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November 10: Scott Manifold

Scott’s Illinois hunt is the perfect example of how quickly a bow hunt can change. Within a matter of minutes, things went from dead silent to Scott killing the biggest buck of his life.

In camp with DOD team members Tom Ware and Mike Klemmensen (Klemm), Scott was on the trail of a massive buck nicknamed “Cowboy.” It wasn’t just because Klemm is such a big Dallas Cowboys fan that he got the name however, the deer’s massive, curved main beams atop his head looked like an old western style cowboy hat. 2017 was Cowboy’s first year to be on the hit list.

In 2016 as a four or five year old deer, the buck was already a trophy class animal…but Tom knew he had more potential. Another hunter had an opportunity at Cowboy that year, but he followed Tom’s counsel to let him pass…it was a good call. In 2017 he packed on more length and mass totaling a 185 4/8 score. Tom had been sending Scott Reconyx trail cam pictures. Scott knew if he could coordinate an encounter, this would be the biggest deer he’d ever killed.

November 10 found Scott in a box blind overlooking a field of BioLogic Clover Plus with Klemm’s son Bailey behind the camera. They used a buck decoy and a strategically planted rubbing tree to bring the deer in. The guys saw several bucks in the 130s, but Cowboy never showed.

The next morning Tom wanted to give the buck decoy a try, so Scott took a doe decoy out to the same blind he hunted the evening prior. They entered the blind at 5:45 am. Again, he and Bailey kept watch over the clover as a chilly southeast wind in the 30s drifted across the field. 

By 8:30, overtaken by boredom, Scott sent Tom a text:

[It’s been dead for a while.]

At 8:37, Scott sent Tom this text:

[I just shot cowboy!]

Things sure can change pretty quickly on a bow hunt.

The buck showed up at 40 yards to the right of the blind leaving Scott and Bailey little time to start cameras and open up windows. Cowboy had locked eyes with the doe decoy and was on a trajectory to present a 20 yard shot. Finally broadside at 22 yards, Scott came to full draw on his PSE Carbon Air. From Bailey’s perspective however, the buck was obscured by part of the blind. He didn’t have the deer on camera.

A few tense moments elapsed while Scott kept his pin on the deer before Cowboy took a couple steps forward, putting him back in frame for the camera. Bailey whispered, “I got him.”

That was all Scott needed to hear. He executed the shot, putting a Rage Chisel Tip just behind the buck’s shoulder, slicing through both lungs. With a burst of speed, Cowboy tore off for 120 yards before dropping.  A good hit makes for a good blood trail and this one was exceptional. Just seven minutes had elapsed between Scott’s observation to Tom about how quiet things were to the moment when he loosed an arrow at the buck of his life. Things can change quickly when you’re bowhunting…just ask Scott.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik