The Eleventh-Hour Thirteen-Point Nebraska Buck

A week of waiting, a second to act, and a giant Nebraska bow buck.

WHEN A FELLOW BOWHUNTER invited me to join him and a buddy for the upcoming archery season on his land near Omaha, I jumped at the chance. Months before the opener, we cleared timber, prepped food plots, and glassed summer cropfields. We set up a trail camera in July and on the first night got pictures of nine bucks, from 100-inchers up to a 15-pointer we estimated at 195. It really got us pumped.

"Right there, no more than 5 yards away, a huge 13-pointer was walking north. I drew and held my breath."

I found the perfect spot for a ground blind: a fence corner where three cornfields formed a T. As the September 15 opener neared, the field to the north was harvested, but the other two remained uncut. I put the blind in the northwest corner of the southeastern field, 10 yards from the fence intersection and 5 yards into the standing corn. I couldn't see more than 20 yards. But I had a feeling about this spot.

By the evening of the 21st, we'd been hunting hard for a week with no luck. I still had faith in this spot, though, and suspected bucks were bedding in the standing corn.

That night I kept hearing movement in the stalks behind me, and when the sun disappeared I thought, It's prime time. I'd been looking out the north windows, then the west, then north again. No deer. But I got on my knees and clipped my release onto the string just the same. It was down to the last minutes of shooting light when I heard a noise and looked out the west window. Right there, no more than 5 yards away, a huge 13-pointer was walking north. I drew and held my breath. In another second, he stepped into my shooting lane. I grunted softly, he stopped broadside, and I touched the release.

When I heard the arrow smack, I started shaking all over and talking to myself. I just couldn't believe it. Sure, there was probably some luck involved, but I'm proud that I stuck it out in my spot and was prepared when the shot finally came. I was in position with the release on the string and the call in my mouth at the right time. All I had to do was come to full draw and make a 5-yard shot. Really, that was the easy part.