September 28, 2012
How I Shot Dave Hurteau
By Scott Bestul
Remember this buck? I showed you two trail-cam pictures of him back in July. You may recall that Hurteau had just gone off on people who name bucks. So I took him to task in my next post and asked you to help me name this double-forked 4-year-old.
Buckhunter wrote: “There is only one name to give a deer as sly, smart, and cagey as the one in the photo. Dave Hurteau. Later this fall, your blog title will say, ‘How I Shot Dave Hurteau.’”
Well, the name stuck. The real Hurteau and I have been calling him that ever since. And sure enough, on Monday evening, I shot “Dave Hurteau.”
I can’t say it didn’t bring me some satisfaction, especially after all this goatee business. Seriously, though, there are a couple of interesting points to be made about this buck.
1 - My friend Alan first saw Dave Hurteau Thursday night while combining a cornfield. On Friday, I set up an observation stand on the field edge and watched him step out to feed with another buck. On Saturday, Alan saw him again from the same stand. On Sunday, I hung a new set where the buck had been coming out. Alan hunted it that night and had him at 20 yards but couldn’t get a shot. On Monday night, I shot him at 30 yards. In almost 40 years of chasing whitetails, I have never seen a big buck enter a field from the same place five nights in a row. It goes to show just how predictable early-season bucks can be—and it shows the drawing power of a freshly combined cornfield.
2 - Generally, I am a scent-reduction skeptic. But I’ll try anything and had in fact been trying a buddy’s baking soda scent-killing system while hunting with him in northern Wisconsin the previous week. But I gave it up when I got home and was as stinky as ever when Dave Hurteau showed up on Monday evening, 35 yards away, directly downwind. When I first saw him, I thought, “This is over before it starts.” I didn’t even reach for my bow. But he just stopped, looked in my direction for a while, flicked his tail, and kept coming, giving me time to grab my bow, get drawn, and make the shot.
Now, had I scrubbed down and powdered up with baking soda that afternoon, I’m sure I would have given it all the credit. I would have called my buddy and said, “Hey, you’re baking soda system really works!” I’m not saying it doesn’t, but when it comes to scent reduction, you have to beware of the self-fulfilling prophecy.