New Jersey Buck Down

NJ Buck Down

I have been hunting the public lands of New Jersey for 8 years now and through that time, I have been able to harvest some great deer. This year was no exception.

img_3362We usually time our trip for the end of October and beginning of November for a few reasons. First, it allows us to hunt 2 different bow seasons, which allows us 2 buck tags. The second, based upon my experience of hunting during the pre-rut period, it can be very exciting, with bucks laying down a lot of sign and responding well to calls.

We struggled this year with daylight encounters due largely in part with the state of New Jersey just finishing up their first archery season for black bears. Due to all the excess hunting pressure, deer were sticking close to thick cover and not moving much in daylight. My persistence payed off on the morning of the 29th, when I had hung a stand on a ridge top that had a large saddle running over it.

The acorn crop was very spotty this year and finding a tree that was producing nuts was the key. This spot had it all, acorns, cover, water and the saddle in the ridge was covered in rubs with scrapes starting to show up. I saw deer every time I hunted that stand, I had a good entrance and exit, leaving minimal scent and didn’t bump deer coming or going. The morning of the 29th was the coldest morning of the trip. The truck’s readout showed 26 degrees, and it was also the first clear morning with absolutely no wind.

img_3340I dressed light for the walk up the steep ridge to the stand and was settled in about 30 minutes before light. As I waited for shooting light, a flock of turkeys came down from their roost. The way they were gobbling and strutting once they hit the ground made it feel like Spring. After the turkeys made their way out of sight, I saw a buck cruising by the stand about 80 yards away, walking through the saddle and headed for some bedding cover to my north. I quickly reached for my doe bleat and gave a few calls. He locked up and stood there, listening. I gave one more bleat and he flicked his tail, turned my way and headed straight toward the stand!

I put the call away, drew back my Hoyt Carbon Defiant Turbo and prepared for the shot which I knew was just seconds away. He was 40 yards, then 30, 20 and then he turned broadside to walk around a small blowdown at just 15 yards from the base of the tree.


The green pin on my SpotHogg sight was burning a hole on his side. He stopped for a brief second and the arrow was on it’s way. The Easton Full Metal Jacket blasted through both lungs and was stuck in the ground beyond him in a flash. The buck lunged forward and almost ran into the base of my tree.

His death run was short and sweet, and I watched him pile up just 20 yards on the other side of the stand. It was an awesome hunt and a cool looking buck that I'll never forget. Man, do I love bow hunting!



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