John's Journal... Entry 204, Day 1
MY WORST BOWHUNTING MISTAKES WITH ROD WHITE
My Worst Mistakes
EDITOR'S NOTE: Many outdoorsmen have called Rod White of Sparta, Wisconsin, a bow-hunting phenom. At age 13, White took his first buck with a bow and began to shoot competitively. In 1993, he won a silver medal in the Junior World Championships. He took an international title in the National Outdoor Championships, placed second in the Intermediate Division of the Junior National Championship and became a member of the U.S. Olympic Festival team, placing fifth in the intermediate division -- all before his 17th birthday. Since then, White won an Olympic gold medal in 1996 and an Olympic bronze medal in 2000 as a member of the U.S. Men's Team, and numerous national championships and world titles as well as participating in ESPN's Great Outdoor Games. White, who doesn't just shoot paper, has taken 17 Pope & Young animals with his bow. Ranked third in the world for his archery prowess, White, will tell you that, "I make mistakes, too."
A bowhunter first, I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to take 17 Pope and Young animals with my bow, most of which have been whitetails ranging from 132 to 171 inches and all but two of them on public lands. I've also taken the second-largest 8-point whitetail ever with my bow as well as dozens of whitetails from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York that haven't met Pope and Young standards.
I well remember a mistake I made bowhunting. I'd been watching a 180-class buck for 1-1/2-weeks. On this day, the buck was bedding in a thickly-wooded area that had three timbered fingers, each about 75 yards from the other, running out into a field. The buck would go to the tip of each one of these fingers of woods every day in the middle of the day and look for does. Then after the buck checked the three fingers, he'd circle the wood lot and come down a fencerow.
To take this buck, I went to every one of the timbered fingers and expected to see scrapes. When I arrived at the first finger, I found a scrape and poured some Mrs. Doe Pee Doe in Estrus on the edge of the scrape, because the wind wasn't right for me to hunt from any of those timbered fingers. Next I saturated a drag rag with this deer lure and drug it to the next two fingers where I found scrapes. Then I dragged the rag around to the fencerow along the same route the buck had traveled the week before.
When I got to the fencerow, I located a tree where I could hang my tree stand and get a good shot at the buck. I was excited about possibly bagging the biggest bow buck of my life on this first day of archery season in Illinois.
At 11:00 a.m., the buck came out like he always did and checked two of his scrapes. But instead of checking the third scrape, he returned to the wooded area and moved out of sight. I thought to myself, "Well, the wind has switched, which means the buck won't do what he usually does. I should get down out of my tree stand, go back to my truck and plan to hunt this deer tomorrow." I went to my truck, put my bow in the back and started to take off my hunting clothes to store them in a Rubbermaid container. However, as I looked up, I spotted the buck coming out of the third finger, following the drag-rag trail and walking right in front of my tree stand that I'd hung on the fence row. Then the buck stopped less than 20 yards from where I should have been standing at full draw to release the arrow. Although I hunted that buck for four more days, I never saw him again. I just blew the hunt.
TOMORROW: THE FOUR MISSED BUCKS PART 1
Check back each day this week for more about MY WORST BOWHUNTING MISTAKES WITH ROD WHITE ...