Nic Schaalma Buck
On the first morning of Nic Schaalma’s hunt at Heartland Lodge, veteran guide Mark Hively situated Nic in a tree stand in the downwind corner of a secluded, thick, brushy field. Nic’s morning started slowly until around 9:00, when a 2 ½ yr old 9 point came in on the downwind side of the thicket scent checking for does. Just a few minutes later, Nic heard a stick break behind him and slowly turned around. He was surprised to see a nice ten point buck walking directly down the trail that led past his stand at just 15 yards! Nic scrambled for his bow, and as he was pulling back, the buck had already walked through his first shooting lane. Nic tried to get the buck to stop with a few soft grunts, but the buck was on a mission. As the buck worked his way into Nic’s last shooting lane, he yelled “hey!” the buck abruptly stopped and looked directly up at him. Nic let the arrow fly; he could hear the arrow connect but couldn’t tell where at. The buck ran off slowly and stopped about 40 yards away. Nic knocked another arrow and took another shot but the arrow was deflected by a limb. When the buck heard the arrow pass he ran another 30 yards and stumbled into a brushy gas line cut out and bedded down.
Nic watched the buck strenuously through his binoculars. He would occasionally catch a glimpse of the deer raise his head and slowly lower it back down. After watching the buck repeat this a few times, Nic worried that he had hit the deer further back than anticipated. An hour had passed when Nic saw the buck lower its head and then heard a rustling sound that sounded like the buck may have expired or could have possibly slipped out of sight. After consulting with Mark, they decided it would be best to sit in the stand until later in the evening before trying to exit in fear of pushing the buck.
Later that evening around 4:00, Mark decided to glass the gas line cut out where Nic had last seen the buck. After a few minutes of glassing, Mark could make out the tips of a few tines on the brushy hillside. Unsure if the buck had expired or just bedded down, Mark opted to wait and watch for a few minutes. As he was observing, a doe, followed by a 160 inch class buck walked within just a few yards of Nic’s buck. Nic’s buck lay motionless. After waiting for eight long hours in the stand, unsure of the shot placement, Nic was relieved to finally be able to walk up to his buck.
Every deer hunter that has made a marginal shot knows the feeling of disgust after watching a big buck slip out of sight with a misplaced hit. Nic and Mark played it smart by waiting and not bumping the buck. Even though the buck probably expired an hour or so after the shot, it’s always smart to be patient and give a wounded deer plenty of time before tracking or in this case getting out of the tree stand. When you bump a wounded deer, especially a gut shot deer; they can run for miles before expiring often leaving no blood trail. The majority of the time and as in this case, a wounded deer will not travel further than a couple hundred yards from where he was shot. He’ll bed down and if not bumped, will expire. If you rush in to soon, chances are you’ll never see the deer again.
Congrats Nic on a beautiful Pike county buck!
Last Updated: November 24th, 2015