January 19, 2010

Persistence Pays Off

"Your biggest break can come from never quitting. Being at the right place at the right time can only happen when you keep moving toward the next opportunity." ~Arthur Pine

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.