Ratley ended up arrowing both deer in consecutive days last November
Drew Ratley has been deer hunting his whole life, but he never experienced three magical days quite like he did last November at the height of the rut in Red River Parish.
The 29-year-old bowhunter not only got to witness an 8-point buck breeding, but he got to listen to the battle that ensued between that deer and a big non-typical who came over to investigate the doe for itself.
And to cap it off, Ratley arrowed each of those bucks over the following two days, and even located half of the non-typical buck’s rack that was sheared off in the fight he had witnessed between the two deer.
“You don’t understand the feeling I had when I killed both of them,” said Ratley, of Shreveport. “It was the most special two days of hunting ever.”
It all started on the frigid, windy morning of Nov. 11 a little after 8 with Ratley positioned in his climber high up in a white oak tree overlooking Loggy Bayou, when a big doe came running through the swamp behind him.
“I knew a buck was on her tail, I just didn’t know which one,” he said. “Turned out, the 8-point was right on her tail, and the doe just stopped and gave in, I guess. So he mounted her and started breeding.
“That’s never happened before in my life. It was crazy.”
But things got even crazier when a 4-point and a spike came out to investigate a few minutes later.
“The 8-point jumped off and started chasing them and running them off,” he said. “Then out of nowhere, I look behind me in this thicket and it’s the non-typical buck. He’s breathing hard, snort-wheezing and ready. The 8-point started walking to me, and they both ended up behind a bush.”
The doe stayed put grazing, and Ratley said the two bucks started battling behind him just out of view.
“All of a sudden, I just hear them lock up. They’re going at it, like crazy fighting,” he said. “All I could hear was antlers crashing, leaves, just a big commotion. It was something.”
The five-minute battle ended without Ratley getting a shot, so he headed back the next morning to see if one of the bucks would return.
“I’m sitting there about 8:15, and here comes the 8-point walking in front of me with his head down,” he said.
Ratley didn’t waste any time, and his 2 1/2-inch Rage mechanical broadhead found its mark, and the big buck bolted only 20 yards before crashing into a tree.
“He was running so fast he hit a cypress knee, and his back feet flew up in the air and he landed up against a cypress,” he said.
The following day, he headed back to the same spot, but he was worried about the big non-typical buck avoiding the area.
“I was scared because of the 8-point I had just killed the day before,” he said. “There was blood everywhere. I was worried about him smelling blood.”
But the buck appeared anyway about 9:15 that chilly Thursday morning, with a surprise look for Ratley.
“He stepped out of nowhere and stands up and his whole right side is completely busted off,” he said. “I was so disappointed. He came down that same draw with his head down.”
Above a gusty wind, Ratley grunted to try to get the big deer to stop for a shot. Later aged at about 7 years old, the buck was missing half its teeth, he said.
“I don’t know if he was so old he was deaf or what,” he said. “I kept grunting but couldn’t get him to stop. And I was getting loud. Finally, he stopped and turned quartering to me.”
Ratley took the 30-yard shot with his Hoyt, and both bucks he had seen battling over the same doe just two days earlier were down for good.
“Those two deer were on my hit list,” he said.
Although the right side of the big non-typical buck’s rack was gone, Ratley found it later where the two deer had fought over the doe.
“I didn’t see them right off the bat. I was kicking leaves and stuff, and there was his other side,” he said. “It was unbelievable. It was a clean break – it just snapped them right clean off.”
Both bucks are being mounted together, but the big non-typical’s rack won’t be repaired for the wall.
“He was the king of the woods for a long time,” Ratley said. “That’s how he went down, and that’s how his days ended.
“That’s how his horns are go to be, right there beside him.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.