Wisconsin bowhunter Lori Smolen tagged this beautiful western Wisconsin buck last week. Though it’s easy to get frustrated during the October “lull,” Lori’s hunt proved that proper stand placement can produce. Of course, a great stand nickname might help, too.
According to Lori’s husband, Scott, they’ve dubbed the permanent platform he constructed in a sprawling crotch of a monster white oak “The Wedgie” stand. “The white oak sits on top of a big draw that serves as a natural funnel for deer that are moving along and over the oak ridge,” Scott says. “We also have a waterhole in there that really draws in a lot of deer. I was in the tree with Lori, filming her hunt, and we hadn’t been there long when a coyote came in. We have a bunch of coyotes around this year, so I wanted Lori to take him if she could. The coyote was watching two squirrels, which allowed Lori to draw on him, but the arrow zipped right under his chest.”
Prime time was closing in when a yearling buck followed the funnel and came within bow range. “He kept looking down hill, and pretty soon I could see another deer down there,” Scott says. “It had a big body, but I thought it was a doe until I heard Lori whisper ‘It’s a big buck!’ Finally I could see the antlers of a wide 9-point that we had tons of pictures of from the summer, and more recently, working scrapes. And he made a scrape as we watched, his antlers working over some nearby buck brush and his front feet throwing dirt all around. After he finished the scrape, the buck walked toward the water hole, which gave Lori a 15-yard shot.”
Some important lessons to be learned from this great hunt. First, the fact that Lori’s buck was one the Smolens knew well proved that bucks are still dedicated to core areas. Second, while the “lull” can certainly seem real on deerless nights, that doesn’t mean bucks aren’t actively feeding and laying down sign. Third, understanding how deer move through the landscape is critical to putting yourself into position to hunt them when they are on their feet. The Wedgie Stand is proof that funnels produce at all times of the season.
And finally, giving your stand a cool nickname might not make deer appear, but it sure makes for a neat story when they do!