Hunt long enough and you’ll know why people claim deer have the ability to appear and disappear like magic in the woods. Just ask Chad.

Chad observed this buck a few days prior to their lethal encounter. Seeing it chase a doe on his Missouri farm, he knew it would be his biggest bow kill to date. But to get on him, he’d have to relocate his stand.

Chad and partner Bryan took Chad’s truck in to do the relocation around 2:00 pm. To avoid spooking any deer in the area, they left the truck running while they worked. By 3:30 they had finished rehanging the stands, dropped the truck off, changed into their Nomad gear, and were back in the stand and ready to hunt.

The new stand was within view of a BioLogic Maximum food plot and intersecting fence lines. After sitting for only 40 minutes, a 140s class eight-pointer came walking towards them and bedded down at 60 yards. That buck kept a close eye on Chad and Bryan, and the pair returned the favor.

45 minutes later, Bryan began slapping the tree whispering, “Big buck! Big buck!”

Chad couldn’t see what Bryan saw and was watching another deer when he glanced to his left and finally saw the target buck at 80 yards. Chad thinks the buck may have bedded down while they were watching the eight-pointer in front of them. At any rate, this was Chad’s buck and it was walking towards him.

At 45 yards the deer veered off his trajectory to Chad and took a fence line north, away from the guys. It looked like the opportunity was slipping away. Suddenly the buck hopped the fence and turned to begin walking directly towards Chad. His heart now thumping heavy, Chad readied his PSE Dream Season X-Force for a shot.

30 yards. 25 yards.

The buck kept coming.

20 yards. 15 yards.

Finally, at 12 steps and Chad’s frame bent at the waist to compensate for the extreme downward angle, he took the shot. The Rage Trypan hit just above and behind the shoulder, taking out at least one lung. The buck darted off but only managed a 100 yard dash before expiring. The arrow penetrated deeply, but not out the other side. Though mortally wounded, without an exit wound, Chad relied primarily on the deer’s hoof prints and specs of blood to find him.

Chad had dialed in his set to cross paths with this deer, but he had no idea just how stealthily this buck would slip in to their setup. Had it not been for Bryan’s watchful eye, that old Missouri stud may have taken the guys by greater surprise and caught them unaware.

We hunt for lots of reasons, one of them being the unpredictable nature of every trip afield. Chad’s buck appeared almost magically before his eyes. Here’s hoping for a little magic in all of our seasons.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.