This is the fifth in a multi-part series of columns about memorable deer that stand out from decades of whitetail hunting.
The Next Ridge Buck
In the early 1990’s, Austin “Dump” Brown, Phil Guard, and I were bowhunting on a friend’s property that was made up of three separate ridges. It was late October, and the bucks were starting to pay a lot of attention to the does.
Two mornings in a row, I watched a buck follow a group of does about 150 yards away, on the ridge across from the one on which I was hunting.
That evening, I told Dump and Phil that I wanted to go in about a half an hour early the next morning. I was going to take my climbing stand and try to set up on that buck on the other ridge. Dump said that was fine by him, but both sides of the hollow between the two ridges were very steep and would be hard to get across. He also thought it would be tough to find a good tree to climb in the dark with no previous scouting, but it was worth a shot. As he usually did when I wanted to try something crazy, Phil just smiled.
The next morning, way before dawn, it became obvious that Dump was right about how hard it would be to cross the hollow. I ended up turning my old Browning compound bow upside down and digging it into the dirt to get up the other side. But I made it, found a suitable tree to climb, and after cleaning the mud out of the top wheel on my bow, was settled in well before shooting light.
About 9 o’clock, right on schedule, a line of does came single file along the worn trail on the steep hillside below me. Following along was the buck.
A well-placed arrow sent him crashing loudly to the bottom of the hollow. By the time I climbed down from the stand and made it off the ridge, Phil and Dump were standing by my buck.
Dump said, “Well, you earned that one.” Phil just smiled, and took a photo of Dump and I. Then, I snapped one of the two of them. Great times with great friends, and a very memorable hunt for a very memorable buck.
Wade Shambaugh has lived in Morgan County his whole life and is a lifelong outdoorsman.