Submitted by: Kent Hensley
The Heads Up Decoy (HUD) once again proved to be a “go to” method for the 2012 archery deer season. Dalton spent several days in the field and passing on several smaller bucks earlier in October, but the first part of November brought another father-son HUD adventure, for Dalton and me, into the Kansas prairie.
|Dalton's 2010 Mule Buck
The initial plan was to hunt a cedar glade bedding area in the morning and catch deer as they moved off the wheat fields. We work into the glade just at first light as to not spook any early movers. Five minutes into the hunt we spotted a mature 140” buck, he was harassing a doe that didn’t really want anything to do with him. We slipped into position and I grunted and lightly rattled. Dalton was positioned to the left, tucked in front of some small cedars. The buck immediately responded, but was a bit cautious on his approach. He quickly spotted the decoy, but was working to the right to catch the wind of the intruding buck. At 35 yards Dalton stood but wasn’t tall enough to make the shot over the cedars. The buck spotted some movement but was still unsure of what he saw, knew it wasn’t right, but couldn’t figure out why his HUD buddy wasn’t running off with him. Oh well, we still beat him just couldn’t get the shot.
We returned to the pickup to move to a different location to glass some pasture in search of another rutting prairie buck. We hadn’t gone 3 miles and unbelievably lying 40 yards off the road was a giant 170’s whitetail buck with a hot doe. We drove by and parked ¼ mile north. The wind was westerly and a nice draw would allow us a somewhat simple stalk within about 80 yards of the buck and doe. As we closed the distance, I peeked to see where we were and the buck caught my movement. We were still about 100 yards away. I told Dalton to get an arrow on and get in position off my right shoulder. I slowly raised the Whitetail buck HUD and the giant instantly stood and began coming our way. I told Dalton to draw and within seconds he was on us. I ranged the buck at 33 yards but he was facing straight on and still coming. Within 20 yards he slightly quartered to, I moved the decoy to the left to open a shooting lane and I told Dalton to shoot. He didn’t shoot, didn’t shoot, and still didn’t shoot. Seconds later the prairie giant was gone. I was frustrated with Dalton because he didn’t shoot, but will give him all the credit in the world for not letting Dad pressure him into taking what was a marginal shot at best. Guess I taught him well, and should listen to my own preaching. Oh well, we still beat him too just couldn’t get the shot.
Back to the pickup to head to our original destination, we didn’t make it 3 miles, and spotted another buck tending a doe next to a nice switchgrass waterway in a sprayed wheat stubble field. We glassed them from almost ½ mile away and noticed there was a satellite buck bedded just north of the pair. After a minute or two the buck and doe were bedded in the water way. Preparing for the third stalk, I told Dalton it looked like a 130’s three-year-old and asked what he wanted to do. We were both still a little frustrated about not sealing the deal from the Giant Buck encounter. He said let’s get him. Enough said…. I told Dalton that the satellite buck would see us the entire stalk, to get behind me and we would walk behind the Whitetail Buck HUD to try and get into range of the 3 year old. We closed the distance quickly and soon spotted the bucks antlers bedded 30 yards in front of us. The satellite watched us approach the entire way and was still bedded in the stubble 60 yards away. We moved into the magic 20 yard mark and the doe spotted us. She busted out of her bed with the buck right behind her. The HUD once again proved its value for a prairie deer hunter, as the buck was in disbelief that another buck (the HUD) was standing 20 yards away. They both stopped at 25. Dalton was already drawn and as the buck began laying his ears back, I heard the twang of the string, saw a direct double lung hit and blood instantly spewed from the cut of the 100 grain Magnus Buzzcut. We watched the buck make it a mere 150 yards and expire within seconds.
|2011 Mule Deer
This successful hunt was the third hunt of the morning; we beat three mature bucks, and believe it or not this is Dalton’s third year in a row to kill a mature buck with a Heads Up Decoy.