying his dominance to the feeding does around him. I filmed myself and made a well-placed 40 yard shot on his vitals. Dad was right there with me at the end of the day to hear my story and help drag out my buck.
I also committed nine days in the middle of November to my tag in Iowa. Four years ago I drew the same tag, and after multiple short trips, I came up empty handed. This year was a different story. I dedicated the best time of the year to this tag, and it paid off on the fifth day of my trip. At 1:30 in the afternoon, this buck caught my eye cruising through the timber. I gave him a few challenging grunts and he turned on a dime. The rut-crazed whitetail marched right under my stand and left me with a 5 yard shot. I couldn’t have been more pleased.
With the remainder of the year, I tried to harvest my first mature buck with a recurve. I made it out quite a few times and saw some great bucks that I could have easily shot using my compound, but I stuck with it to the end and never had that clean, close opportunity to let an arrow fly. I did, however, harvest a few does to do my part on management and fill the freezer.
Dad also had certain goals for the late season with two particular bucks he was after. He was so dedicated to these bucks I promised myself I wouldn’t shoot if they ever walked by me. On the last day of season, dad got his opportunity and released an arrow into one of them: a mature 6x6 that we’ve had a lot of history with. It was a great way to end our season and the year. Happy New Year to my fellow Sitka lovers!