Author Travis Glassman
November 13, 2016 turned out to be a day my wife and I will never forget. We left our house as the eastern horizon was beginning to illuminate. We didn’t have a game plan other than to cruise to a few different vantage points and glass in hopes of spotting a mature buck on his feet. The lockdown phase was upon us and we knew sitting in a tree stand was likely to be uneventful. During the peak breeding phase, the bucks tend to push their doe’s into the flatlands avoiding encounters with other bucks.
As we rolled up to our first glassing perch we immediately spotted some whitetail rutting activity in an open wheat stubble field. There was one hot doe bedded in a brushy fence line and there were three bucks battling it out to claim breeding rights. We noticed that one immediately stood out as dominant when he made quick work of running off the two inferior bucks.
After the heavy ten-point claimed his prize he finally nestled in for a late morning nap. It was time to make our move. We had been glassing these deer from a half a mile away through our Vortex spotting scope so we jumped back in the truck and made our way through a small pasture to close the distance and position for our stalk. We geared up and started sneaking toward a weed filled fence corner that would put us to only 80 yards from the bedded pair.
The stalk was going very well even though it was unseasonably warm and seemed too calm for trying to approach within bow range. The plan was to make it to the fence, position Kendra on my right side and present the Whitetail Buck Heads Up Decoy. However, the buck stood to scent check his doe before we were able to execute our plan, so we forced to belly up to the cover filled barbed wire fence. We quickly realized the deer were working their way toward the same corner post we were using as our ambush site. With the help of the decoy, we were able to shift our position for a more optimal shot opportunity. Kendra nocked an arrow and we eagerly waited.
The buck was intently monitoring the doe and scanning our direction at only thirty yards away. I slowly slid the decoy in front of Kendra and whispered for her to slowly draw her bow. She performed flawlessly as the decoy was working its magic. The mature whitetail was now engrossed on the threat of another buck and we could see his demeanor change from content to aggressive. Kendra, now at full draw, slightly leaned out around the decoy for her shot. She settled her pin and let the arrow fly. The arrow buried perfectly behind the right shoulder and the buck bounded off and stopped about 80 yards out. He immediately started to expire and we were both ecstatic.
This is a prime example of how the Heads Up Decoy has changed the game of bowhunting, especially during the rut. I have learned to embrace the lock down phase instead of loathing it. It’s my new favorite time to hunt mature bucks. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your wife wrap her hands around a 180-inch whitetail and tasting the sweetness of lockdown success.