Thanksgiving morning of 2016 will be one I will always remember. I sat quietly in my climber that morning overlooking the creek bottom that runs through the property. The sun came up and the thick fog that engulfed the hardwoods slowly lifted. It was a quiet and beautiful morning, and I felt blessed to be in the woods as the sun started hitting the forest floor. I had a case knife in my pocket… but more on that later.
There is not, and never has been for me, something as serene as sitting N1 of God’s carefully prepared landscapes, watching the sun rise and fall over you as the world awakens or quietly falls asleep. It is those times that I am reminded that no matter what is going on in the hustle and bustle that seems wrong, the sun is still going to come up, and the oaks will still drop their acorns the next day. In other words, nature doesn’t know of the hardships or blessings you may be experiencing. It just is, and it just does, exactly as it was told to do by God. That has always been reason enough for me to escape to the woods.
But, this morning in particular would prove to be one of even greater blessing. I was in the woods, with a Case knife in my pocket. So, here is where the story gets good…
When the fog lifts and the breakfast hits
At roughly 7:30 that morning the fog had finally lifted enough to have decent visibility. The animals around me had started their daily routines. I decided that I would rattle a couple minutes, in about 20-second intervals. For whatever reason, I like to grunt once or twice in between the rattle sequences. So that’s what I did, I rattled about 20 seconds and then waited about 20 seconds and then rattled again, so on and so forth. I did that for two minutes while hitting my grunt four or five times.
When I was satisfied that I had the attention of any buck around me, I quit and waited about 2 minutes and then I hit my doe bleat. In my head, that is when things get serious. If I was a buck I would be thinking, not only are two unknown bucks sparring on my property, they have a doe ready and willing with them. That’s my train of thought anyway. So, I put my calls down and waited.
That’s when it hit me. The sausage biscuit I had eaten an hour earlier had to have a final resting place… and it needed to get there in a hurry. I climbed down the tree and walked off about 20 yards and did the deed. I quickly realized that if I didn’t have a napkin in my pocket, then I was going to be leaving with one wool sock less than what I had arrived with! On a 37-degree morning, with wet boots, that didn’t seem like a good idea!
Case knife life saver
Well, what’s a guy to do in such a predicament? I did the only thing I could think of… I pulled out my trusty Case knife and cut a square out of the front left leg of my flannel boxer shorts and my problem was solved. Always carry a case pocket knife N1 of your pockets when you go to the woods; you never know how useful it can be!
Big buck moment
I made my way up the tree and sat there thinking I had ruined my hunt. I thought about getting down but I thought to myself, nah, I’m here now, I may as well keep hunting. My Dad always said, “you can’t kill’em at home.” Well, It hadn’t been 10 minutes since I climbed back up the tree and 15 minutes since I quit my now certified “outdoors with Hunter Bennett proven rattling sequence” (for $29.95 retail price I will email you a demonstration video) that a doe came prancing into my area. She walked right beside the shallow leaf grave of the sausage biscuit, and she was very curious, looking around as if searching for the deer that were fighting and that lonesome and willing doe she had heard bleat a few minutes prior.
As I watched her I heard another deer coming in the same way as her, but this one was different. He was being very cautious! I could hardly hear him and would just catch glimpse of movement every so often.
In my mind, I knew it was a buck. I lifted my gun and managed to find him in my scope surrounded by a grove of young saplings. When I saw that one side of his rack had three tines that looked to be 10 inches tall, I knew he was a shooter. I moved my gun forward about 10 yards and found a hole to shoot in through the bushes. He finally made his way into that spot and I put the crosshairs on the center of his shoulder and gave him a lead deposit. He dropped in his tracks.
I was still unsure of exactly what I had killed. In my mind, I knew it was a big buck, I just wasn’t sure how big. I waited about 10 minutes. Without so much as a kick out of him, I decided it was safe to go check him out.
The rest is history. A fine morning to be N1 of my deerstands!
-By Hunter Bennett
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There are a lot of deer sounds I like to hear in the woods. But, there’s one I usually don’t like to hear, especially when I’m walking to my hunting stand.
This is the story of some deer sounds that led to a dandy South Carolina archery buck… It’s unforgettable moments like this one that spurred us on to start the N1 Outdoors brand…
The 2010 deer season in South Carolina held some great memories for me. I had been granted permission to hunt some new property that was only 3 miles from my house!
The catch? It was bow only property. No guns allowed.
The South Carolina archery only season was already over and we were getting some consistent colder weather. But, the truth is, I really wasn’t disappointed to be hunting with my bow during gun season, because deer hunting just makes me want to say “Bowhunt Oh Yeah!” In fact, I haven’t even hunted with my rifle since 2009.
Deer, sound the alarm!
It was a chilly, November 18 morning, and the rut was in full swing. I had seen a fair amount of rutting activity, but had not seen any bucks that got me very excited. But, when you love to bowhunt, it’s a great time to be in the woods.
I had parked my truck and was making the walk to my stand on the downwind side of where I would be hunting.
My stand location was in a head of hardwoods that contained several white oaks. I’ve always loved hunting locations that contain white oaks, especially in early fall, as the acorns are falling. But although the deer love them, by now, there weren’t any left for them to enjoy.
Nonetheless, it was a good location on the edge of a fairly large clear cut that the deer would typically transition through on their way to the other side of the property.
There was a gate opening that I needed to walk through to enter the woods where my stand location was.
I had gotten about three steps through the gate, when the head of woods I was about to enter exploded with the sounds of deer blowing. It was still too dark to see, but it sounded like a small army of whitetail had just left the building. I stopped and listened, as the sounds of their escape got farther and farther away.
I was pretty disappointed to say the least. I had taken such great care in paying attention to wind direction when walking to my stand. Yet, here I was, not even in my stand yet, and the deer already knew where I was. I was already wondering what I could have done differently.
Well, there I was (and they knew it). I had that sick feeling that might have made one want to just go back to the truck. But, this was the rut, and I love to hunt whether the deer blow me up or not!
I found my tree and got in my stand and got settled. By now, it was first light but the sun was not yet up.
After sitting for 10 minutes or so, I thought it might be a good idea to give my grunt call a soft doe grunt. My thinking was, “maybe if they hear this, they’ll think things have settled down and are safe again.”
So, I blew on my grunt call softly, making a “social grunt” noise.
A fast appearance
It had probably been only 10 seconds after grunting, that I could see a deer appear about 100 yards away, on the field edge. Even at that distance, I could see his horns and I was interested!
No sooner than he appeared, he began running toward the head of woods I was in. He got to a well traveled path at the edge of the hardwoods and slowed down, turned, and began walking toward me.
By now my heart is racing pretty good, because I can see this deer is a shooter, and I have gone from heartbroken to hopeful in a matter of minutes.
This is where I have to say that the buck walking toward me had one of the better set of antlers I had seen in my area of South Carolina. In recent years, SCDNR bag limits had been high. Many believe that these high limits, coupled with poor deer management, had resulted in fewer mature bucks in South Carolina.
All I knew was, the age and size of the deer walking toward me was not commonplace in my area.
I had my bow in my hand, but didn’t feel I was going to be able to stand up without messing something up. My archery stance on this deer was going to be… sitting down. I sat and watched him inch closer.
Prior to getting in the stand, I had put some estrous scent on a tree limb about 20 yards away. He walked right past it. But, the worst part was that in about 3 more steps, I knew he would be downwind of me, and be gone!
Come on daylight!
I couldn’t believe I was about to watch the biggest South Carolina buck I had encountered leave my life. But, unfortunately, it was all but over.
Just as I thought this hunt was coming to an end (for the second time in minutes), he stopped, turned around, and walked back to the tree limb where I had put the estrous scent.
I knew this was my chance. I quietly went to full draw. I thought, “ok, aim small, miss small.” But, there was just one, really big, problem. I looked through my peep and saw, well nothing. It was still too dark in that head of woods to clearly see the buck.
If this buck would stay for a few minutes, there would be enough light through the trees to see his vitals clearly. But, I knew with chasing does on his mind, he probably wasn’t staying much longer. And, I knew that in that particular location, the wind had a tendency to swirl from time to time.
The prayer, the draw, the release
I can’t remember everything that was racing through my mind at that point, but I know I probably prayed a few fast words. It’s amazing how fast I can get to a prayerful state of mind when a big buck is nearby (amazing and shameful!)
As I was still at full draw, I moved my eye outside of my peep, so that I could see the buck through my site pins. Then, I slowly looked back through the peep and could see the target… barely.
I released my arrow and he gave the ‘ole donkey kick. He bolted down the draw and out of sight. I sat for two hours, wondering how this whole story was going to end.
The wait and the search
So far that morning, I had heard deer blow and deer run… now, all I wanted to hear was, “wow, that’s a nice buck there in the back of your truck!”
During those two hours, I scanned the ground endlessly, hoping to see a bloody arrow. I saw nothing. Of course, then the doubts set in… “did I make a good shot? How far did he go? Will I ever find him?” It was agonizing.
Finally, I decided to get down and go look. I walked out 20 yards to where I had shot him and I saw my arrow lying on the ground, half covered by the forest floor. My arrow had been Just Pass’N Through!
I picked it up and immediately got some encouragement… bright pink, frothy blood on my fletches. Things were looking up!
I followed along the faint blood trail. It wasn’t significant, but it was enough to keep me moving to the next spots of blood.
After 150 yards or so, I reached a small creek that ran through the property. I was till intently focused on the ground near my feet, checking for any small clue I could find. The blood trail had stopped.
I looked up and about 30 yards away, in the creek, was the buck. I held both hands high and thanked the Lord for answering my desperate (yet somewhat shallow) prayer.
The shot turned out to be a double-lung pass through. (We love pass throughs so much, we even made a shirt about them!)
I was by myself with no one to help me drag this deer out. I could either drag him about 200 yards uphill, or try to drag him through the muddy, swampy mess of a creek. I chose option 2.
I was able to use the shallow creek as assistance and slide the buck through the area for the long 300 yard trek back to the truck.
A short drive and a few pictures later, I had officially sealed the deal on one of my most memorable N1 Moments.
Deer sounds: The key to this N1 Moment
Looking back, I’m glad for the deer noises I heard that day… the deer blowing, the deer running, and finally, the deer sliding through the creek bed on it’s way to my freezer and my wall.
-By Giles Canter
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