Broadheads Are Not Bullets

Before you call your local T.I.P. hotline to report me for pursuing whitetails before opening day, you should know I’ve traveled to North Dakota, and this more often than not the state's archery opener lands in August!

Not only am I lucky to have this tall-tined trophy within bow range of my pop-up ground blind, but he’s still in velvet. He’ll shed it soon—almost certainly within the week—but exactly when is impossible to predict.

I’ve always wanted to tag a velvet buck, and this shot opportunity is super tempting. One of my buddies who lives in NoDak patterned this summertime buck on a neighbor’s land, and he placed the blind 2 weeks ago and brushed it in to look like a round hay bale. This 5x4 is oblivious to our presence; he’s simply looking back at other members of his bachelor group as they enter the field.

Yes, a perfectly placed broad-head at the base of the buck’s neck and between the front legs would be quickly lethal. But am I skilled enough to pull it off? No way. Truth is, I’m shaking like a leaf with excitement, and while my chances of hitting the buck somewhere are 99.9 percent, my chances of hitting the baseball-sized kill zone from 28 yards are much lower.

I force myself to ignore the velvet crown—yeah, right!—and wait for a broadside shot. My buddy, who has two velvet trophies on his wall, is grinning ear to ear, enjoying the fact that this buck is tying my guts in a knot. He just mouthed the word “wait,” giving me confidence I’ve made the correct call.