This season, Garrett Hensley and his dad, Daniel, were hunting an Arkansas creek bottom just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. The two had recently gotten permission on the 650-acre parcel and were excited to hunt it for the first time on Nov. 29.
“We’d never hunted the farm before, so we didn’t have any tree stands up,” Garrett tells Outdoor Life. “But we had a few cameras out, so we knew we had some nice deer running around.”
After parking their truck, the pair split up. Garrett walked about a half mile down the creek and followed it until he saw the sign he was looking for: several trails intersecting with a small ditch and the creek itself. With the rut in full swing, Garrett figured there’d be a buck or two traveling through, so he settled onto a stool facing the creek and waited.
After about an hour, around 4 p.m., Garrett heard deer running on the far side of the creek. He picked up on the unmistakable sounds of a grunting buck and a blowing doe, and he could tell they were just out of sight.
“I texted my dad and told him I had a deer grunting across the creek from me, and [as soon as] I texted him, I saw a buck chasing a doe across the creek,” Garrett says. “Then they disappeared down into the creek bottom. I figured they were running straight at me.”
The deer were running straight at Garrett, but they were shielded from view by the creek bottom and a small rise. Garrett could only listen as the deer seemed to pass right by where he sat, his bow at the ready. Soon, the woods quieted and Garrett was left wondering where the deer had gone. Then, a few minutes later, he heard another deer running through the fallen leaves and readied himself for second encounter.
“There was a doe and a yearling out in front running as hard as they could with a buck behind them,” Garrett says. “About ten seconds after that, I heard a noise to my right and there was another buck. And then five seconds after that, I seen another buck chasing the doe.”
The three bucks, in hot pursuit of the doe, ran past Garrett at a dead sprint — all sporting racks that were well above average for the area. He grunted and tried to stop the deer, but as quickly as they’d reappeared, they vanished again.
“I texted my dad and said, ‘Holy crap, I just seen three of the biggest deer I’ve ever seen in a deer stand run by me.’ My dad told me he prayed I’d kill one if it was His will.’”
Garrett waited for his dad (left) before he recovered the two bucks. Photograph courtesy Garrett Hensley
Daniel’s prayer must have been heard. Soon after, Garrett watched the doe circle back toward him with the three bucks still on her heels.
“About five minutes later I [heard] the doe running. I just turned towards the sound and drew my bow back and got ready,” Garrett says.
The deer ran to 20 yards, and again, Garrett tried again to stop them with a grunt. It didn’t work, so he tried something else.
“I just yelled ‘HEY!’ and the doe stopped,” Garrett says. The lead buck, a 140-class 9-pointer, stopped just behind her. Garrett steadied himself and let an arrow loose. A few seconds later, the buck collapsed where it stood. Garrett couldn’t believe it. But he was about to get even luckier.
“I was fired up at this point, and then I hear something else running. I look to the right and, without even thinking, I get another arrow out just in case,” Garrett says. “I was thinking that the buck was gonna keep running and never stop and just keep chasing that doe. Well that buck stopped and locked horns with the deer I had just killed, and was trying to whip its ass.”
Garrett seized the opportunity. (Arkansas does not have a daily bag limit for bucks, but limits hunters to two bucks in most zones.) After waiting about 30 seconds at full draw for the big-bodied 7-pointer to turn broadside, he let another arrow fly. His second shot of the afternoon was just as well-placed as the first.
“He probably stood there for 30 seconds, then finally realized what had happened, I guess. He ran a ten-foot circle and came right back to the deer and started trying to fight that same deer again. He died right on top of him.”
The two bucks where they lay when Garrett and Daniel recovered them. Photograph courtesy Garrett Hensley
Having just experienced the wildest hunt of his life, Garrett looked at the two bucks piled on the ground but didn’t walk up to them just yet. Instead, he called his dad.
“He said, ‘Hey, what do you need? I got a deer grunting across the creek from me.’ I told him what happened and he said ‘I’m coming right now,’” Garrett says of their short conversation.
Garrett stood 20 yards away from the deer and waited. He may have dropped two beautiful bucks within seconds of each other, but he says he wasn’t about to recover them without his dad being there.
“We’re just really close, hunting together all the time. And for me to share that experience with my dad, I’ll probably never have a hunt that will ever touch it … It was incredible.”
The post Bowhunter Arrows Two Big Bucks in 2 Minutes, Watches Them Fall in the Same Spot appeared first on Outdoor Life.
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