Waiting 52 Days For A Shot

Bowhunter Chad Hane learned a valuable lesson in patience after he spotted a huge buck in his back yard one evening. After the sighting, Hane spent many sleepless nights wondering if he’d ever get a crack at the great whitetail.

Hane took up archery as a teenager after a tragic traffic accident took the lives of his mother and brother near the family’s home in Stillwater, Okla. Chad soon started bowhunting and has taken several deer since, his best being a 178-pound 12-pointer.

After buying his family’s homestead a few years back, Hane set up a deer feeder to see what it might attract. Though his five-acre back yard is flat with scant habitat, the surrounding farms have small patches of woods, which gave Hane hope that a feeder might pull in a buck.

During supper one August evening, Hane’s wife Mary noticed four deer under their feeder, which was 80 yards away from the dining-room window. Mary got the video camera and began filming the deer — all bucks — that took turns raising their heads, as if posing for the camera. Chad stared mesmerized at the three velvet-clad racks, but when the fourth deer raised his head, Hane did a double take. The buck’s rack looked to be more than two feet wide, and his body was noticeably larger than the others.

For nearly two months, Hane fed the four bachelor bucks nearly 1,000 pounds of a special sweet-corn mixture blended at his local co-op. Right on schedule, the bucks would appear at first light to eat, and reappear at last light before vanishing into the woods nearby.

As archery season approached, Hane had patterned the deer and knew the exact times they fed, when they would leave, and in which direction they headed. The problem was that his property is flat, with no trees in the vicinity for a tree stand. The only things taller than the native grasses in Hane’s yard were two eight-foot cedar trees standing 75 yards from the feeder.

Hane opted to build a ground blind between the cedars in hopes that he could draw his bow undetected. In time, news of the big wide-racked buck spread. In a new housing division across from Hane’s property, several homeowners spotted the buck around their homes occasionally after dark.

A week before the season, Hane was asked by a few camouflage-clad visitors who had seen the big buck if they might hunt his property. He smiled and replied, “I’m going to be the one to hunt that buck.”

The night before the archery opener was a restless one for Hane, who rolled out of bed early and donned his camouflage to take a stand in his back yard, hoping to harvest a giant whitetail he had watched for 52 days in a row.

Well before light, Hane snuck to his cedar blind he had erected 70 yards from his back porch. As the last shreds of darkness gave way to the first light of dawn, Hane saw what he had hoped to see — feeding 75 yards away was the monster buck, accompanied by the three shooter bucks.

The wide-racked monarch fed, unaware of Hane’s presence, and then the quartet headed for thicker cover on the adjoining property to pass the daylight hours.

The well-worn path along Hane’s back fenceline would march the bucks by his ambush point and well within range. The wide-racked buck stopped to check the wind 22 yards away, and Hane drew his bow. At the “thunk” of the string, the big buck bolted, but the imbedded arrow indicated a well-placed shot. Hane, elated and shaking, called his twin brother, Shad, to tell of his good fortune and to enlist help in finding the buck. Shad arrived in short order and the duo began their search for the brute.

After a short tracking job, Shad found the deer and summoned Chad to come look at his buck. Chad stood over the whitetail in amazement; it was truly the trophy of a lifetime. “I thought to myself, what a magnificent buck,” Hane said. “I was in awe. The buck was unbelievable.”

The pair field-dressed the deer and then measured the spread, which taped 31 ½ inches outside. The buck sported 29 points and is recorded as Oklahoma’s best archery non-typical ever, scoring 214 4/8 Pope-and-Young-Club points.

Hane never saw the other three big bucks again.

Read part 1