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DeerCast predicted great hunting for November 6, 2018, and Cody responded. He played a serious game of cat-and-mouse with a buck he had aptly named “Junkie.”

Sirek’s intriguing story began during the 2016 bow season, when he first laid eyes on Junkie. He logged dozens of trail cam photos of the elusive buck and managed one encounter. But, what Sirek soon discovered was that he was about to embark on the longest game of cat mouse of his bowhunting career with a grand old buck.

DeerCast predicted that November 6, and a couple of days beyond, would be great deer hunting. Sirek jumped at the opportunity to be in his blind.

Sirek began his hunting day extra early, arriving at his blind two hours before daylight. “That may seem unusual,” he said, “but I had to drive right by the spot where deer would come out. I simply needed to allow any deer I spooked to have time to settle back down.”

Sirek climbed into his blind, on the edge of a pasture, full of confidence. Behind him lay a cedar covered hillside where a trio of mature bucks had been bedding. East of his blind a small creek bed met an oak flat, which connected to a ridge where does bedded down regularly. The road leading into the property lay to the north. Across the road another big oak flat sprawled out to the banks of big river.

Sirek set up in his blind between a big oak flat and an agricultural field 800 hundred yards away. His target bucks continually cruised back and forth between the two habitat types. His latest MRI information showed that the bucks were beginning to travel to the creek and oak flat where the does hung out, and then travel to the cedar bluff behind his blind.

Trail camera photos from as far back as 2016 helped Sirek make his plans. He elected to put out a doe decoy on November 6. He’d had several encounters with two other shooter bucks, one called “The Gate 8,” and one he dubbed “Head Strong.” When he discovered that both of those bucks became skittish when they heard a buck grunt, or saw a buck decoy, he knew that Junkie was the dominant buck.

The morning Sirek crawled into his ground blind dawned cold and windy. Winds had been calm in the morning and reaching 20-30mph about 9 a.m. He gambled, hoping that the wind would lay enough to allow him to catch a buck moving to the bedding area. The wind, however, was not correct for hunting the oak flat in the morning.

No deer moved by Sirek’s blind, but he could see deer movement down in the oak flat. At 10:30 he decided to move a tree stand deeper into the flat, from a position 50 yards away. He worked slowly to get the stand up, because he could still see deer moving through the area. One of the bucks he had seen from the ground blind was the “Gate 8.”

By 11:30 the stand was set and Sirek climbed in for the day. At 2 p.m. a mature 4x4 cruised by at 50 yards. Sirek cast a few doe bleats, but the buck continued east. Several does filtered through the area, but without followers, other than a couple of small bucks. Minutes later a doe came by and bedded 25 yards away.

About 3p.m. the “Gate 8,” showed himself again, traveling from east to west. He ignored a nearby doe but continued down a trail that would bring within 20 yards of Sirek’s stand. “I decided to take the buck, since I had so much history and encounters with him,” Sirek said. “When the buck reached 20 yards, I stopped him and executed the shot. I missed!”

Heartbroken, Sirek continued his sit. He’s just missed a 150-class 4x4, and as all bowhunters would, he replayed the shot over and over in his mind. In the meantime, the action had slowed with only a few does and small bucks passing through the area.

Around 5p.m. Sirek looked up on the cedar ridge, where he had hunted that morning. He spotted a doe accompanied by Junkie. He swung his camera around to lay down some footage, all the while observing the buck’s demeanor, from 300 yards away.

A couple of renegade cows had escaped from somewhere and came ambling across the pasture. They caught Junkie’s attention for a moment. “Then something changed,” Sirek said. “I tried some doe bleats and grunts, but he ignored them.”

Sirek went the aggressive route and hammered out a fight routine with aggressive grunts and rattling. He repeated the process and Junkie became interested. Sirek looked up and the buck was gone.

Sirek thought he had either spooked the buck, or it had caught his wind. Minutes went by before Junkie popped out of the wood line headed toward the blind where Sirek had been that morning. “I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched that buck walk past the blind at 5 yards,” Sirek said. “The buck continued walking, headed toward the road and the big Oak flat I was sitting.

Sirek turned the camera on himself to self-film a short piece about the buck heading his way. Junkie covered ground in a hurry, in response to the aggressive grunts Sirek had kept up, and popped out just 10 yards from the location Sirek had moved the tree stand from earlier.

The buck kept coming the distance and stepped over a cross fence where at tree had fallen across it. Junkie stopped at 40 yards, but Sirek passed on the shot, because the buck was moving steadily along.

Junkie passed directly in front of Sirek’s point-of-view cameras, laying down incredible footage. Sirek grunted again when the buck stopped. It began trotting away. Sirek feared he had spooked the buck, or it had caught his wind.

Sirek tried one last aggressive grunt, and caught movement. He knew Junkie was behind a cedar tree. He stepped out at 35 yards licking his nose and searching for the ruckus he had been hearing. The buck had come prepared to fight.

After not spotting a foe, Junkie turned straight away from Sirek, giving him the perfect opportunity to draw his bow. When he turned to the right, Sirek ended the game of cat and mouse and made a good shot. Junkie tipped over a mere 65 yards away.

“I became emotional,” Sirek admitted. “I arrowed one of the biggest bow bucks of my life and ended a three-year saga with a 170 6/8-inch, main frame 5x5, with 5 kicker points, Nebraska buck.          

           

Gear Used:

Muddy blind

Tactacam

Rage Hypodermic

PSE Inertia     

Nomad apparel

Outdoor Edge Razor Blaze

Ani-Logics supplement           

Leupold optics

- Bill Cooper