It was the third day of my suburban hunt. My buddies and I arrived for an afternoon hunt in an area, which had a very obvious browse line, with no herbaceous layer. Trails intersected the area in a random mosaic pattern with many of the trails a deep as well-worn cattle paths. Even though the area had some good bucks, the number of scrapes and rubs was not impressive.
As we scouted our immediate area, my buddy Tommy located a freshly raked scrape less than 30 yards from where he wanted me to set up my tree stand. The stand was along a vegetation line within 100 yards of two suburban houses. With my back to a paved road and the wind in my face, I suddenly had that special feeling something was going to happen.
Within two hours a 15-inch eight point showed up at twenty yards. Even though he was a shooter under our quality deer management plan I wanted something bigger. As he turned and walked away I noticed a three-inch kicker point coming off his right antler. Anxiety started to surface as I started to question my decision to let him go . . . so he could grow. As it turned out, my decision was correct.
Another thirty minutes passed and a doe showed up along the same trail. I was trying to figure out where to shot, when another real wall hanger" buck showed up behind her. Both deer were walking away from me at an acute angle. With one soft grunt the buck angled toward me. At 20 yards he really became interested in my "secret lure." This consisted of a skinned, penal sheath and scrotum of the six-point buck Koons had shot earlier in the morning. After hanging it up in a sapling we actually sprayed the "family jewels" with buck urine.
How did we come to think of something so unorthodox? Recently, biologists at the University of Georgia discovered what they call the "preputial gland,” located in a buck's penal sheath. Dr. Karl Miller describes the preputial as "clusters of elongated sebaceous glands associated with very long hairs that extrude from the penal sheath." Although, their function is not fully understood, some believe it helps bucks obtain a rutting odor.
With this in mind, I removed the penis and testicles from Koons’ buck and hung the skinned penal sheath and scrotum in a nearby tree. Following the doe, the buck abruptly stopped and changed his course. He walked over to me like someone was pulling him in on a string and stopped at 15 yards, and started licking my "secret" organs. It seemed as if everything was in slow motion, as my arrow found its mark and lodged into the ground. The buck jumped and then slowly walked over to the doe which had not moved. Evidently, he did not know he was mortally wounded. Suddenly, he ran a bit and crumpled with 35 yards of my treestand.
I stayed in my stand another two hours - in hopes of shooting a doe - but didn't see another deer. As usual, I said my hunter's prayer for the magnificent animal and proceeded to count 11 points. Since our landowner obligations about not field-dressing any deer due to dogs and unpleasant odors, I dragged the buck down the hill toward the road and waited for Koons.
As I stood over the animal I noticed the buck was blind in one eye from fighting and had several scars over his head and neck. I aged him at 3 1/2 years-old and later weighed him in at 230 pounds with a 29-inch neck. He also had a bout with pneumonia as the scarring of lung tissue indicated. The buck didn't have anything in its stomach and hardly any fat left. Undoubtedly, he was running all over the area doing his "manly" duty of perpetuating his gene line. The buck also meant a lot to me because it was the first deer I had harvested with a double white, throat patch.