by Rex Holmes, Jr
By Rex Holmes, Jr. inventor of The Vapor Maker and scent authority
It was January 2010 when I decided to embark on a hunt on public land in Mississippi. This hunt included a walk-in of about a 1 mile with 2 hills to climb that I’m sure were as big as Wolverton Mountain. Believe it or not, we do have some big hills and gullies in Mississippi. Needless to say if you go hunting at this particular spot you are not looking at getting a small deer. If you kill a deer here you are looking at 4-5 hours to get him out of the woods.
Because of all the gear – like my tree stand – I had to tote into the woods with me, I didn’t take the video camera. After the walk in with all my stuff I was soaking wet with sweat even though it was a cool day.
The tree I was climbing was a sycamore about 20” in diameter, straight and tall. It was located right at the base of a big hill where 3 ridges came down to a swampy area. The water was about 50 yards out in front of me. I put the stand on the tree facing straight to the west toward the water.
The wind was out of the SE and about 5 yards to the right of me was a switch cane thicket about 6 feet by 4 feet and about 6 feet tall. When I came to the tree, I came in from the east using The Vapor Maker to spray Doe-N-Heat as I came. I sprayed the bushes out in front of the stand using the Vapor Maker and thought, “what the heck, I might as was well spray the switch cane.” When I finished, I climbed up into the stand and got all settled in.
In a few minutes I looked out to my right to the NW and saw a buck coming toward me. I could tell he had plenty of horn, but it just didn’t look right. He was walking into the wind on a trail coming out of the swampy area. He came straight to my stand and walked right in front of me at about 10 yards. He was about 14” wide with plenty of horn, but it was like he had an extra main beam on the right side. There was 3 points that came out of the right side that looked like a shovel on a caribou. I got my phone out and took a picture as he walked by. He turned and headed straight for the swampy area and I thought he was gone. I looked up and he was coming straight back to the tree looking and smelling everywhere. He walked back to my left, then went to the ridge about 30 yards away to rub on a small sapling. Pretty soon he came back around in front of the tree and finally went on out to the swampy area and left. I have never been a fan of deer with messed up horns and had only seen one deer uglier than this one. I could have shot him probably 10 times over, but with messed up horns he wasn’t worth hauling out of the woods.
I settled back in and about 15 minutes later I heard a deer in the thicket to the right and behind me. I stood up (mostly because I was tired of sitting) and faced so I could see down into the thicket. It was a spike walking straight toward the switch cane. I was standing watching him come to me when suddenly he made a u-turn and went the other way. I just stood there, totally puzzled, and watched him go up the ridge. I was certain he didn’t know I was there. That’s when I heard something to my left coming down the same path the messed-up horn deer came. He was coming straight at me and because my attention had been on the spike he was already within 10 yards of the tree when I saw him.
He had his head straight up in the air and I can’t believe he didn’t see me. He had to have had his mind on that Doe-N-Heat. He walked up to the switch cane – head up in the air slinging his head from side to side. I’m standing looking at him – a beautiful, perfect 10 pt with a nice set of brow tines, about 6” G2’s; but only 13“ wide. I’m thinking he isn’t big enough, but it would be the first deer I would have killed with a bow and arrow while using The Vapor Maker.
I’m thinking what a hard job it will be to get him out of here and asking myself if it is worth it. So, I make a bargain with myself. I decide if he gives me a perfect quartering away shot that I’m going to shoot him. He finally lowers his head out of the switch cane for just a moment. I slowly pick up my bow and hook on my release. I have to say it was probably one of those God things, because he just turned, quartering away and stopped dead in his tracks as if to say go ahead and shoot. I drew back the Mathews and put that pin right behind the last rib and released. That arrow went behind the back rib and straight through the heart. I watched him go no more than 20 yards and it was all over with.
I thanked God for a perfect hunt that day, I just wished he’d come down and help me get that 10 pt out of the woods.