When Melinda Yocum surprised her husband, Rex, with a new bow for Christmas three years ago, he was hopeful it would perform better than his previous outfit. He had shot two does with the older bow, finding one doe after the buzzards beat him to it and never retrieving the second deer.
Although he's bow hunted every year since with his Bowtech his wife gave him, he never had a chance to arrow a deer until Saturday, October 6.
"I was hunting family land in Claiborne Parish near the community of Sharon. We have about 800 acres, part in the hills and part in Middle Fork bottom. I got into my climbing stand I'd hung in the hills about 6:00 that morning and by 9:45, I had given up; a cold front came through with wind whipping around and the temperature dropping so I figured the hunt was over," Yocum said.
Recalling what had happened the two previous hunts he had made this year, Yocum began his slow walk back to his Jeep parked 200 yards away.
"I never saw a deer while I was on the stand on two previous hunts I made last week but saw a couple while walking back to my Jeep, so I decided to sneak carefully and keep my eyes open," he continued.
As Yocum began his watchful sneak down the trail, he knew that this trail intersected another one ahead and the woods were fairly clear, enabling him to see the other trail. As he approached the junction, he saw something that put him on full alert.
"When I got within 50 yards of the intersection, I saw a deer's tail flick so I 'bleated' with my mouth and the deer stopped in a thicket. I eased down and crawled to where the two trails came together and crouched behind a small sapling to break my outline. I reached in my pocket and got my "Can" bleat call and hit it probably six times, set it down, nocked an arrow and put the release on the string," Yocum noted.
He first saw a leg step into an opening some 20 yards away and then saw something that made his mouth go dry and the adrenalin kick in. He saw a nicely curved antler.
"When I saw it was a buck, I drew and the deer came straight toward me, trying to make out what I was. He was facing me 10 yards away so I put the pin between his two shoulders, released the arrow and watched it hit where I'd aimed," he said.
The buck bleated, wheeled around breaking the arrow in the process and Yocum listened as the buck stopped and sounded as it he had laid down.
"My hands were shaking really bad but I was able to text my buddy, Jeff Perot, telling him I'd just shot a nice buck. I laid the phone down, looked up to see a deer standing there looking at me," he continued.
He assumed it was a doe that had come to see what the commotion was all about and was preparing to put an arrow in her when the deer wheeled and Yocum realized it was the buck he'd just shot. The deer ran about 40 yards and Yocum heard him crash down for the final time.
The buck weighed about 170 pounds, was a symmetrical 8 point with an 18 inch inside spread. Perot, who has unofficially scored a number of bucks, estimated the rack to be in the 140 inch class.
Sometimes, deer hunters find that it pays to be sneaky on the ground instead of sitting and shivering in a cold tree stand.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.