To say this Whitetail season has been a long one would not do it justice. It has been a marathon of a season. Opening day was September 26 and ever since I have been working my tail off trying to get in bow range of a mature whitetail. After failing to arrow a good buck through both the November and December rut I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get it done.
October 11 was the day I first saw my old buddy Fred. He came to a mere 6 yards from the tree but unfortunately it was just too dark to shoot. 6 days later on October 17 I got a great picture of him walking by my tree at 6:18 in the evening. Well within shooting light however on that particular night I couldn't make it to the tree. Then on the evening of October 31 at 4:30 pm I rattled old Fred into 35 yards but couldn't pull off a shot. That night was the last time I saw him. My hope is that he is still around and next year we can meet again. I'm sure by then he will have added another 10-15 inches and hopefully should be a banger of a buck.
During the Fred quest there were 3 does that fell to the Pearson and lots of buck encounters. None of the bucks I was seeing were ones that I wanted to try and fill my tag on. Many of them were 1 and 2 and I was looking for something a little more mature. After checking the camera on December 12 I finally got a photo of the big 7. Not a deer that would score well but a mature buck for sure. Looking at the pictures I remembered getting this same buck on film back in June when they were still putting on the inches. That particular deer I had not seen around since and in December he was back. To this day as I still have not seen that deer on the hoof, however I have over 40 trail cam pictures to prove he exists.
So between Fred and the big 7 I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. A ton of mornings, afternoons, and evenings in the stand but little to show for it. From the pictures I knew there were good bucks in the area but I just couldn't seem to catch up to one. No sightings and no close calls. As I stand at the corner of depression and despair I felt my only hope was to just keep slugging it out and hope that persistence would pay off. I could hardly believe it but on January 16 that hope came true.
With 3 weeks to go in the season I hit the woods full of optimism. I knew between work, life, and family my time was getting short. Looking at the calendar I really only had 2 weekends to go. As I sit in the stand that night thinking over the season and wondering what the remaining days would hold I heard a noise from my left. I looked over to see a small buck heading my way.
When I first saw the buck I had no idea he was a piebald. I was actually looking past him for the big 7 when I happened to notice a white spot on his belly (this buck resembled one that the big 7 seems to always be with) and then the white on his legs. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. From talking to the land owner 2 weeks earlier I had heard that someone had saw a piebald deer in the area. Who would have thought it would walk by my tree at 15 yards. He is obviously not the mature buck I was after but a true, rare trophy as a piebald.
For those who don't know a piebald is a genetic variation or defect in the deer and is found in less than 1% of the entire North American whitetail deer population. There is nothing actually wrong with the deer, however this genetic trait produces the white and brown mix found in their coats.
After a close 15 yard shot from the Pearson Z-34 and a short 50 yard track job all the work, all the effort, all of the time spent 25 feet up in the air paid off. I had just taken a true trophy of a lifetime and I couldn't believe it. As I sit in the stand waiting to get down I called Jori, Dad, and Pup in that order. I had just been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time I couldn't wait to tell my story. Almost 4 months of banging it out toe to toe with the whitetail and I couldn't be happier with the way it ended.