Barefoot Buck Story
This barefoot buck was a moment that I would have never have imagined I would ever experienced in my lifetime.
(Not) Growing up in the outdoors
For people who know me, they know how unconventional my outdoor story is. Growing up, my parents did not raise me hunting or fishing, and being involved in the outdoors wasn’t something I knew much about. In fact, all my life I was classified as my family’s “girly girl.” I was a ballerina, then a cheerleader, and on the dance team in middle-school. Oh, and I absolutely loved fixing my hair and dabbling in makeup. Luckily for my poor dad, who has a wife and FOUR daughters, I played basketball, mainly because, against my mom’s wishes, he convinced me to at the age of eight (fortunately, I truly loved it and stuck with it every year until I graduated).
Being called “girly” all my life and not being introduced to the outdoors definitely forced me to label myself as “unworthy” of ever trying to fish or hunt. So, I never did. I had several friends growing up that hunted, but most of them were pretty unethical and egotistical. There were many disheartening moments I had witnessed because of them, and unfortunately, it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth toward the outdoor industry. I started to hate seeing photos of successful hunts. I unfollowed people on social media that expressed their love for hunting. And, I even blocked hunting pages so Instagram’s algorithms would get the point.
The turning point
But luckily for me, I met someone who was patient enough to challenge my reasoning for hating outdoor sports and the so-called conservationists. And after I realized that I did not have any solid answers for him, I figured out that the reason I did not “like” hunting was because I did not understand it… not even a little bit.
As time went on, Cody finally convinced me to at least try it. So, I did… and I have been hooked ever since!
And just when I thought hunting could not get any better than what I had experienced over the last year and a half, I got to experience this incredible N1 moment.
I had sat in this same spot for two weeks straight. I watched and passed over 100 deer in the thirteen days that I hunted this area. The majority of them were does, but I did have the opportunity to watch several small bucks chase during my hunts. I was starting to get discouraged. So, I mentioned to Cody that I may need to try a new spot if things didn’t start picking up.
Instead of encouraging me to try a different spot, Cody decided to come with me to the same spot, once again.
Big buck and barefoot stealth
We sat there, as usual, and watched several does graze and play, and then the occasional spike or young buck that would run them off. But shortly after we got settled, Cody said, “oh my gosh, big buck! Big buck, Alyssa!” He says this same phrase, A LOT. He loves to get me excited only to tell me that he was “just kidding.” So, naturally, I didn’t believe him. But when I was rolling my eyes at him, I spotted what he had already seen… a beautiful eight point that we had watched in this field the previous year. In fact, it was the same buck that Cody has missed in the previous year (just saying ?).
Anyway, the buck was well over 300 yards away. But that wasn’t going to discourage us from doing our best to get a shot on him. We quickly grabbed our guns, ditched out spot, and made our way to the wood line so that we could walk through the trees until we were close enough for an ethical shot. Cody insisted that we take our shoes off to be quiet, and I was too in shock to argue with him, so we made the 240-yard trek barefooted.
Put your gun on my shoulder
Once we got within 60 yards, Cody decided that we didn’t need to test our luck, so we didn’t go any further.
As both of us were trembling all over and praying to the Lord (not even exaggerating), Cody allowed me to prop my gun on his shoulder so I didn’t have to free-hand my shot. I swear, it didn’t make it any easier. The adrenaline was rushing through my body and I couldn’t quit shaking to save my life. It took me over ten minutes to shoot the deer, and because of the anxiety during the moment, it felt like it was taking a stinking hour for me to get steady and make the shot.
Finally, the buck forced me to pull the trigger. He looked up at a snorting doe that was down wind from us, and was just about to take off running when I got the guts to pull the trigger.
The N1 Moment
He ran, which was super hard to watch because that left me wondering if my shot was accurate and fatal. But instead of worrying, I hit my knees and cried. I was so thankful, so excited, so anxious, and so completely overwhelmed. But mostly, I realized how rare and unforgettable this moment was and how lucky I was to experience it with my best friend.
We both sat there smiling, shaking, and laughing as we replayed the whole thing over and over. After we let some time pass, Cody decided it was okay for us to go look for some blood… which we never recovered. After frantically searching the area for just a single drop of blood or a strand of hair, and coming up with NOTHING, we decided to just move on to where we last saw him in the wood line.
Once we got there, there was no need to search any further… he was right there.
I can honestly say that moment was one of the best moments I have ever experienced; excitement, adrenaline, fear, and thankfulness… all N1.
– By Aly Schreiber
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If seeing pictures of a huge buck and reading the play-by-play story of the hunt excites you, then read below for some great stories about some unforgettable archery bucks.
“Close Call”: The Backstory Of This 18-Point Monster Buck
I saw this deer on camera around mid-December of 2016 and became obsessed. I had hundreds and hundreds of pictures of him. In February, I noticed he hadn’t been to the area or fed at the feeder, so I started looking for his sheds.
I found one side (which was the side I wanted the most). He was at my best guess a 15 point, and had 10 points on the shed I found. It sucked my attention in even deeper. My wife got so sick of hearing about “close call.” I never name deer, but he had what looked like a gunshot wound in his right ear, so I dubbed him “close call.” After I found his shed, I focused a lot of attention on the area where I knew this huge buck was.
In April of 2017, he showed back up, with just 2 or 3 inch nubs on his head. Of course, because of his ears, and my obsession, I knew it was him. He stuck around for a few weeks, and then of course, disappeared again and remained out of view until around June, when he came back. He stayed close by and on camera sometimes 3 different times a day from June on.
I’m from Kentucky, and our season comes in really early, so I was counting down the days and doing my very best to just keep him around. Around the first of August, he quit feeding at the feeder, but was still visible in the open. Our archery season opened on September 2 this year, and in my mind, I had him in the bag. I ran up to 4 cams to keep my eyes on him, and one was a Spartan cell cam. It kept me from frequenting the area, and I knew instantly when he was there. On August 31st I have video of him in the broad daylight at what would have been an 18 yard shot for me.
My confidence was out the roof. The season opened and I spent the next 6 days in the stand. I only hunted him of an evening, seeing I never had a picture or anything of a morning of him. But, over those 6 days, he never showed his face at all.
I was crushed. In my mind, I knew he was probably just laying low and in the process of shedding his velvet. I back off for a few days and would keep my eye on my cameras, thinking I had applied too much pressure. He finally showed back up but had gone completely nocturnal. Around the 15th of September, he had completely vanished. I just knew someone else had gotten him I told no one but a very tight group about this deer.
Then, one day I was at my son’s football practice and heard someone talking about a huge buck they had seen in the area where the buck lived. I then knew he was still alive, but it worried me that someone would do something stupid to him. For the next 2 weeks the buck would only show up about ever 4-6 days for a brief minute, and in the middle of the night. He was playing hide ‘n seek. At least I knew he was still alive, is all I could think of. I stayed away and didn’t hunt for weeks.
On September 26, while away from home, my cell phone dings and there he is. It’s 4 in the evening and I’m not in the woods, so I figured my one chance had come and gone. I looked closely at the forecast and figured I could hunt the 28th and 29th because there was a cool front coming, and the wind would be perfect. I hunted the 28th and nothing. Not a single deer.
I was kind of skeptical, but wouldn’t give up. My wife and I had plans for the evening of the 29th, but she was okay with me hunting for a few hours that evening. I got there around 4:30 that evening and it was calm and perfect. I texted my wife and told her, “this would be the perfect evening for him to show up. It’s so quiet and calm.” She told me that it was okay if I stayed till dark, before we went out. She understood my obsession more than anyone. At around 5:45, I had a small buck come in. He wasn’t there long and left.
The Staredown And An Errant Shot?
I was just enjoying the evening being in the woods. Around 6:25 or so, I decided I’d try a little very light rattling (seeing it worked the year before). About 10-15 minutes after I heard what sounded like a cough or something from the hill across from me. I focused my full attention to that area. I saw movement coming my way…. a small basket 8 point I had on cam.
As soon as he came out, I saw a second deer coming. It turned out to be the small 3 point that was there earlier in the evening. After he came out, it still sounded like more deer were coming. Low and behold, I look in the timber and here he comes. I instantly began become overwhelmed. The buck came out, just like I had planned, but he looked right at me. He turned around like he was going to head back into the timber, so I drew on him. He was quartering away at 21 yards.
I held tight and left the arrow fly. Instantly I knew I had just messed up on the buck of a lifetime. The shot looked super high. I was sick. I set back and text my wife and told her I had just shot him. Then, I went over the shot in my head 100 times. I went and retrieved the arrow and looked it over. It appeared to have really good blood, so I wasn’t so sure I had hit it high.
The N1 Moment
My wife finally showed up, and we went looking. It was the first time she had ever tracked and she was super excited. We continued to find good blood, then about 70 yards in the timber, there be laid. The buck of my lifetime….the one I had become so obsessed over.
This buck gross scored 177 7/8”, even though he was only 14 ½” wide. He has 18 scoreable points. This buck is my biggest to date, and the most gratifying as well. Come to find out, in the middle of September when he disappeared, it was because someone had tried to poach him. He was shot with a small caliber rifle, just above the shoulder. I got very lucky to be able to harvest such a huge buck. What a tough and awesome animal.
– By John Workman
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Bonus: Huge Buck Story #2 (The Coat Hanger Buck)
This was one N1 Moment™ that 30-year old Garrett Schmidt could hang his hat on… literally.
Opening day of archery season in Kansas
It was a 10-hour drive from League City, Texas, to the Southeast Kansas property he and some friends had recently gotten permission to hunt. But this was opening day of archery deer season in Kansas. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was 100 hours.
“I knew it was going to be hot and possibly rain. But, I get so jacked up for the start of a new season that I didn’t care,” he said.
Garrett had noticed something his previous spot-and-stalk hunts on the property. The deer would jump the fence in the afternoons and hit the bean fields on the south end. But he knew he needed a North wind to hunt that part of the property. He also knew that having an opportunity to harvest a trophy Kansas buck is worth some sweat — and a little luck never hurts either.
“I ended up walking a mile in the heat around 3:00 pm and finally made it to the edge of the beans where I thought was going to be the best spot to shoot.”
As dusk was quickly approaching, Garret noticed a rack of horns sticking out of the beans 150 yards away.
“I knew he was a good buck,” he said. But the beans were so tall I did not see the trash he had, especially the coat hanger drop tine on his left main beam.”
But, drop tine or not, Garret knew time was running out.
Bean field belly crawl
“I had only 45 minutes to make this happen. With the wind in my face I made a 100-yard belly crawl through the beans. I ended up within shooting distance of this non-typical buck,” he said. “I stood up fast out of the beans, drew my bow back, found the sweet spot, and let the Rage broadhead do the rest.”
The “coat hanger buck” goes down
The “coat hanger buck” was down. And, while Garret didn’t have his friends with him on this trip to help share in the excitement, the part they played wasn’t overlooked.
“When it was all said and done I wasn’t able to take fancy pictures or share this moment with a buddy. But, none of this would have been possible without the help of my good friends putting in the time and work over the year to get everything ready for this amazing opportunity.”
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Bonus: Huge Buck Story #3
Friday afternoon, September 30, 2016, I arrived to my lease in Natchez, Mississippi. I unloaded the truck and ranger and headed to the woods to check my two cameras to decide where I was going to hunt that weekend. As I was scrolling through 800 pictures of does and bucks, my buddy told me to stop and back up. I scrolled back and there was a giant 8-point buck in full velvet. This was the first time I had seen a picture of him. I kept scrolling and the past few evenings he had been coming out right before dark. I immediately got nervous, since I’ve never had an opportunity to hunt a deer like him before. So I decided to not hunt there in the morning and to save the spot for an evening hunt on opening day.
Don’t walk away from me
The evening hunt on opening day approached and I began to get anxious, wondering how the hunt would go. It was very warm, so I grabbed my bow and took my time walking to my stand, because I didn’t want to sweat. I arrived at my stand at 3:55 pm and climbed up. As I got my bow in my stand, I realized something looked funny. I forgot my quiver back at the ranger! Trying not to get too upset, but still frustrated, I climbed back down and started walking back to the ranger. I decided to take my shirt off so I wouldn’t sweat on it, since it’s a good 10-12 minute walk up and down the hills.
Eventually, I made it to the ranger, got my quiver, and made my way back to the stand. I climbed in, nocked an arrow, turned the Thermacell on, put my shirt back on, and painted my face. By then, it was about 4:25 pm.
A Just Pass’N Through Archery Moment
I was checking my phone at 4:30 and I looked up and boom! There he was, 35 yards out to my left. He walked out into the food plot and stopped. Then he turned around and started heading back to the woods where he came from. As soon as he got to the wood line, he stopped again.
I didn’t have a clear shot and I was thinking to myself, “I’m fixing to watch this huge buck walk out my life!” He then turned and started walking directly toward me and stopped at 10 yards. He made another turn back out to the food plot and stopped at 15 yards, quartered away from me. I waited for the opportunity to draw back when he wasn’t looking. As soon as he looked away, I drew back, controlled my breathing and let the arrow fly. I made a great shot on him and the arrow was Just Pass’N Through! He he only ran about 70 yards. It was the best hunt of my life.
-By Khavon Ghassemi
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If you love unforgettable outdoor moments, enjoy the stories below of a first archery buck, a second chance buck and a and the best kind of archery sight…
My First Archery Buck Moment
I started hunting while I was in high school. But, it was not until after college that I realized hunting was something I had a great passion for. The 2017 season held a lot of firsts for me, including my first animal with a bow. I practiced shooting my bow nearly every day until the season started, so I knew I would be ready to take my first archery buck…
A perfect hunting day
It was the first cold front of the year. It was mid-October in Washington County, Pennsylvania, the night it all came together for me. The wind was perfect. I had a feeling in my gut something was going to happen this night. I had hunted the morning this same day but did not even see a deer, but I was not discouraged.
The buck shows up
With a good amount of time until last light, this 8-point buck came walking in the field to my left. He came in quickly past me like he was on a mission entering the timber. He stopped to eat 38 yards away from me. He was standing there, quartering away. His body was literally only visible between two trees. I thought the shot would be too far for me, but I wanted him. I ranged him a second time before I pulled my bow back…
The buck stops here
I took a deep breath and took the shot. I watched my arrow sink into him, hitting his vitals. Then, I watched him jump, and then run away with the arrow stuck in his side. I heard him crash no more than 50 yards away from where I hit him. “I got him!” I thought and immediately called my boyfriend to tell him the news. I went back to the house and gave the deer some time before going to look for blood. The blood trail was hard to miss, you could say.
The N1 Moment
As I walked up to my deer, I felt grateful and proud. The hours I spent practicing all paid off. It was such a special moment for me. I’ll never forget my first archery buck!
– By Jennifer Danella
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A different story about a second buck…
This was my first year hunting, and to say I was excited was an understatement. We had gone out scouting and sat for a while the first night when a monster buck came out. I was so excited and filled with adrenaline that I ended up missing. I was devastated and was so down on myself that I wasn’t sure I wanted to try again.
My husband had to give me many pep talks to get my moral back up, but when I got the courage to go back out, that’s when we came across this awesome guy.
Ready, aim, fire… N1 Moment
I got my gun ready and shot. I dropped him at 320 yards with my 22-250. Then, I dropped to my knees just as I was told would happen! There were a few tears of pure joy as I knew I was able to provide food for my family. Such an amazing experience and awesome N1 Moment!
-By Keeley Sanders
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Blindness And A Bow
For the bowhunter, a chance to harvest an animal at close range is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. But, in an age of trophy-taking, sponsorships and social media competition, bigger often gets the looks and the “likes.” For 24-year-old Austin Carpenter, however, this N1 Moment™ means more than any wall hanger ever could.
“About 7 years ago I got hit in the eye, causing severe trauma,” he said. “For a few months I had so much inflammation behind my eye, I was literally blind.”
Months of treatment finally cleared up the inflammation, but left Austin with permanently blurred vision and a form of visual arthritis that flares up often, making it difficult to see at all, much less shoot a bow. Because of the discouragement and challenges caused by his condition, Austin’s bow lay untouched, collecting dust, for several months prior to the 2016 archery deer season.
“I honestly had zero interest in it or in hunting,” he said. “I nearly let the adversity beat me.”
But that “itch” a hunter gets before the season begins can be a powerful thing.
The draw of archery season
“Right before the season started, I picked up my bow just to shoot around a bit,” he said. “One shot later, I realized what a mistake I was making, giving up a passion without a fight.”
From that moment forward, Austin began working overtime, getting back into the groove of shooting as accurately as he could and making adjustments. His first opportunity to hunt in the 2016 Georgia archery season presented an opportunity to take a doe that, prior to his condition, he might have taken for granted. But, this time, appreciation preceded and followed the shot.
“If I told you the emotions and nerves didn’t take over, I’d by lying badly,” he said. “After everything I’ve battled, it took everything in me not to break down.”
But, there was no time for tears. Austin was about to experience an N1 Moment™.
An emotional moment
“I made a less than perfect shot, but she didn’t make it far at all before she expired,” he said.
And while the excitement of the harvest took center stage, Austin knows that there is so much more to this moment than pictures and a full freezer.
“I’m incredibly blessed and thankful, to say the least. And, I’m thankful to all those who stood behind me and pushed me through all the ups and downs.”
This is one N1 Moment™ that Austin will see clearly for years to come.
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