Bestul: Hunting Deer at Eye Level

On the last day of the Iowa archery season, I shot a doe at a distance of seven yards. I was kneeling at the time, my back pressed against a broken-down willow tree that hid my silhouette. I can honestly say that the seconds before I released that arrow were every bit as exciting as the ones leading up to the buck I killed three months earlier. And that was the largest whitetail buck I have ever taken.

There is something about being on the ground with big game. Don't get me wrong; I have seen many, many whitetails from tree stands, elevated platforms, and the occasional shooting house, and I get an adrenaline buzz from every encounter. But get me out of the tree, at eye-level with the deer, and the thrill is tough to match. Managing buck fever is tough enough when you are above a buck's line of sight and feel somewhat hidden. Get on his level--where odds are good he'll spot any movement--and it's a different game entirely.

The video clip above features a monstrous Kansas buck that would guarantee the knee-knocks in just about anyone. Not only is this a world-class whitetail, but he appears to be within bow range for most of the clip. During this kind of encounter, there are a thousand things that can go wrong, and only one thing that can go right. So how would you manage the adrenaline rush and pull off a shot on this tremendous buck? Anxious to hear your strategies!