December 4: Justin Lurk and Brandon Jennings

We all know how many critical steps there are leading up to killing a deer, but there’s one post-shot tactic that’s too often overlooked…the follow-up arrow. 

Bowhunting at Tara Wildlife in Mississippi, Justin and Brandon were finally in the place they had been anticipating all fall. Bobby Culbertson and his team’s hospitality (especially the food!) coupled with the incredible deer management they employ make Tara Wildlife a deer hunting destination second to none. 

The guys arrived on Sunday and wasted no time getting into the woods. They climbed into their stands that afternoon concealed in their Mossy Oak Nomad camo. They selected this time of the season for their six day hunt as it coincided with the southern rut. 

Conditions would start out tough with temperatures hanging a solid 15 degrees above average, but an incoming cold front forecasted for Monday evening kept their hopes up. 

As expected, the Sunday hunt was slow…same with Monday morning. After a quick break for lunch, the guys headed back out to the stand as the mercury touched 78 degrees. Again, not much was moving until Brandon caught a glimpse of antlers 120 yards away. Through his Leupold binoculars, Justin confirmed that it was indeed a mature buck. The good news was the deer was upwind from them. The bad news was he was walking away. 

A couple quick grunts from Justin and curiosity took over. The buck spun around and made a bee line for their position. 

At 28 yards and intently looking in Justin’s direction for the rival he thought he heard, the buck stopped broadside. Justin came to full draw on his PSE X-Force and recalling the conversations back in camp on how frequently these deer jump the string, held a little low. The buck didn’t duck and the Rage Extreme hit lower than Justin intended. After a 30 yard dash, the deer paused to lick his wound. 

It took Justin a second to process what had happened, that the hit was questionable, and that the deer was still in range. A quick confirmation from his Leupold range finder put the deer at 57 yards. 

Justin loaded another arrow, this time tipped with a Rage Hypodermic (he only had one Rage Extreme in his quiver to start the hunt), took a breath and lined up another shot. There was no doubt the second arrow was lethal because after a 75 yard run, the buck dropped to the ground. 

Though the weather wasn’t initially favorable, Justin knew what was coming and capitalized on the front. He also knew that a hunt isn’t over until you’ve laid hands on your trophy…and that sometimes takes a follow-up arrow. 

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.