SECRET SPOT Comes Through for Tennessee Hunter

By Chad Jones, with his brother, Ben

 The weather was perfect for an early-fall evening bow-hunt. I had been sitting in my treestand for a couple of hours, imagining a deer walking into one of my shooting lanes. “If he just steps behind this tree, I can draw on him,” I thought. You have a lot of time to think when you’re sitting in a tree overlooking your food plots.
Conditions were good, but I had not seen anything — except about one million squirrels. About 30 minutes before dusk, however, the woods lit up with action. I was 100 percent tuned in to the sounds around me.

Do you know how you hear something and know it’s a deer? Just then, a doe came through, and she was obviously being pursued by a love-struck buck. A few minutes later, I saw a spike and a 4-pointer. The spike made his move on the doe but was rejected. The deer moved out of sight, and I started to sit back down in my stand. All of the sudden, I heard some leaves rustling behind me. There he was! My heart started beating out of my chest. I heard myself breathing and tried to close my mouth to muffle the sound. It was the biggest deer I’d ever seen in the woods, and he was coming right at me. To add to the drama, he had a companion—another buck slightly smaller, but still a monster. I was already standing, and I could feel my knees shaking. I tried to focus on staying still.

I have two Secret Spot food plots planted close to my treestand, and I was praying the bucks would come to these. I tried to reel myself back in and focus on a possible shot. Still, I couldn’t get my legs to stop shaking, and then my hands started shaking as I held my Mathews bow. The bigger buck was moving toward my Secret Spot food plot, just as I imagined. I thought about getting ready to draw, but the deer was angled slightly away from me and could have busted my movement. Just then, I heard some noise in the woods behind me. I slowly turned my head to look back and saw another doe coming down the hill. “Not now!” I thought. The buck looked up to see the source of the noise, and I was sure he would see me. Luckily, he didn't seem bothered by the doe. He put his head back down to eat in the Secret Spot food plot, which let me draw my bow. One more step to the right, and I'd have a perfect shot.

He took that step and squared up. At that moment, I felt rock solid. “Look at your sights, not the rack,” I thought I squeezed the trigger on my release and watched my arrow disappear behind his shoulder. What a rush! It was a perfect shot, and I was almost surprised I had made it. I knew then that I had him. Of course, the big buck ran down hill — a big hill. I sat down in my treestand so I didn’t pass out. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I wanted to get to the deer as soon as possible, but I knew I needed to wait a bit. I climbed down from my stand and walked back to the house to get my wife. I wanted her to be with me when I found the buck. That was the most incredible moment I've experienced in bowhunting. My wife and I walked down the hill, following a fantastic blood trail. The deer only made it about 100 yards. I can’t tell you how great I felt when I saw him there. I guess I don’t have to. I think you know what I mean. I started counting the points, just like they do on the hunting shows. I used to make fun of that. But at that moment, I just sat and stared at my buck.