I was hunting in Warsaw, Missouri, on some government land when I found some phenomenally large rubs. But I never got any pictures of quality bucks on this property. On this hunt, I was taking my 10-year-old son Devin with me to see a deer and experience bow hunting. He’d already taken a deer with his rifle. We were sitting together in a ladder stand when a nice little 6-point buck came by us. This buck wasn’t a monster, but he came extremely close. I shot him at about 12 yards. I normally would have let this deer go, but I had my son with me. I wanted him to see and experience a successful bow hunt.
We were set up on a trail between two ridges with plenty of acorns on them. There was a 35-yard wide and 50-yard long saddle in between these two ridges. I set up on the edge of the saddle to see both sides of the mountain. When we first spotted the buck, he was 75 or 80 yards away and my son really got excited. He was loudly whispering, “Deer, Dad, deer,” because he saw the deer before I did. I don’t know why the deer didn’t hear us, because I had to quiet my son down, so the deer would keep coming. Devin was fidgeting and getting buck fever, and he wasn’t even the one shooting. His leg was twitching, and his hands were moving, and I absolutely couldn’t understand why the deer didn’t see us. He came in from behind us, but then gave me a perfect broadside shot. When the arrow hit the buck, Devin said, “Dad, that’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.”
Once the arrow hit, the buck went to the ground immediately, but I’m not sure whether the arrow got to the buck first or Devin did. It seemed like it all happened at the same time. Devin tried to start dragging the deer out by himself, but he only made it about 2 or 3 feet before the weight of the deer calmed his enthusiasm. Devin had been taking deer since he was 6 years old – in Missouri where we live, children can hunt from the time they’re 6 years old. But, all of his deer had been taken with a gun. This hunt was the closest he’d ever been to a live deer, and the first deer he’d seen taken with a bow. He’s been hooked on bow hunting ever since that hunt, and keeping him at home is hard now that he’s 13 and wants to be in the woods all the time.
Now that I’ve got the two pieces of property that I can hunt, I also can take Devin with me, and he can hunt that land too. We’re totally fixed up for this coming hunting season. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever have 10,500 acres to hunt and not have to spend any money except for $50/month for utilities (see Day 2) to hunt these two spots. We’ve got great places to hunt and plenty of deer that we can take. So, this should be our dream season with PSE.
Editor’s Note: Forty seven year old James Nickols from Sparta, Missouri, a PSE Field Team member, has been shooting PSE for 5 years.
The next year, I was still hunting with my Dream Season bow. I was hunting the same farm in Bruner, Missouri, where I took my first PSE bow buck. This year, I was hunting later in the winter, and the deer had transitioned from crop lands and white oaks over to feeding on red oaks. I was hunting out of a camouflaged tree stand and got into my stand before daylight. I could hear a deer crunching acorns before the sun came up. I had my bow in my hand. A little after daylight, I was able to see the buck when he came in to 22 yards. I drew my PSE Dream Season bow and loosed the arrow on this nice 8-point buck that ran about 60 yards before piling up. This buck scored about 132 on Pope & Young.
When I put up a tree stand, I try to get 15 to 22 feet high. I believe that deer have a peripheral vision, so they can see danger. But I don’t believe their peripheral vision extends above 15 to 22 feet. By getting that high, I don’t believe the deer can see me. On this morning, I had no wind at all, and that was why I could hear the deer crunching acorns. I stood and took the shot. When you’ve got deer that close, you’ve got to make sure that your tree stand doesn’t crack or pop when you’re preparing for the shot. I had already trimmed the limbs around the tree stand and put felt on any place that had metal parts that might rub together. Where I couldn’t put felt, I used scentless oil to lubricate the stand to ensure its absolute silence.
I’d been scouting this buck since mid July, until I took him at the 1st of November. Although I do walk the property I’m hunting, early in the season, I use binoculars to stay as far away from the deer as possible. I also use trail cameras to keep up with the deer’s movement patterns. I had about 15 or 20 trail camera pictures of this buck that I’d started seeing in July. However, then I lost him and didn’t get him again on trail cameras until just before the rut started. That buck had moved 3 miles from where I’d originally photographed him on the trail cameras. I’ve learned that many times when you have trail camera pictures of a buck, and he vanishes, he may be a long way from where you’ve first photographed him. This nice buck was feeding on a soybean field in July, next moved to the white oak acorns when they first started dropping and then moved to the red oaks. That’s where I caught up to him. One of the things that impressed me when I started trailing this deer after the shot was that I got a clean pass through and had a blood trail to follow that looked like a painter had taken red paint and painted the trail the buck went down. I like the speed and the knock down power of my Dream Season bow to not only put the buck down efficiently, but to give me a clean pass through, so I have a good blood trail to follow.
Editor’s Note: Forty seven year old James Nickols from Sparta, Missouri, a PSE Field Team member, has been shooting PSE for 5 years. I shot another company’s bows for several years. But when PSE came out with its original Dream Season bow, I fell in love with the technology built into the bow. I also liked the company’s target archery bow, the Moneymaker. I was shooting target archery back then too, so I switched to PSE. I was shooting as a semi pro on the ASA circuit and had several top 10 places in competition archery. I got into 3D archery to help me become a better deer hunter because I was missing deer with my bow and felt shooting 3D archery would help me.
The biggest buck I’ve ever taken, I took with my PSE Dream Season. A storm was coming in to our area. I was hunting in Bruner, Missouri, about 35 miles from Springfield. About an hour before dark, the deer started moving, and I was set up in the woods in a ground blind I’d built using sticks and limbs that I picked up. I was hunting close to a white oak tree on the edge of a field, and the deer were feeding on white oak acorns. This was the only white oak tree in the area, and the only way to get close enough to that tree to make a shot was to build a ground blind.
I was wearing Mossy Oak Bottom Land, and that pattern really blended in well with the limbs and branches I’d used for my ground blind. I was wearing Scent Lok base layer and had sprayed down with Dead Down Wind odor eliminator. The deer were coming out into the field and then coming to the acorn tree. I had pictures of this big buck on trail cameras, but the problem I had was that he was coming into the field from three different trails. On this day, a big thunderstorm was about an hour away. I thought the deer might feed up ahead of the storm, and that this 160-class buck hopefully would be with the other deer on the field. Forty-five minutes before dark, the buck came out into the field and started feeding about 100 yards away from my blind. He slowly fed my way. Finally, when he was 35 yards from the blind, he turned broadside, feeding with his head down. But when I drew, a huge gust of wind blew my scent directly to him. He raised his head and looked in my direction, before putting his head down and started to graze. When the deer’s head was down, I released the arrow.
I got a double lung shot and the buck only ran about 40 yards before he piled up. Just as I released the shot, the wind blew, and I lost sight of my arrow. However, I saw the buck kick his back legs in the air like a mule kick. Then he bolted and ran before going down. When I checked my deer for the entry point of the broadhead, even with that gust of wind, I was only about 2 inches off from where I was aiming. That’s one of the advantages you have with a Dream Season bow, because it shoots so hard and so fast, I’ve found the wind has little effect on the shot. This buck scored 162 Pope & Young points and some change. I was shooting the Carbon Express Game Tracker broadhead with a Maxima Hunter shaft.
I never hesitate to carry a chair, build a ground blind and shoot from the sitting position when I can’t find a tree stand site from which I want to shoot. Today, I can shoot out to 100 yards from the seated position. I don’t shoot game at that distance, but I do practice that 100-yard shot. I also can shoot fairly accurately from a tree stand at 100 yards. I’m confident I can take animals at 70 yards with my PSE bow, as long as the conditions are right.