By: Ted Nugent
Dream on! Never stop believing, never stop dreaming! And I’m not talking Tinkerbell or Peter Pan dreams either. I’m talking big buck dreams from the big buck dreamlands in our dreamy little deerhunting heads!
I don’t have a crystal ball or a magical future predictor of any kind. In fact, I am always amazed at so many deerhunters whom I know that consistently predict which buck will show up where and when.
I strategize with all the smarts and experienced hunches I can muster, but it has always been a random roll of the dice for this old backstrapper.
I dream nonetheless and have on more than one occasion made some bold, cocky predictions of my own that unfortunately have never come to fruition.
But on November 2, 2017, the planets aligned, and my radar was on an alltime high and my luck meter pegged.
And it goes like this……
I hunt hard every day. No really! Every day!
And I like it and the inescapable frustration never comes close to the thrills and the happiness that every day afield brings me, kill or no kill.
But this buck kill is one for the books, the most important book of all, the Dream Books.
So as always, just before hitting the sack in my little Michigan swamp log cabin, I go to the front door and switch on the big floodlights and have a look at what might be in the cabin foodplot.
Whoa! What have we here! Amongst the scattering of does, fawns and young bucks stands Sir BuckO, a handsome 4 or 5-year old something, mature, classic, tall, wide, very symmetrical 8 pointer that we have no history with in the field or on trailcams.
I study him intently with my Bushnells as he stands regally surveying the deer activity all around him.
I immediately call son Toby and convey my discovery and lay out a plan.
I tell Toby how since the buck is on the high ground by the cabin at 9:30 at night, that maybe, just maybe, he will cruise the north marsh ridgeline looking for stinky does through the night, and maybe, just maybe if I walk the mile west before dawn and get in the new ladderstand, maybe, just maybe, I can ambush the 8-pointer in the morning.
Toby chuckles at his old man’s eternal optimism and says, “…sure dad, that’s what we dream every day we head out there! Wouldn’t that be wonderful. Go for it!”
Early next morning in the dark of pre-dawn, without firing up the Polaris, SpiritWild VidCamDude Ethan Wiskur and I trudge the long walk due west and don’t turn north across the cut bean field until we are just above and perpendicular to my new north ridge set, thereby minimizing our disturbance to the area.
As Ethan ascends the ladder, I walk 25 yards below and scrape away all the leaves and forest debris in a large 40” circle next to an autumn olive branch and put some Conquest doe pee in my brand new mockscrape before joining him.
As the beautiful morning came to life overlooking the magical marsh and ridgeline, all was quiet except for the enchanting wild symphony that is the soundtrack for every dawn on a deerhunt.
The hours ticked away with nary a deer till a little after 9 when a breathy “shooterbuck” came out of my mouth.
As if guided by the exact script I shared with Toby 12 hours prior, my dreamy cabin foodplot 8 pointer came walking right on cue out of the marshgrass and took the trail up the ridge straight to my mockscrape as if he’d made it himself and visited it a thousand times before.
With a little twisting and crouching and bending and maneuvering, Ethan had him and with my 50# Mathews Halon at fulldraw, I kissed the button and found the 20-yard pin in the middle of my peepsight and before you knew it, the mystical flight of my 400 grain zebra GoldTip arrow jammed a razorsharp 100 grain DeadRinger Butcher broadhead clean through the beast’s right shoulder and disappeared out the other side.
Are you kidding me? My mind reeled in disbelief that this had all played out lick for lick from the dreamy hopes of last night’s prediction.
Believe me, such dreams have always been part of my deerhunting life, but I don’t believe any had ever come true with such detail for detail accuracy.
We followed the DeadRinger bloodtrail for about 100 yards to where the gorgeous stag died in the very cut bean field we had crossed three hours earlier.
The deerhunting lessons are clear and start with believing in our dreams!
The plotseed1.com foodplot played a role.
It was also important to walk the mile or so to the stand in the dark instead of starting up the ATV.
The new ambush set was established months earlier based on nearly 40 years of hunting this ridge above the marshland sanctuary in such a way to optimize a shot off my left shoulder without standing up or moving unnecessarily.
The mockscrape is standard operating procedure for me on every hunt.
My daily archery practice includes various body maneuvering configurations so as to force me to adhere to killer archery form no matter the conditions, and my aim small miss small shot sequence mantra is burned permanently into my bowhunting predator psyche.
What a hunt! What a morning! What a buck! What a dream!