The Whitetail Rut is a lot of fun. And last Wednesday was no exception. It was about 20 minutes until dark. I felt like I was in a good spot, but hadn’t seen a thing. Until off to my right I spotted a doe slowly moving down the trail. She wasn’t in a hurry. She was just meandering along. Normally, that would have been cool, but not overly exciting. At this point in my hunting journey, my freezer is still somewhat full, so does are not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a fairly mature buck.
I’m looking for a guy that’s been around a while. One who’s lived through multiple hunting seasons. A guy that’s stayed alive by knowing when to lay low and proceed with caution. To be able to kill that kind of deer with a bow on heavily pressured public land takes a ton of work, patience, and skill. That’s my goal this fall.
There’s one time during the year that it gets a little easier. It’s called The Rut. The Whitetail Rut. That’s when the does are in heat and ready to breed. And those bucks get freaking crazy. They have one thing on their mind, and it ain’t food, sleep, or safety. They’re looking to breed some ladies. Imagine a bunch of 18-year-old guys running around the woods. Except with antlers.
In Kentucky, the whitetail rut is in full swing. So when I saw that doe coming down the path, my heart rate jumped a notch. But I didn’t see anything behind her. Within a few seconds, I heard a loud “crunch” from the heavy thicket on my right. It kept moving forward toward the path that the doe was on. I knew what it was before I could even see it.
After a few minutes of slow, methodical crunching forward with multiple stops in between, the buck’s head appeared over the thicket. He was a beauty. A nice, wide eight-pointer. Clearly a mature dude. My heart was pounding.
The doe stopped to wait for him. He was locked on her. She went back to him for a second, then returned to the trail right in front of me. She was 20 yards away. A perfect shot. I just needed her to move on and the buck to follow.
She did just as I needed. She moved on down the trail slowly. The buck snorted and wheezed at her. He sniffed around. Light was escaping. I had about five minutes until shooting light ended and darkness set in. He stood up and moved toward my shooting lane. I need him to take about five more steps.
But he never did. He stayed back. The doe went back and forth, almost trying to tantalize him. He never followed. I don’t think he caught my wind. Maybe the doe wasn’t quite ready. Maybe he wasn’t. I’ll never know. Darkness came. I waited a bit, then slowly and quietly backed out and walked out of the woods with my son.
The Love of Women Will Make You Stupid
That buck survived that night because he didn’t chase the girl. There’s a lesson in there for us.
The Apostle Paul told his student, Timothy, that “the love of money is the root of all evil“. There’s a corollary that is nearly as true: “the love of women will make you stupid.”
There’s no stronger force on earth than a man’s sex drive. And it has toppled even the greatest men throughout history. Affairs, pornography, sex addiction. Whatever. It has taken down many men. Usually because they did something stupid.
So, if we’re going to thrive, it must be controlled. Most of the dumbest things we’ve done as men are the result of trying to get some woman. It may not cost our life, but it may cost our family, our job, or our reputation.
That buck was playing with fire last week. He was about to step out from his safe place and risk it all for that doe. He didn’t. And he lived to see another day. But if he keeps playing with that fire, he will get burned. I’m counting on it.
That’s a great reminder to us all. Don’t let that hottie at the office, the gym, or on social media tempt you to do something stupid. The fire may not burn you the first time. Or the second. Or the third. But it will eventually. It will lull your defenses. It will convince you that there’s no harm. And it will burn you.
Our sex drive is a wonderful thing. But it must be channeled. Harnessed. And unleashed only in the proper circumstances.
Understand that you are susceptible. Keep your mind strong. And, of course, if that buck steps out from the cover, put an arrow in him.
This is the man’s life. It ain’t easy. But it’s beautiful. Godspeed.