Velvet Bed Buck

TJ Morrison, South Dakota- My buddy, Ty Godkin, and I went out to put in some hours hunting the afternoon of September 14th. We got to the spot where we wanted to sit that day more or less with the intentions to just scout.

From the knob we were perched on, you could see all the way down into three different draws that all came together on that knob. We sat there for an hour or so glassing at the bottom watching 2 young mule deer bucks when we just barely caught a glimpse of the buck I would end up pursuing.

I said to Ty, “That’s a nice whitetail, you should go try to shoot that deer.” He replied, “I want to shoot a mule deer with my bow.” So I jumped up and took off down the east side of the draw because I knew what little finger he went up and never came out of. It’s about 4:00 at this time. I started off and made it to that finger before starting to creep over the ridge.

I looked up and those two young mule deer bucks were staring back at me, so I froze. Eventually, they just flicked their tails like they do and anxiously walked off, which was the luckiest thing ever for me. I take a couple more steps and again spot the buck I was chasing. He was 86 yards away and I'm stopped on my hands and knees with a perfect wind.

I sat there for a second to think about how I can get closer. I can’t back track to the north or the wind will get me. So I look to the south and there is a shallow finger draw that will be tough, but could work. So crawling backwards, I back out and stand up for a second before walking another 40 yards down the draw and crawl back over and down the little finger draw towards the south. I really take my time and go slow and just keep repeating in my head, "go slower, go slower, go slower".

I finally get behind a sage brush, peak up, and get a range of about 48 yards. I draw and come up and the deer didn’t even look at me or move so I went back down slowly. I peaked up and ranged him again at 42 yards when a deer about 200 yards behind me blows and takes off, which looked like another nice buck from the quick glance I had. I'm on my knees and draw my bow again on my way up. The deer is quartering a little bit and looking at me from his bed. I put my pin just to the left of his right shoulder in the front,exhale, and send my arrow on it's way.

The author with his beautiful public land velvet buck!

It hits him perfectly. He takes off down and then back up the drainage and is bleeding really good. I sit there a second to take in what happened before quickly inspecting the blood trail and decide to go get Ty. I’m excited to say the least. We go back to follow the trail and find my arrow with no blood on it. My heart sinks. We take up the trail with initially little blood. Then after about 200 yards of struggling to find blood, the blood trail opens up.

Then we then get a glimpse of him, he’s still up and barely getting by. I told Ty to get where he can see him and then I take off to get close just in case I need to make a follow up shot. I get close again and we wait. It’s now 7:10 and we wait for 20 minutes before he goes down and kicks but his head comes back up. He does this a few more times then his head goes down for good. We wait until 7:30 before I stand up fully drawn and creep forward.

He doesn’t move as I get up to him and poke his eye, nothing. I am pumped up! Ty comes running down the hill just as happy as me. I field dress him while he goes to get the pick-up as close as he can. He walks back to take some pictures then it’s a 1.5 mile drag back to the truck. This whitetail was healthy and fat! It was 10:30 p.m. when we got back to the truck, our bodies were gone, but the story we get to tell will never be forgotten!

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