This is long, but I just like writing down the story. Skip to the end if you’re just in it for the pictures! I had a couple of vacation days planned, and Thursday/Friday No v2/3 ended up being the days that worked out around a weekend. It was maybe a little earlier in the rut than I’d have liked but it was what worked. I’d set up a camera under Mom’s apple trees at the house. 25 yards outside of her back door, and these guys were there regularly. Thursday morning I went to a new stand that I’d set this summer. I got in and set up, an hour early…. 6:23 rolled around and I thought, it’s still WAY dark. That’s when it hit me that I’d forgotten to add an hour. At least it wasn’t too cold Thursday morning. 7:30 came around and I hit the antlers and had a 2 year old buck show up across the creek from me. Then another 2-3 year old came in to about 15 yard behind me. The one behind me saw the one across the creek. He let out the loudest snort wheeze I’ve ever heard. The one across the creek was having none of that and worked his way across. They ended up not fighting, and the one from across the creek ended up in at 5 yards. I thought….Maybe I’m not too early in the rut to hunt. I had two more bucks work their way in. At one point a young buck ran in from behind me, looking for the fight, while I was still rattling. The wind switched on me, so I backed out and took a quick break and grabbed the lone wolf. I set it up where the wind was right and ended up having three different young bucks that came in, just not the right deer. I had yet to see a mature buck or a doe. Friday morning, the wind put me in a third stand location on a ridge top. Both boys harvested deer out of this stand last year, but I had only ever taken a doe late in the year from that stand. I had three different bucks come into rattling antlers between 7:30 and 9:30. Everything was still too young. At 9:30 a doe was working her way up the hill, with a buck tagging along. He never let her get more than 15 yards away. She veered off to my right and never gave me a shot. 10:45, I saw a mature buck with a split G2 at the bottom of the hill. I rattled, and could not convince him to come up the hill, he definitely heard me, just wasn't having any of it. About 11:30, I debating on taking a break, but rattled one more time. After about 10 minutes of nothing responding, I decided I was going to move my bow hanger. It was just in the wrong spot. I got my bow and put the arrow away and took my release off so that it didn’t get accidently dropped. I laid the bow on the rails of the stand and started unscrewing the bow hanger. Looking down the hill I caught movement, and got the bino’s on the area. I realized immediately it was a mature buck, and he was 100 yards away and working my way up the hill through the woods. I got an arrow nocked, and the release hooked up as he continued my way. Halfway up the hill, he stopped and made a rub on a cedar tree, then continued right at me. He came off to the left of my stand and eventually gave me a quartering away shot. I stopped him, and his head was behind a tree, but that didn’t stop the slick trick from doing its job as his vitals were clear. I saw the arrow enter and knew he was done. I never got the shakes, until it was over. I watched him exit the timber and at about 50 yards he nearly fell but must have kept his feet for a few more yards. Packed up and got down, stripping off extra clothes before going to take a peek. Found my arrow with good blood on it. There was not a great blood trail, but there was a blood with bubbles. Definitely lung. After just a few yards, the blood trail was pretty decent, but not what I would have expected knowing where he was hit. At about 50 yards, I started to get worried that the hit wasn’t as good as I thought, then I saw a pile of blood and about two more steps could see him in the grass just ahead. I was thankful that he had not gotten back into the timber, but died on the edge of the timber in the grass. He’d crashed hard, and must have thrashed a bit as there was blood all over him. As I stepped up to him, I realized that it was a buck that was blind in his right eye.(My wife asked me latter if we could name him “One Eyed Willy” after the pirate from the Goonies since she’d just watched that with the kids) I collected my thoughts and got to work field dressing him. I was very thankful for a true arrow, a quick, clean kill, and that that I did not have to drag him anywhere! Couldn’t have hit him much better. Entry on the left, exit on the right. Went and got the ranger and started scratching my head as to how I was going to load him by myself. Times like this are when I really miss Dad being around. He was always willing to come lend a hand and share in the excitement. I finally told myself, that I just need to do it. Hooked his antlers onto the tailgate of the ranger and held them there while I got in the back. Grabbed antlers and pulled. Loaded better than I had expected. Texted a couple of folks and headed for the house. Going up the road, I just happened to look over and see this view. Mom was home and was able to come out and take a few photos for me. Tank of a neck and body on him. Saturday morning I went out one a doe mission, and wouldn’t you know it… This guy shows up. This is a buck that I passed last year several times and he definitely grew up this year. My son still has a youth tag, so who knows…. I know there is not a neighbor in the area that would pass him. I was able to harvest a doe Saturday afternoon while climbing into my stand. They were running corn down the fence line to the East, and I figured anything bumped out of there, would come down that fence line to that stand. I actually shot her from the ladder and never made it into the stand. She hit the one spot that I could easily shoot from while leaning into the ladder. Another double lung shot, so she didn’t go far. The boys got a tracking/field dressing lesson.