The month of November is basically the Holy Grail for most of the country’s whitetail hunters. This time of year for much of the country is when the big boys get on their feet as the urge to breed pushes them forward and the search for does is the demise of many. With peak deer activity during this time, a hunter’s dream of that once-in-a-lifetime buck tends to take over their mind. His consciousness becomes focused on the task at hand: filling that buck tag.
I myself am no different than anyone else. Fortunately, I do get to hunt a lot as well as travel to different places all over the country annually, but I do spend many hours each week in the office so that I can keep the lights on. My mind wanders when I can’t be in the woods and longs for being in a tree more than in an office chair, so when November rolls around I try to shift many things to allow more time in the woods. This year was hard, but I still made it happen.
One of my goals this season was to prove on film that I could tag out in my home state of Georgia. I arrowed a nice buck in early October to fill my first tag and in my mind thought it would be no problem to fill the other with so much of the season left to go. After focusing my first two and a half weeks of November in Georgia, the reality that this was going to be harder than I thought set in. This season has been one of the strangest in a long time with the “rut” being very spotty and the big bucks doing most of their movement at night, even more so than normal. To say it has been frustrating would be an understatement for us, but we kept going and going. Finally, the day after Thanksgiving my second opportunity of the season presented itself.
With a dominant Southeast wind blowing, I decided to hunt one of our food plots that’s usually good for at least seeing a few deer in the evenings. My thoughts were that if I hunt a spot I know does are feeding at, maybe I could just get some luck on my side. Walking in spraying some Muzzy Scrape Juice scent, we spooked one doe out of the plot and a few minutes after getting into the stand we had a small buck pass by right under us and head right for the Scrape Juice looking for a girlfriend. After about an hour with no action and with my frustration continuing to build, a familiar group of does and yearlings appeared. This group of four had been a staple of the plot every evening. This time they had another deer in tow, however: it was a buck! The foursome fed across the plot and headed into some pines as the cautious buck finally walked out of the thick brush to follow across. He paused long enough for me to see he was a tall, wide eight point that would fit the bill for my final buck tag for Georgia on the season.
Grabbing my gun and easing the barrel toward the buck, I easily found the crosshairs of my Hawke scope and settled them right behind the buck’s shoulder. Squeezing the trigger, the roar sounded and I watched the buck jump and stumble out of the plot.
Walking to the spot of impact the sign was easy to find and my buck was down just yards into the wood line. Finally! Hunting on my family farm I am pretty picky about what I try to shoot. I hadn’t taken a buck there in over two years. This buck wasn’t the largest by any means but to me it is always special to fill a tag on our own land. The history floods through my mind after every hunt, knowing that for over 100 years our family has worked, played, and preserved this land for moments like this.
Always remember, it isn’t the size of the trophy, it’s the size of the hunt.
God bless and good hunting.