November - Save the Date - #3 "MOBILE MINUTE" FT. GREG STAGGS

November 22, 2022 5 min read

November - Save the Date - #3 "MOBILE MINUTE" FT. GREG STAGGS

November Hunting - Save the Date 

By: Greg Staggs 

 

Life is a blur between dates. One of my favorite pictures that’s ever floated across social media shows a tombstone with two dates: a birthdate, and a death date – with a dash separating the two. It speaks to the fact that how you fill in the dash determines the legacy left behind. Even so, if you’ve ever walked through a cemetery, it’s only human to focus on the dates alone.

Dates mark some of the most important events that have ever transpired on the world timeline. Franklin Roosevelt delivered perhaps the most famous summation of a singular date, describing December 7, 1941 as “a day that will live in infamy.” Men regularly get in trouble for not remembering important dates. My best friend went so far as to have his wedding date engraved on the inside of his wedding band… so he wouldn’t forget.

Of all the important dates in my life -- my own wedding day, my wife’s birthday, my two sons’ birthdays – there’s probably one that sticks out more than all the others; that date is November 11. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s crazy… but I’ve killed almost all my big bucks on that very day. I’ve got over 1,000 inches of bone staring back at me from around the walls of my downstairs “man cave”, and if I had to put a number on it, I bet over 750 of those inches fell to my arrow on November 11.

You read about Freaknasty in last month’s column. Not an original name, I know. My little boys came up with that name, so I allowed it. And he’s the only non-typical in my collection of big bucks. He rode home in the back of my Jeep on the eve of November 11. My first feature article I ever wrote for a major bowhunting magazine centered on my wife and how supportive she’s been of my passion that is bowhunting. In that story, I tell how she got our first baby out of his crib and brought him to where I was hunting over an hour away from the house to help me look for a nice buck that I’d shot, watched fall, but couldn’t find in a quagmire of waist-high beans after dark. The date? November 11.

I’ll eventually tell you the story of my first big-woods monarch that I killed deep in the hills of Shawnee National Forest after a long hike in the pre-dawn darkness. A hot doe came by, and I looked behind her to see nothing but “rack” in hot pursuit. He hit my first shooting lane and I voice-grunted as we all do… “Meeeh” I throatily growled as I snapped back to full draw. Nothing. He didn’t break stride. I swung to my second shooting lane, this one closer to 30 yards away, and raised my voice considerably. “MEEEEH!” I said, about as loud as possible while still keeping it “deer-y” sounding. Notta. He was in a zone. I frantically looked ahead and picked out one more possibility. I estimated it at 43 yards and moved my bow to it. When his front shoulder hit the opening, I surprised even myself. “HEY!!!!!” I literally screamed it so loud there was a brief echo reverberating back from the hills around me. The huge buck skidded to a stop and I swear shook his head as if he was coming out of a fog… I took my time, settled in as he stared my direction, and eased my shoulder blades together. You couldn’t have drawn a more perfect arc from my bow’s rest to the center of his heart if you’d tried. The Muzzy MX-3 left a perfect triangle in the middle of it and he toppled a mere 30 yards later.

But perhaps my favorite buck on the wall is Big 6. Yes, we’re not very original with names. But when you walk into my man cave, there is no question which deer it is. I had been struggling, hard. Like most years, it seems. On a whim, I backed up right to the thickest bedding area I could find and found a tree that would allow me to shoot into it should something hug the inside edge later on.

I sat for three hours, motionless. I didn’t make a sound, and not a sound was made by any wildlife. It was seemingly dead all night, and I was about ready to get down when I heard a stick break off to my right. I slowly turned my head to find a large doe picking her way around the outside of the thicket edge straight towards me. I was already standing with my bow in hand, as we had no less than five minutes of shooting light left. I watched her inch her way closer when suddenly movement 40 yards behind her caught my attention. It was already getting dark enough that I had to squint to make out a huge rack moving up and down, and realized it was a buck working a licking branch over behind her.

The doe eased along carefully, noiselessly until she found herself at the base of my tree. I ever-so-carefully looked between my feet and saw her touch her nose to the bark, then look up at me from 20 foot below. I could hear her sniffing, inhaling huge amounts of air and sifting it over the millions of nerve endings in the back of her snout. I closed my eyes and tried not to breath.

A minute later, seemingly satisfied, she moved off. The big buck had held up, waiting for his mistress to clear the way. As she walked on past, he started walking directly to me. Thirty yards, then twenty and all of a sudden it was five. I had no shot though, as he was coming directly at my tree following the same path the doe did. I leaned out as he walked directly beneath me and came to full draw. I centered my 40-yard pin between his shoulder blades, hesitated for the briefest of moments and then simply squeezed.

It was the first time I’d ever heard a huge old buck give a guttural growl upon impact, and he bull-rushed forward to escape whatever had just attacked him; the charge fell short though, as the old monarch toppled over sideways just a scant 50 yards from my tree.

I scampered down and approached with reverence… the old warrior had almost beat yet another hunter. But for a few minutes of light, he would have. And he had the lust of the opposite sex going against him… but the thing that REALLY stacked the odds against him? It was November 11. 

ABOUT: Greg Staggs is a frequent feature writer for Petersen’s Bowhunting among other magazines, and for many years he was the former back-page columnist for Inside Archery. His mobile-hunting videos are extremely popular on his YouTube channel, Staggs in the Wild, and you can read some of his past feature articles and numerous blogs at staggsinthewild.com.



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