Just some stories that might help you next time your chasing game in the great outdoors, or just make you laugh.  Hope you enjoy!

     October lull, guess that is what they call it.  You know that time between opening week and the pre rut?  The surprise factor is up and the deer know you are there, somewhere waiting to put an arrow through the pump station.  While you are trying to pattern them, they are patterning you.  This was the situation I found myself in a week before opening day of Oklahoma Primitive Arms Season.  Now don't get me wrong there is nothing I like more than bow hunting Whitetail Deer.  However smoke pole season comes in at a very close second.  It doesn't matter if its my CVA Inline or my 54 cal, Hawkin cap lock.  There's just something about that time of year that gets me all fired up inside.
     I had decided to move to another spot on the property that had always been good this time of year.  It was a rainy Friday evening and I wanted to get my climber, bow hanger, and tree arm up for the morning hunt.  On the way in I found the sign I was looking for, a fresh scrape on the old road I use to walk in.  This old driveway was always the first place I found scrapes, but this one was so fresh, I knew I was close to this buck.  Even on a damp day this sign was only hours old.  Moving on down the old road I came to the oak flat I was seeking.  Like the area before, this open timber was littered with three more scrapes and a fighting rub.  I could almost feel the aggression in the air.  This was a mature buck no doubt.
      The next morning dawned.  Well, I don't know how it dawned because I slept in.  The full moon had shown all night and I wanted to do something different.  After cooking homemade biscuits and gravy I decided to head to the tree for a mid day hunt.  I passed the first scrape on the way in around 9:50 am and was easing my way into the flat by 10.  From the time I climbed the tree and grunted a few times the bucks started moving.  First to my left then a half horn forker to my right.  This young buck was in the right spot, but I knew he wasn't the one leaving all the sign so I passed, which for me is hard to do.  Again, to my left a spike appeared and shortly vanished.  It was then I decided to do a little rattling.  I had always had great success rattling this time of year.  It was only 15 or 20 minutes later that movement at the scrape near the old road caught my attention.  I could tell instantly that this was a big deer.  A flash of his main beam and G2 let me know this was the one I was after.  As quickly as he appeared he was gone and my quest began.  I left around 2 o'clock that afternoon and didn't return until opening day of smoke pole season.  I had yet to put a nice buck on the ground with my muzzle loader and it bothered me.  This was a personal quest I had been after for many years.

Planning began that evening to film the hunt but due to a miss communication, I left out all alone that opening morning.  Although not as cool as it had been the weekend before I was still hopeful the buck would be moving.  Fallowing the same guidelines as before, spraying Deer Dander on my boots,  I walked in and checked the first scrape, it looked like it had been hit, but not recently.  All morning I sat running the hero shot over and over in my head.  What I would say and how I would say it, but I seen nothing.  Finally around 11, I decided to call it and head home.  On the way back I saw what I was looking for, he had left me some fresh sign next to the now torn open scrape.  By the looks of the scat he had only been there a couple hours before...I knew he would be back to check the others that evening.  For some reason my confidence was at an all time high, it wasn't if I would kill this buck, it was when...
    That evening as people began to arrive for the Halloween party (that I would not be attending) I was going over all the details in my mind.  I would go in the long way instead of down the road this time.  I didn't want to take any chances on spooking the buck.  It added another 1/4 mile to my journey but I was better safe than sorry.  Pulling into my parking spot the evening hunt began.   I had only gone in a hundred yards when something jumped and ran in a thicket to my left. I could tell it was a deer by the sound but could see nothing to tell me how big or if it was a buck or doe.  The thick fall foliage was still hanging on bright and beautiful, which made walking noisome and seeing impossible. For a moment I thought the gig was up but I was still a long ways from my stand, so I moved on.  
    I finally reached the climbing stand still at the bottom of the tree where it had been left, but moved on.  For some reason I wanted to get close, real close.  Standing in the road you could see all the scrapes so I sat down in the middle of three tightly grouped Oak trees with a Cedar at my back.  This would put me at 20 yards from the target area, at eye level.  Clearing out a spot I plopped down and began the long wait until dark.  It wasn't long before my back let me know that it didn't much care for sitting on the ground when my comfortable stand seat was so close by, but I held fast.  As the sun began to cast longer shadows my way, the thought of getting up and moving crossed my mind, but I had to trust the plan.  Moments later the flicker of a tail told me a deer was approaching from the sanctuary zone to my left, just like the script had read.   My heart began to thump in my chest and my breath quickened.  Now the licking branch directly in front of me began to rise and fall, twist and turn.  Breathing threw my nose now to stay quiet I raised my gun.  I could see hair and legs but that was all. The legs began to move towards the road.  Taking a deep breath I steadied my weapon as the buck stepped out at 20 yards broadside.  My finger found the trigger, but didn't pull.  The spike in front of me had read the script perfectly, but on this day he wouldn't do.
    The sun settled down behind the horizon and the clock was now against me.  Watching to my left I began to think he had won this round.  It was then that movement to my right caught my eye.  Switching my gun to my left hand I put my left eye to the scope to get a look.  As uncomfortable as it was I was able to see a large buck moving right in front of my climber.  I couldn't see all the points but I could tell without a doubt this was him.  He was closing in on the scrape farthest from me.  As he faded behind a dead fall I thought about repositioning, but quickly decided it would be to risky.  The movement might send him running.  I would have to shoot left handed.  I had never practiced this shot and under the high stress, buck fever situation, this could be disastrous.  The buck reappeared in an opening 45 yards away.  My left eye in the scope, I could see him perfectly, except for the six inch diameter tree that covered his lungs.  The buck stopped there, and looked into the trees ahead almost as if he could sense my scope on him.  Now was the time.  I put the crosshairs on the center of his shoulder and squeezed the trigger.  I could see nothing but smoke as the gun roared.  Immediately, I strained to hear anything else but the fading roar of the gun........nothing...... Reloading, I quickly got to my feet and moved towards the last sighting.  There he was, shot high in the shoulder he moved to get up but that wasn't happening.  I fired another shot between his shoulder blades and into his heart... Moments later my quest for the double split G2 buck of my dreams was over.  All those practiced hero shots faded as fast as the light around me.  There were no words to express the complete feeling of being a hunter.  I had told my wife before I left that evening I would be crashing the party with a "big ol' buck",...and I did.  God blesses those who put forth the time and the effort, on his time not yours.

The Quest
Tyson "T-Mac" Mckibben

Picture of T-Mac and his
11 point buck shot with
his CVA muzzle loader