The Unicorn Buck


Hunting the hectic shotgun/rifle season in Western New York can be terribly frustrating. The enormous amount of intrusion pushes deer and especially mature deer to adhere to a code of dark walking. For those who have access to larger tracts that can be managed and appropriately hunted, success is still viable. For others who cannot avoid blaze orange, success can sometimes come from embracing the orange...

Our hunt this beautiful morning hinges on our willingness to be on tree early and near other hunters. It was undoubtedly a short experience but was one for which I am thankful. Coming into my wheelhouse from the downwind side I was able to see two deer quickly approach in the low light of a new morn. Immediately I was able to identify one deer as a good buck with potential. They came to a hard stop as they broke the edge of the heavy cover to the open timber where I hung above. This was a new location and I had chosen this tree the day prior. Now clear of my downwind the deer remained motionless while they assessed the situation knowing that every move mattered. After a 5 minute "moment" of hesitation another deer, a mature doe materialized and slowly moved behind me passing by at twelve yards. The buck eased near the other doe who was visibly in heat and after standing at her side for several more minutes, he slowly moved along the same path the mature doe had taken minutes earlier. With bow in hand I let him walk to a clean broadside shot and released the arrow. The twelve yard shot was a clean pass on his vitals and he bounded away. The doe began to move off confused by the commotion and another buck appeared from the brush. He moved off to investigate the deer that had surely been keeping him from the doe that was now out of sight. Packing up my gear I descended to find the arrow and only a few steps down the trail , he was visible. As I approached on this Thanksgiving morning my soul was full : to be hunting with a comrade, to have such an amazing privilege, and to harvest an amazing animal. I have respect for that buck who come to find out had eluded us once this year. He has made a story for us to tell and has provided for my family. This hunt led to some takeaways...#1 Go In Early. Had I not this buck may still be alive. After the hunt I found out that the deer came from the direction of another hunter who made a slightly late woods entrance.#2 Scent Down. The deer emerged from my downwind and thankfully didn't hang out there but also weren't alarmed as they entered my immediate area. #3 Hunt New Spots. This was the first time in this tree, in this area. 

The Breakdown: 

Who - DJ

What- Archery during gun season - whitetail

Where - A new spot

When - Thanksgiving morning

Wind- SW, easy

Weather- Part clouds w/ a beautiful sunrise