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The 8:00 Buck
By Dan Infalt

There was this old man I used to work with named Bill. He lived most of his life in the Wisconsin North woods. He was a joy to work with cause he was an old trapper and hunter who had hundreds of stories to tell. I could trust him with my hunting secrets and he would keep his mouth quiet. I was having a bad year and kept telling Bill how I wasn't seeing the big bucks I had scouted earlier in the year.

Bill drove past one of the main farms I hunt every day on his way to work, and started telling me of a large 10 pointer he was seeing every morning in an open area on the back of the farm. He said the buck was crossing the road from south to north and every morning at 8AM there he would be, on one side or the other heading onto "my" farm.

It sounded good, in theory, however, I figured he was seeing a smaller buck than he described. There were no trees to setup in where he was seeing this buck anyway. So I just kept hunting the other side of that farm and was seeing nothing but small bucks. I had it in the back of my mind to go over there and check out Bill's suggestion that I whack the eight o'clock buck, but just never made it over there with chasing other leads.

Pretty soon early bow season was just about over and gun season was about to start. I told Bill how frustrated I was about not getting onto any nice bucks, and he laid into me. "You're frustrated!" screamed Bill. "I have been telling you to go hunt that dang 10 point all season and you just sit on the other side of the woods! He was out there again this morning and the morning before!!" I gave a sorry excuse about there being no trees over there and he just looked at me over his glasses and said, "You want me to go kill um for ya?"

That evening I went over to where the old man had claimed the big buck was crossing the road. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. There where huge tracks everywhere going back and forth. I looked at the landscape and found a spot where there was a dip in the grassy terrain where I could dig a hole in the ground and shoot down the dip without being detected.

Now that bow season was over, I let that spot cool down and went to some great opening weekend haunts. Nothing but little bucks were seen and pretty soon the 9 day gun season was coming to a close.

I stopped by the shop even though I was on vacation and asked Bill if he still had been seeing the eight o'clock buck. "Yep", he said, "every morning."

The last morning of the gun season found me in the hole waiting for my buck. Just as the sun was starting to crest the horizon, here he came. I could hardly believe my eyes. The huge buck's 8-point rack was over 2 feet wide. He had short tines and looked to be so old his antlers were going downhill. As he passed by within easy bow range, I shot him cleanly with my 12 gauge.

Monday morning I went into the shop and proudly get Bill. I handed him a 12 pack of beer and said come out and see what I got. Bill comes out side and says, "Nice buck."

So I say, "Well don't you recognize him?"

Bill says, "Nope that isn't the buck I have been seeing! The eight o clock buck is a ten pointer not an 8 point, and he is high and tight, this one's low and wide. Besides, I saw the eight o'clock buck crossing the road 20 minutes ago on my way here!"

I was stunned when Bill explained to me this was NOT the 8:00 buck!

This news floored me. Could there be two bucks going though that crossing? I had shot the wide eight pointer at 1st light, over an hour earlier than Bill was seeing the eight o'clock buck cross. The buck ran out into the field and died where I just picked it up with the truck, so I didn't scent up the area.

The next day when Bill came in and announced he had seen him again, that was the last I could take! Opening morning of late bow season found me once again in the hole. At sun up a few does and a small buck came by, but no sign of the 10 pointer. One hour after daylight, here he came, on the exact trail the wide buck had used. As he passed by at 10 yards I zipped an arrow through his lungs. I looked at my watch, 8:00 AM!!

This time Bill came out of the shop and said, "THAT'S THE BUCK!!!! You owe me another 12 pack!"
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