After putting my 3 bow hunters in the woods, all the guides go back to the guide house for our weekly conference with Darrin (the bomb) Bradley (owner of imb monster bucks) and the rest of the crew. The first thing that Mr. Bradley said was: Tony, you have the next 3 days off you are working way to hard and need a break. You do this every year, running yourself down. So I want you to go to the guide property and hunt, relax, and get fresh again.. So by this time in the conference (one minute into it), I'm getting mad because I want to guide. I got hunters that are counting on me. Everybody in the room agrees with Darrin... So I say ok, but please let me get my hunters out of the woods.
So that evening, another guide (Tyler), and I go to the guide property and I want to show Tyler a little bit about bow hunting on the ground with a recurve. You know--the traditional way. He tells me that I'm crazy and I'm not a true blooded Indian. I tell him hang on, its going to be a crazy ride, trust me. I left my tomahawk back in PA with my brother and my throwing knives, so all I got is my custom built recurve from alpha archery and the wood arrows that I built.
I picked a spot in a little drainage on the edge of a corn field with a strip of green grass between us, and tucked ourselves in between two cedar trees 20 foot high.
By this time Tyler thinks I'm the biggest wack job he has ever met. He had heard through the grape vine that I was alittle psycho when it came to bow hunting but never to this extreme.
By this time, some of you old schoolers are getting the picture and feeling the chill as only the veterans would understand.
A brief moment and hold on here comes the first encounter! I look at Tyler and he is in disbelief that this set up would even work. As the buck gets closer I see Tyler start to tremble as the buck passes a mere 6 yards quartering away, I come to full draw and let down. The buck didn't even see me. At this point in time Tyler is on his feet slapping me in the head going crazy. I remember the words that I said, old school baby, old school...
So within an hour 1/2 we had 2 different bucks walk past us and several doe at 6 yards. Then there he stood with a doe in the middle of the field--a beautiful 150 inch 10 pointer. He was 70 yards away. I tried to get him closer with some grunts, the can, the horns, and the last resourc--the snort wheeze. Well all was fine tell I did the snort wheeze on him. Needless to say we saw the ol' white flag.
The gig was up I told tboy. So we cleaned up our stuff and walked in the woods to look for a spot for the mornings hunt. I said to Tyler (T-boy) this is it, We will kill him here in the morning. Timing was great on Darrin's behalf because the next day T-boy had off.
And a hunting we will go! 3:30 am. The game plan is made. We gather our gear, climbing tree stand, and all. We forgot about breakfast while feeding off desire and the rush that we encountered the night before. I must tell you, all night long sleeping in the same bunk house with T-boy was hard. He was running at the mouth on how awesome the hunt was and not to mention we did it on the ground. I think we got maybe 4 hours sleep that night.
5:30 am comes and Tyler is 45 yards away in a tree to witness everything that was going to take place. At 7:00 am a few doe pass by him which I never see. 7:15 passes and a buck which he thinks is a huge 6 point walks out in the field and is coming down the corn field about 60 yards out from me. When I see the buck, I realize that it's a shooter. He's a massive 8 pointer. Sure he's not the big 10 we seen the night before, but he will make the grade in Tony May book. The 8 pointer walks to the east feeding. I try everything in my back pack to get his attention. Finally the rattling bag lifts his head for a brief moment to look my way. Now some light grunts to say: "Hey, who are you? Come on over here". I hit the rattl bag a little more. Then he walks over and breaks limbs off a tree and makes a scrap. I'm thinking to myself this is getting good. All the while Tyler, is thinking to himself why are you playing around with that huge 6 point. Here he comes smashing trees looking for the 2 bucks that should be there. Coming down the trail that will pass by me at just a mere 10 yards away. Still 50 yards out, I give him one last grunt to seal the deal. With my recurve, this is going to be a chip shot I'm thinking.
T-boy has no clue on what's going on. At this time for some reason the big 8 pointer steps off the trail and starts walking behind me. You traditional bow hunters know that this is not good with this kind of equipment. Now he is 17 yards behind me and I'm looking at my tree that I'm in. My safety harness is over my left shoulder tight and I'm leaning back as far as I can. I had a shot but, there is a dead fall with a little hole to shoot through. I passed the shot up waiting for a better one. Finally he steps up on the top of the small ridge and is 15 yards from T-boy. He now understands what I was looking at. I give him a "baaa" to stop him. I took one last look to make sure that my bow limb wouldn't hit my tree stand seat. At 30 yards away I look at the 8 pointer and pull the string and the bow goes off. I shot a foot over his back. By now I'm so rattled and shaken up. The bad part about this shot is I didn't even look at a spot.
I guess the ole' buck fever got to me.
So I calm down and talk to T-boy. The buck I thought would go 140, but Tyler said 145 or better. So now I'm really upset! I told Tyler: "Come on we are going to Pittsfield". "What's in Pittsfield?" he asked. I said a bow shop. I got him scratching his head by now. "A traditional guy going modern... tell me it's not so." he said. Yep, I can tell you that wasn't going to happen again!
I shot a compound for 13 years so I know how to get the job done. Back in the stand, I now have my new Mathews bow. I have to set up at a different location because of the wind.. I choose the tree that Tyler was in.
At day break, I notice the sunrise and think back on the events that took place on the last two outing at this location. For a brief moment, I close my eyes and thank the Lord for the wonderful life that he gave me and thank him for guiding and watching over me and leading me down the right path--like a straight arrow his words of wisdom in the bible, was the guiding light for what was about to take place.
Everything I did so far was perfect... The wind, and the prayers. The only thing I forgot to take was my vitamins.
At 7:45 I see movement on the field edge, and in the pink and orange skyline I see horns! Big horns! Again I close my eyes and ask for one more prayer to be answered. Yes my prayer was answered, over the fence he jumped. I rest my leg against my seat to stop it from shaking. When I do that, my other leg starts to get the shakes. One thing I always preached is knowing when to turn it on and when to turn it off. I now got it turned off. It's game time!
Now standing there looking at his rub line deciding which way he wants to go, finally he walks straight towards me coming from my left. When he gets to the log road at 15 yards he stops. Two steps and he's across the road. Now that he commits himself, I come to full draw. I wait for him to clear the little sapling and stop him. Concentrate! I tell myself. Again the bow goes off, this time it' not a foot high, and they use to call me by my Indian name-- one who misses high. I did it! The buck runs 30 yards and stops and looks around and trots over the hill. So I get on the cell phone and call T-boy. "I shot the big one!" I exclaimed. ...I shot the big one... "Calm down! You got him." he says to me.
3 hours later I used the famous "Indian tip toe stalk method" out of the woods. 70 yards away lay my trophy. Thanks to prayer, some hope and Darrin Bradley, I got the job done. they now call me the "one who is dead on". Thank you everybody who was evolved with the hunt. T-boy here's lookin' at you buddy!