The Big 7 NYE Buck

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Wannabelikedan
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The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Wannabelikedan » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:40 pm

Since the last week of November, buck sightings had been very scarce. I had one sighting on December 16 that resulted in a blown shot on a giant bodied bully 8. Historically, I’ve struggled to find mature bucks in late season having never killed a mature buck beyond the rut.
Racking up eventless sits, I tried embracing what I’ve learned on this forum and started scouting for the hottest sign and pushing deeper to suspected bedding than earlier in the season. I actually went 3 consecutive hunts and never put a stick on a tree. There is virtually no ag around this WMA and the acorns have been cleaned up since mid October. Through my scouting I found some cool season green browse that had been picked over pretty good. Taking note that this browse was growing near the willow edges of dried up slews I decided to dial in on areas similar but further from pressured areas. Here is a pic of the unknown browse. I’ve tried to searching its name with no luck yet.
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With a heavy artic front dropping temps in the mid 20’s and a decent wind for cover, I decided to still hunt and scout my way back to a bedding area I hunted back in mid November. This bedding is an isolated growth of box elder maples and horsetail reed. It butts up on the backside of a large slew with overgrown buttonbush thickets around the edges. The horsetail creates great thermal cover and I assume they also browse on it to some extent.

Here is a view from the stand back in November on the edge of this bedding. It’s wide open riverbottom I’m facing with bedding to my left and right just out of frame. They both come to a 90 here with a main trail leading out.
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Scouting the southern edge of the large slew, I met a doe and fawn making their way out of the buttonbush. Mama quickly locked on to me and they bounded back in. Moving on, I followed some moderately used trails, but decided to abandon them when they lead away from my destination. Slowly approaching the southern edge of the destination bedding from the SE, I wasn’t finding any new trails. As soon as I got within bow range of the trail I sat during the rut, I heard steps coming out my way. I kneel and knock an arrow when one doe appeared followed by 3 more. By the time I could see the 4th doe, the first 2 were eyeballing me hard at about 25 yards. I could hear another deer behind the 4th and I just had a feeling it would be a buck lingering so far behind.
Seconds later, a very grey face appears sporting a set of tall dark tines and instantly it was game on. I didn’t think I had any chance though with no back cover and does already on my case. The does started retreating slowly back the way they came with the buck but just out of sight. A few moments later, they start trickling back through but they’re just inside some thicker stuff on the edge of the willows. The does get passed me and I was waiting for the gig to be up with an occasional easterly gust ruining it. Finally, the buck appears and I noticed one opening for a shot that all the does crossed edging around me. I’m trying to decipher if it’s really as far as it appears. Taking into account I’m kneeling, I decide if he’s more than 40 it’s not by much. The buck goes behind some willows and I take the chance to draw. He must’ve seen me because it nearly takes a minute for him to clear but eventually he does and he’s in the lane. I stop him and take my time holding the 40 pin right behind the shoulder and I touch it off. From my view, I thought the shot was trekking low and the buck takes a step to bolt as the arrow gets to him. He runs off with the does and they all disappear into the buttonbush thicket around the dried up slew. From my vantage, I thought I missed low but also thought I heard a hit before the woods blew up. I give it a bit to let things calm down and some pigs come from where the deer originally did. Kind of figured that was the reason why the does came back after retreating the first time. I head over to find my arrow with little hope of finding it. I find it buried in a downed willow covered in green/brown slime. Check my yardage from the point of impact with my rangefinder and figure he was 40 yards on the dot. I give it another 45 minutes before I back out and get around where all the deer went into and head back to the truck.
I had already went through this dilemma once in November and knew automatically I’d need help finding this one. Bad blood is extremely difficult to follow where the buck went in and figured my odds would be best with a dog to make a recovery. Grid searching would be very low odds with visibility being under 20 yards. I contacted a tracking dog service and set up to meet as soon as I could the next day which would be around 11. I didn’t think the buck would make it to daylight but there was no threat of spoilage with temps not getting above 20. Regardless, much higher odds with a daylight recovery. Learned my lesson earlier this year.
We arrive on the scene about noon and start tracking at the shot site. The dog is used hog hunting but had made several successful recoveries earlier in the year on deer despite being young. The dog wasn’t really working the direction the deer went making many loops. I figured he wasn’t sure what he needed to be doing with the fresh hog scent in the area from the evening before. We walk him further down and the owner unleashed him to let him make loops deeper in the cover. Before long, the dog is a little over 300 and baying. We use the Garmin to go to him and find him over nothing and working back to us. Suddenly he bolts back to where we came from and bays again nearly 300 back the other way. Assuming he’s on hogs, we go to retrieve the dog and make it 50 yards back the way we came and run right into my buck piled up in some buttonbush.
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The dog had to have found him but decided on doing double work when he heard us working towards him :lol:. I mark the buck location on my phone and then spend an hour trying to get the dog off hogs with it’s owner. Eventually he makes it back and the guy helps me haul the deer out. He refused to take my money but I insisted he take some payment on dragging help.
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This was my first ever public land deer and first mature buck taken outside of the rut in true late season. He’s a true 7 point with about a ten inch brow on his right side. I guess him to be at least a 4.5 year old. He sported some pretty mean battle wounds. I did not get a picture of his feet (sorry JoeRE) but he had the biggest of any buck I’ve ever killed. Needless to say, this forum is game changing if you take the time to dig into the material and stay disciplined enough to follow through with it. At that, I can’t thank dan and everyone here for all that is shared. You’re generosity does not go an inch without appreciation.
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I cyberscouted this area and put boots on the ground back in the off-season. This was only the second time I made it back there all season. The blue is the boxelder maple and horsetail reed bedding. The horsetail is so thick that it’s clearly visible via aireal. Yellow is where the slew transition starts with the buttonbush lining the edge with willows marking the edge of the river bottom. The red is the bucks travel with X marking shot site and circle being the location of recovery. He covered a little over 300 yards before piling up. Green is my path circling out after the shot so I didn’t have any chance of bumping him. There is an open area in that slew so I figured that’s why he made the extra distance before bedding up properly with the wind. Black arrow is obviously wind direction.
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Boogieman1
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Boogieman1 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:53 pm

Great buck and even better write up! :clap:
There's more fun in hunting with the handicap of the bow than there is in hunting with the sureness of pulling the trigger.
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Dewey
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Dewey » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:04 pm

Great buck. Congrats. 8-)
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Wetfoot
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Wetfoot » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:52 pm

Stud buck. Congrats. :clap: :clap:
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jman22
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby jman22 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:15 pm

Great buck! Thanks for the writeup as well. Congrats!
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tgreeno
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby tgreeno » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:45 pm

Congrats on a great buck!
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Edcyclopedia
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Edcyclopedia » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:10 am

Spectacular! :clap:
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headgear
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby headgear » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:48 am

Awesome! :clap:
huntinsonovagun
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby huntinsonovagun » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:22 am

Awesome buck. You’ve had a great year. Heck of a buck, much less a public land buck! Like you, I struggle to get on deer after November. Glad to see you tagged out on bucks!! Congrats!
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Kokes » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:23 am

great buck and write up, congrats!
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Lockdown
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Lockdown » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:14 am

8-) great deer congrats!
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Jackson Marsh
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby Jackson Marsh » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:24 am

Congrats on a stud buck!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:
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wmahunter
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby wmahunter » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:28 am

nice great story
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PK_
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby PK_ » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:31 am

Jeez that is a stud.
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thwack16
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Re: The Big 7 NYE Buck

Postby thwack16 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:59 am

Heck of a buck man! Congrats!

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