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  • The Grind Pays Off - #5 "MOBILE MINUTE" FT. Greg Staggs

    February 02, 2023 5 min read

    The Grind Pays Off - #5 "MOBILE MINUTE" FT. Greg Staggs

    The Grind Pays Off - Late Season Success 

    By: Greg Staggs 

    I’m just going to say it. There are a lot of “wanna-be influencers” in the hunting world who don’t practice what they preach. They’ve seen someone else reach what they decree as a modicum of success and they think they can jump on the coattails of that same ideology, spew out a few similar ideas, and they will become “successful” themselves. Here’s the thing they don’t realize: The “success” comes from DOING IT – not from TALKING about it and then garnering a certain number of “views” or “likes.”

    Sadly, I’ve seen several write articles, blogs or make videos on concepts or ideas they never put into practice themselves. Fortunately, our community is usually fairly adept at sniffing these posers out. I even know of one such person who ordered in a tree saddle, filmed himself sitting in it the same day it arrived, and had it boxed up to return and dropped back off at the post office that afternoon – yet turned out an “in-depth review” on it for his YouTube channel (insert face-palm emoji here).

    Then there are those of us who’ve earned our stripes. Year in, year out. We just haven’t done it in the past – we are STILL doing it. I came through the ranks with the likes of Troy Pottenger and Todd Pringnitz. We met through the early days of online bowhunting forums, and discussed strategies and followed each others’ successes. People like Clint Casper, who LIVES what he writes about. People whose names you wouldn’t recognize but are in a tree almost every night that I am.

    December’s “Mobile Minute” column was about grinding – sticking it out until the very end. I think Trophyline pulled a quote from the ending of that blog where I spoke of late-winter bowhunting and said “Because no one relives the glory days of staying home and laying on the couch.” It’s an easy thing to say. It’s a much harder thing to do.

    On January 15, Gabe and I were still grinding. It was the last afternoon of the last day, and I was approaching my normal 100 sits in a season if I wasn’t already over it. We had bounced and bounced, and bounced some more. Two nights prior I had sat in a brand-new area littered with large rubs coming out of a bedding area so thick you could only see through it via the tunnels that deer had made for access. This night, I moved in deeper. 

    I had come in on a “just-off” wind, a concept I’d learned about from Troy Pottenger nearly 30 years ago. If it shifted whatsoever, my cover would be blown – literally. If the wind stayed the same, the deer would likely approach from almost downwind, thinking they had the advantage of having monitored the direction I had set up on from the security of their beds all afternoon.

    Around 3:30 p.m., a large doe eased through the open timber to my right followed by her fawn. Shortly afterwards, a 3-pointer tracked her down and began enthusiastically bumping her. He chased her back the direction they emerged from, and 30 minutes later a small group of does stealthily came from the same direction on a mission to get to the winter wheat sprouting up through the no-till corn field 200 yards beyond me.

    I waited, expectantly. Nothing else was behind them. I slowly shifted my gaze to the left, to the huge expanse of briars and brambles that were seemingly impenetrable save the tunnels carved out of their midst. All my eyes picked up was a white rack, made even bigger given the fact it was highlighted against the brown undergrowth. He had come out of one of those tunnels and was just standing there, facing my direction. A doe took a step to his left, having already cleared herself of the underbrush. More movement, and I picked up a second doe standing 10 yards behind her. She hurriedly caught up with the first and both walked through the only good shooting lane I had that direction. I slowly reached up and slipped my hand through my wrist sling, lifting the bow off its holder. I missed the D-loop the first time as I attempted to clip on, but slowed down and got it right the second.

    Focusing back on the buck, I watched him step clear of the 15-foot tall brush and turn to his left and start after the two does. A few steps placed him directly behind the largest tree between us and I took the opportunity to come to full draw. A steady pace put him broadside at 26 yards as I voice-grunted him to a stop; I bracketed his lungs between my 20- and 30-yard pins as he stared stock-still in my direction.

    Placing pressure on my index finger, I let my shoulder blades take over before my rear elbow exploded backwards as it released 67 pounds of stored energy. The buck dropped to load his legs to lunge away, but it was too late: my arrow had already sliced cleanly through him, as evidenced by the strobing Nockturnal that blinked incessantly where he once stood.

    I pulled out my phone and texted my family that I had just shot a nice buck. There was one hour of legal shooting light left. Gabe immediately asked if it was “the tumor buck” that we’d got on one of our Black Gate R4G cameras in the area a week prior, and I honestly answered “I don’t know. I don’t think so. But he’s nice.” Once I saw the wall of tines popping against that brown underbrush, I never focused on them again.

    Gabe had opted to have me drop him off about 10 miles from where I hunted that night, and I had to go pick him up first before we both went back in after him. I had heard the buck crash a mere two seconds after he bolted, and walked right to him after rappelling out of my tree. Upon returning with a large pack frame I’ve used to haul a couple Colorado elk out with, we began deboning what indeed did turn out to be “the tumor buck” – a moniker we’d bestowed after seeing his trail-cam pic and noticing the large growth on his stomach region. It turned out to be a cracked rib that had festered over.

    A couple hours later, Gabe helped me hoist the extremely heavy pack onto my back, the sun having set well before on the last day of the season. We’ll relive that memory for many years to come, and hopefully one day we’ll regale his kids with it… how in the last hour of the last day, Granddad sent an arrow through a tall-racked public-land, DIY buck because he was still grinding and not staying home laying on the couch. He didn’t just WRITE about it; he DID it.

    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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