Adam Hill’s caboose buck


The Caboose

Every step of hunting this deer, felt like a puzzle falling together. As I was pursuing him, the writer in me, wanted to start writing the story in my mind. But, I constantly had to refrain my thinking, because the story wasn’t finished.

A little over a week before season, we began to do some pretty serious scouting. Putting up trail cameras, and getting some bow stands ready for early bow season.

August 13th came(two days before opening day), and we decided to check all of the cameras. On one piece of property, we had cameras on. We noticed there was a bachelor group of bucks. One of the bucks was a dandy, that immediately caught my attention. They were roaming the west side of the property. There was not a single picture of them on the east side. We noticed, they had a distinct pattern. They would show up on one camera, then head to the area the other camera was in. Almost like clockwork. Despite this consistency, and in exception of one time, all the pictures were at night time. But, I had a hunch where they were staying, during the daytime.

So the next day, we went and scouted the area of my suspicion, hung a stand, and put a camera up. The predominate wind for the next few days was SW, so I decided on a place I thought would be best for that wind. From my experience, deer typically play the wind when they come in.

Especially, the more mature ones. Where they circle downwind of an area, to see if they smell any danger before coming in. So I tried to keep this in mind, before picking a tree to put a stand in.

The unfortunate part was the tree I picked, was a very big oak tree with a circumference of over 12 feet. This definitely made for a challenge, getting the chains around the tree. I couldn’t have done it without daddy’s help from the ground, with a pruner. But, after hanging on the side of a tree for over 4 hours, with a heat index of 115, the stand was up. And only one day before season.

Lo and behold, the next evening at the new location, the target buck and his crew, showed up at 10PM. So, we knew he was at least in the area. I would have set that stand, the following evening, but the wind was SSE, which is a very marginal wind. So I decided against it. BAM…..6:30 that following evening, him and his crew showed up, and stayed until 7:30. A whole hour….and in broad daylight. My hunch appeared to be true.

The wind

The good thing was, the wind the next evening was SSW, which is basically the wind I set the stand up for. The bad thing was, is he really going to do it 2 days in a row? Nothing is for certain, but I had to try it!!

August 17 (3 days into deer season), I headed in to the stand, I had just hung 3 days prior. It was 90 degrees, so it wasn’t a super hot day, and the weather just seemed nice. The SSW wind was steady and hitting me in the left front of my face, blowing my scent over my right shoulder.

Based on trail camera pictures, it looked like the deer were not even playing the wind, and coming straight in from the front of the stand. I knew that seemed a little too good to be true. I also noticed, in every single picture I got of the bachelor group of bucks, the deer I was after, was always the last one to come in.

So I knew, if I was lucky enough to get him to come in. I would have to pass the test of his whole gang, before getting an opportunity at him. The day before, he was 6 minutes behind the first deer(which I thought was a pretty long time, to have that many deer, that close to you).

I got in the stand at 4:30. 6:33 came, and I couldn’t help but think…they were here this time yesterday. Around 7:00, I happened to be standing up, to stretch my legs, and I spotted movement coming through the woods to my right. It was a deer, followed by 2 more.

They were all bucks, and one was a right nice 8 point. To begin with I wondered if it was the one I was after, but I soon decided it couldn’t be. Normally it was a deer I would have shot with a bow, but this time I was after a great deer, not a good one. As these deer were coming in, they confirmed my fear…..they are playing the wind. Before coming in, they circled around to my right, to smell for danger. To a point that was dangerously close to where my scent was blowing.

Earlier in the hunt, I noticed a little piece of spider web, that was dangling on the tree, right beside me, and it would show me the wind direction, even in the lightest of breezes. Throughout the hunt, I constantly referred to this piece of webbing, in hopes of a steady SSW wind. Each deer that circled downwind, came probably 5-10 yards from being able to smell me. They had me on pins and needles, when they circled downwind. All it would take was one slight swirl in the wind, and the hunt would be over.

I think what may have saved me, is where I set the stand up, was on a ditch bank. And the deer would have to cross the ditch, in order to get completely downwind of me. The first 3 bucks finally made their way in to 20 yards away, and in front of me.

6 minutes passes

I was expecting the one I was after to be lagging behind. But I was banking on the 6 minutes, like the day before. I knew time would seem like it’s dragging much more than reality, as I’m standing there, plastered against the tree. Holding the bow with my left hand, and my release clipped on the string with my right hand. I waited….and waited, to a time that I knew was well past 6 minutes. My presumption was 30 or so minutes had passed, as I had no real way to check the time, without moving.

Finally, I saw some more movement in the woods ahead. I thought, alright, here we go. Then the deer disappeared to an area like they may have been heading downwind of me. Once again I had another reason to be anxious. After 10 minutes or so, the deer reappeared. It was two does. Just as the prior bucks, they circled downwind, probably 20 yards away from me, but still, I somehow passed the test.

I now have 3 bucks and two does, all inside of 25 yards from me. Daylight is starting to fade, and I’m losing hope. Thinking they may be starting to break out of their bachelor groups. Close to an hour after the first deer, I once again, catch movement in the woods. 3 deer are coming my way, fast, and it looks like they’re bucks. First I recognized a buck, that is always with the one I was after. I thought for sure, this time he has to be one of the three.

Then, I spotted him. A relief filled me, for I felt honored, to even lay eyes on him. There was no wondering, if it was the deer I was after. It was him!! The other two bucks he was with came straight in, ignoring the wind. But of course, I had to pass the downwind test, one more time. By the very deer I was after.


At this point in time I have 5 bucks, 3 does, and a fawn. All within 30 yards or so of me. The only deer that hadn’t made it in yet, was the very one I was after! How will I ever draw my bow back, undetected? As he walked in, I saw my opportunity. All eyes were on him, he was respected, and all the deer shied away, to make room for him.

I drew my bow back, completely undetected. I stopped the deer, at what I’m going to guess was 25-27 yards. I put my 20 yard pin, center height, and let it go. I wasn’t sure of my exact shot placement, but I knew it looked far back. I couldn’t tell if it was far enough forward to hit lungs or not. But I knew the height was perfect. The deer I shot, took off running hard, while the others stuck around. Unsure of what happened. I sat there, until all the deer cleared the area. Then went and checked my arrow, to see what the blood looked like.

Immediately there was a good amount of blood, so I backed out and waited for Tyler, to start tracking the deer. He got there, and we took up the track. A track that led us to a buck of a lifetime, in less than 100 yards.

As I’m writing this, I can’t believe how this hunt transpired. I’ve wanted to get a truly mature deer, in full velvet, with a bow for so many years. And it finally happened.

I am beyond thankful for everyone, that brought this hunt together. I couldn’t have got the stand up, without daddy’s help. And certainly couldn’t have drug the deer out of the woods without causing damage to its delicate velvet, and summer hair without Tyler’s help!

Above all, I thank God for creating what I love, and giving me the chance to be a steward of His land!

–Adam Hill

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