LAKE, W.Va. — Although West Virginia bow hunters are eagerly waiting on the rut, for Jordan Hayes of Lake, West Virginia the hay is in the barn.
“A dream come true,” is how he described his hunt in a September 28th post on Facebook.
Hayes gripped the massive antlers of an eight point buck and couldn’t believe what he was holding. The giant Logan County monster had showed himself in the first few days of bow season at a time Hayes would have never dreamed of such success.
“This was the first year I had seen him, but he was my target buck this year. I got him in late August on camera at night and maybe in the span of a month and a half I got about six pictures and only one was in the daytime. He was a nocturnal buck,” Hayes said in a conversation for West Virginia Outdoors.
So Jordan didn’t have a whole lot of faith the early season would present an opportunity to shoot this monster he had been after. He was slow to get to his stand that day, and his hunting buddies took full advantage of his tardiness with some well placed ribbing.
“Even my dad and everybody was giving me a hard time,” he laughed.
He finally climbed into his stand around 3;30 in the afternoon. Friends couldn’t give him too much grief, only days earlier he had started off the archery season killing a bear on the stalk.
“I was actually going out that morning to do more scouting for deer. I was just spot stalking. I thought maybe it was a doe and I could fill my doe tag, but it was a bear. He never saw me. I shot him at 35 yards over a bank and he never saw me. I’d have never ever thought I could kill a bear like that,” he said.
But even with a bear tag filled, Jordan admitted his confidence in this day wasn’t high. However, it was an active day. A couple of small bucks and a doe wandered in, but the doe looked him up, snorted, and scattered them all away. About 45 minutes later, a small 8-point, a good 7-point, and a doe wandered in.
“I’m standing up because I’m getting ready to leave. I hear something to the right of me and I’m thinking it’s that doe again and she’s about to pick me off. But when I looked over I see this deer raise his head up with his antlers and I said, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s him! That’s the one!” he explained.
The massive deer stood statue still for 15 minutes as the shooting light began to trickle away.
“He finally moved his head behind a tree so I could grab my bow off the hanger, but where he stood all I could see was his head and tail there were no vitals open for a shot,” he said.
With daylight almost gone, the buck moved a couple of steps into the open, giving Jordan just enough time to let the arrow fly. Then, the waiting began.
“My mind was playing tricks with me, I started thinking maybe I didn’t hit him good,” he laughed.
After an agonizing hour or so wait, with more than a healthy dose of self doubt about the shot placement, the tracking began.
“We came back and started tracking the blood trail up the hill and he was just pouring, then it stopped as it turned down hill. We shined a light and you could see his horns sticking up from behind a log,” he said.
The massive buck was an eight pointer with three kickers off the side. Coupled with a bear, it’s already been quite a year for Jordan.
“These are the moments I never take for granted. I sure am one blessed man, no matter the outcome, any day in the woods is a good day,” he said.