The fourth weekend of December started off like any other since whitetail season opened. With gear loaded, I drove north on Friday after work. I decided to press my
luck on fuel and ending up
running out 20 miles south of camp.
A 10:00pm phone call rustled Steve
out of bed to come get me off the road. The lack of required
sleep caused a change in plans. We would stay on the property for the morning hunt, rather than check out another area. I
chose to hunt a tripod stand situated on the crossing of two lanes in the
middle of a gorgeous pine plantation. Behind the stand, ran a creek with a bit
of water in it. In front, a green grass strip that always seemed to spark the
interest of a whitetail cruising through the pines.
Early the next morning, a nice 8-point
stepped into the bend of the food plot and stood for a minute. I struggled to get a look at him. He very well may have been a shooter, but
I couldn't make myself squeeze the trigger without being 100% sure. For the next hour and a half, I was kicking myself thinking I made a mistake for passing on the buck.
Suddenly, I heard twigs
snapping and the distinct sound of whitetails slipping through the pines. I
looked to my left and noticed a young back standing at just over 100 yards. After
eyeballing him through the scope, I knew he wasn’t a shooter and
I set my rifle back on the rail. Less than ten seconds later, another head popped out
I knew it was unlikely that a doe was following a young buck. My heart raced as the scope revealed great
tine length and solid mass. When he stepped into the middle of the lane, I gave him a ''blah" with my mouth and he locked up, looking my way. His impressive
headgear and huge body were exactly what I’d been holding out for. I squeezed off the shot, he
bucked and lunged forward.
Once I made my way to where
he was standing, I found the torn up dirt in the food plot where he lunged. Two
steps into the woods, I found great blood and knew it was going to be a
quick track job. The bloodtrail led me to the creek.
When I got to the edge of
the creek and he wasn't laying there, I got concerned immediately, thinking he had made it up the other side -
a 12 foot embankment. Perhaps a short track job wasn’t in the
Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong! One step
into the creek bottom and I saw his long tines and massive body breaking the
surface of the water less than 40 paces to my right.
I was frozen in awe. The image of him laying in the running creek water,
rack up, was unforgettable. I was so lost in that moment, all I could do was snap a photo to capture it forever.
I went back to camp and
Steve's daughter, Sidney, and her boyfriend, Harris Schwing, helped drag him out
of the creek and load him up. I couldn't have asked for a better morning than to spend it with my
Photo: Sidney Sceroler.
Thanks to Steve, Rhonda,
Sidney and Mallory Sceroler for their unbelievable hospitality and friendship. Many thanks as well to my newest hunting buddy, Harris, for letting me be a part of their lives
and their family hunting ground. I've got some special memories for life that
we captured and shared together.