Kansas Public Land Whitetail Buck | Rally Dip with Heads Up Decoy
Author: Ryan Reynolds, Topeka KS
THE RALLY DIP BUCK
As the sun seemed to be racing towards the horizon, my mind was running wild. What had I done wrong? Did they see me come in? Did I bump him? Had someone else come through before me? All those questions that pop into a hunter’s mind when you think you have planned a sit to perfection.
For the last two nights, my hunting partner and I had watched deer after deer meander through this cedar choked deep draw ridden piece of property en route to the cut milo field one section over. Seemingly endless numbers of does and a few pretty nice bucks had us really using our glass and scouring every deer in the field. One buck jumped off the page when he arrived from over the hill. An absolute tank of a whitetail that I decided at that moment, I would target from that moment on.
That night, as we sat in our cabin and rested, we checked weather, wind, barometer, looked at maps, and laid a plan together. As luck would have it, that very next evening, the conditions would be perfect. The game was on! I simply knew that at approximately 4:10pm the next evening, I would be laying my hands on most definitely the largest 8pt whitetail I had ever taken.
4:45pm that next day had arrived. My plan to this point had been flawless. I had made the ¾ mile walk back unscathed. Only once did I happen to spy a small fawn, whom I quickly had dismiss me as just one of her own with a pause and slow raise of the Heads Up Decoy. One look at “Wally” and the fawn just continued on its path. Wind in my face, I was settled in a cedar row, right on the edge of sun and shade. 100 yds in front of me is where the big tank 8 pointer had come the previous night.
4:53pm and I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Just my hunting partner letting me know his hunt was super slow too and he was going to the tried and true. He told me to get ready…he was putting in a rally pinch. With a half hearted chuckle I tossed my phone over towards my pack and double check “Wally” and my bow were accessible and ready to roll. As I raised my head to check the area, I spotted some movement. The evening was slow despite the rut being in full swing so even though it was only a doe, I was hopeful a buck would emerge.
With more focus and a little luck, I spotted another deer in the cedars. Gotcha. I see you in there. I raised my binos for a closer look. This deer stepped into the open. It was a buck. However, I could see right away it was not the the tank 8 pointer we had seen in previous nights, but worthy of a closer look. Luckily, I had the opportunity to give him a really close look and he was definitely mature with good mass. I decided that if I could decoy this deer with the HUD buck decoy, I would be happy to have played the game with him.
As he was looking away, I lifted “Wally” and held him out and around a cedar. The sun was shining bright on the decoy so it would be easily seen. I gave the new buck a quick grunt. He immediately spun his head and keyed in on us, but had no interest in coming. He went right back to scent checking that cedar grove. Having great confidence with the decoy and loving to combine that with vocals, I went all in. The decoy still out in the sunlight facing him, I hit him with a big strong snort wheeze. Boom! Attitude change! He spun around, dropped his head, pawed the ground, laid his ears back and short wheezed right back at me all in one motion. It was on…and he was coming. I was so blown away by his snort wheeze I hadn’t thought of my next move.
He had lots of ground to cover and would have to drop down out of sight to get to me. That would be my chance. When he went into the bottom of the draw, I shuffled over into a small “alley” of shin high grass channeling between the cedars and the milo behind me. I slid the HUD into the bow mount and prepared for his arrival. One problem, I had no idea where he was. I had to try to locate him! I raised way up on my knees, getting the decoy and its white horns tall as possible. This would give him the chance to see us even from the bottom of the draw. He must have spotted us, coming from the bottom he hit us with another snort wheeze! I barely had time to settle back down and reposition before I saw his tines coming up the hill. It was time to draw. As he climbed the slope and exposed his body, he stopped to size up the new intruder and challenged us with another loud snort wheeze! Unbelievable…3 times this buck had snort wheezed at me. I am at full draw now! The last sort wheeze shook me. Doing my best to keep my composure, I kept my sight housing on his chest as he continued to close the distance. The bruiser passed 2 small cedars I had ranged 3 hours earlier at 24 yds. Totally focused on the decoy on my bow and closing fast, he was going to be top pin! Finally he paused. My pin settled on his shoulder and the arrow was gone and through him in an instant! At 18 yds, my shot was true. One hell of a buck lay 50 yds away down the slope…fooled by the Heads Up Decoy whitetail buck decoy.
The shakes, you know what they are, had now hit me and I tossed my bow down and got off these old knees and onto my small stool to get myself together. Few breaths, a sip of water, and then a glance at my phone. My intent was to inform my buddy I had one down. To my surprise, it was only 5:04pm. That entire event took 10 minutes. Hell of a rally pinch!