2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

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dan
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2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby dan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:29 am

Start sharing your stories and pictures for the 2017 Big Buck Contest HERE ~ IN THIS THREAD.

**** Please just post your buck stories and pics****
In other words, NO COMMENTS PLEASE!! They will be DELETED!


****As much as we love comments please save those for a different thread / post. That will make things much easier when we all come back here to go thru the posts for VOTING purposes later on****.


After the season, on a date not yet announced, we will invite the 500 club members of this site to vote on whom they feel should win the prizes.....

Voting will be based on the size of the buck, the hardness of the hunt, the hunters ethics, the weapon used, etc...

Please keep that in mind when telling your story. Although big bucks often win, in past years we have seen a young man whom shot a fork horn win, and a button buck shot by a foreigner who traveled all the way across the ocean to hunt our much celebrated whitetails.

So enter every buck you shoot if you like. If you shoot more than one and want to edit your story let me or a Mod know and we can help you with that. All buck deer legally taken are eligible regardless of species ( mule, whitetail, blacktail, etc. )

Good luck to everyone & Congratulations!!


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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Stanley » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:21 am

Killed the buck on the 5th at 5 PM. Waited until the next mourning to retrieve the buck just too dark and thick, to do much of anything. Got him home on the 7th of November, was hunting about 250 miles from home. This is the condensed version for those that don't like to read the longer version you can stop here.



This season as every season was different. I tried to get on a nice 15 point buck but just couldn't ambush him. I also had my eye on a really huge 8 pointer. No luck on that buck either. I did see the big 8 once but no shot too far.

Anyway I hunted hard and in my mind efficiently. 36 days it took to get it done. Did not hunt the same stand twice. I love to move around and sit different spots. Keeps the anticipation up.

I put up my XOP tree stand at 12:30 PM on the 5th of November. It was very windy just like I like it. Wind was from the NW. (20-25 mph I would guess) I set up on the down wind side of a doe bedding area. I couldn't get any bucks patterned so I switched to rut tactics.

I was on an oak flat with gullies to the NW and to the SW. My plan was to catch a buck trailing/chasing does to the oak flat I was on. I saw a couple of scrub bucks through out the day.

At 5:00 PM I saw a buck pushing a doe towards me. I kept my eyes peeled and saw another buck. Both looked pretty nice so I got my bow off the hook. They went by me at about 20 yards. One was an 8 pointer and the other was the 10 pointer. I decided I would pass them up.

I hung my bow back up on the hook. The 10 pointer then circles around and walks directly towards me. He gets right up to the tree and looks straight up at me. I thought well he's gone. Wrong!!! The 10 pointer then walks under the tree I'm in and stops quartering away at 15 yards.

Now I'm thinking he's looking better by the minute. So I got my bow off the hook (again) and drew back. I settled the pin on his vitals and thought “I need to aim farther back because he is quartering away”. I put the pin back about 6 inches, and squeezed the release.

The arrow penetrated right up to the vanes, “poleaxed”. The10 pointer takes off on a dead run. The 8 pointer runs after him just as hard. Both bucks head down the gully (SW) on an all out run. I can only see them for about 75 yards.

I gave it a half hr. I was 100% positive the buck was dead. I could find no blood wasn't any. I got about 50 yards down the gully and could see the 8 pointer walking around. He was waiting for the 10 point to run some more I guess?

I kind of kept going down slowly, it was dark by now and I had no blood to follow in the thick brush. The 8 pointer finally spooked and took off. I got up to where I last saw them from the tree stand. I could see nothing (just too thick and dark) so I decided to wait until mourning.

I went back the next mourning at first light and found the buck right away. Only went 20 yards farther than I last saw them. The 10 pointer died in stride and landed up under a cedar tree. He was laying dead right where the 8 pointer was walking around. If I would have another ½ hr of light the night before, I'm positive I would have found him that night.

I'll skip the drag out part, because if I leave out the curse words I didn't say much. :lol: :oops: :whistle:







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You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Jonny » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:37 am

Warning: Long story The actual hunt starts halfway down

Backstory of the hunt and why I am hunting here
All my life I have had the worst love hate relationship with gun season. From starting out in the northwoods in Oneida county, and never seeing a deer for 2 years, to hunting one of my best bow properties and having the entire 120 acres drove by 50 guys at 9 am opening day, to showing up to a seemingly great spot to find 8 campers and no room to park the truck. Somehow, I still get pumped up for it each year.

6 years ago I started hunting the same area my dad, grandpa, and great grandpa all cut their teeth hunting. Big woods in central Wisconsin. My first season I was very lucky to shoot my biggest buck to date and my first deer with the gun. It is currently a shoulder mount hanging on the fireplace in the cabin.
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I hunted that spot the next year, and missed out on a much bigger buck because I went in for lunch at noon like my family has always done. The next spring, that spot was logged. It was a point that sat about 20' higher than the river bottom. We called it the plateau, and it was a funnel for 3 trails that led out of the upper hardwoods down into the river bottom. Great spot that got lots of deer for us over the years. After that logging, my dad and I picked up and started hunting the next county over. Long story short, we only attempted 2 gun seasons there and left just due to the number of hunters in the area. Opening day, there were 8 campers, 14 trucks, 3 out of state SUV's, plus 4 members of my family. Do the math.

After that season, I told myself I was done hunting the hardwoods for gun season, and needed to start hunting where I wouldn't see other people. I honestly didn't care about seeing deer at that point. And that is what led me to hunting the river bottoms. My dad and uncle used to hunt the area 20+ years ago and did very well, but eventually stopped seeing deer and left to find greener pastures. The one thing that they said that really interested me, was they very rarely saw other hunters in the bottom. So, last season, I set my climber on the opposite side of a creek that nobody in my family ever crossed to hunt, and saw more deer than ever before during gun season and shot a respectable 6 point 2.5 yo buck.
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I was very happy with this buck, and it ended up being the only deer killed in my family/hunting group that year. But all off season, I kept asking myself if that buck was just a fluke and it was just my lucky day. Then I started to think about the spot, and remembered the group of does I saw opening day. I only got 2 glimpses of them, but enough to get an idea of where they were, and where they were heading to. So once I made my way up to the cabin, I started taking a couple hours on Sunday before heading home to scout the area I deep down, knew I needed to hunt. I took a lot of notes about the abundance of sign, and the terrain. I looked at why the does were traveling the way they did, and assumed they were pushed out from other hunters. They walked into a thicket I never really thought about before. The thicket didn't seem big enough to be a bedding area, but what it looked like to me, was it was more of a safe zone for the deer. Thick enough to hide for a bit and figure out where to go to survive.

Another note I made was the absurd terrain. Tons of gullies that could easily swallow up a deer and make them practically invisible to where I hunted last season. After 2 scouting trips down to that area, I picked a tree that would let me overlook the thicket, and at least be able to shoot anything that came out on my half of it. I also wanted to see if my buck last year was a fluke, so I made sure I could shoot back to the ridge I sat last year. That would be a very long shot for me, but doable.

The real curveball came when I was tasked with finding a spot for the family friend Kenny. Great guy, would give me the shirt off his back if I needed it. But just not a good hunter, and really would be lost if he had to find a spot for himself. So the monday before gun season, I cut my last bow hunt of the year short by an hour to go scout the area north of me. I picked out 2 spots I could put him. One was on a point looking south, covering any deer moving north to south. However, the sign just didn't support having him sit there. The second spot, on paper and judging by sign was much better than the spot I wanted to hunt and picked for myself. However, due to access issues (he couldn't cross the creek with me), I stayed in my spot and put him in the "better spot". I also knew there was a good chance I would be able to see him from my tree, but he could cover the northern half of that thicket, and shoot deer I probably would never see.

Topos and aerials just don't show the spot like it is. The detail isn't there. So here is a quick sketch of where my dad, kenny (labeled buddy) and myself sat, and also shows where my dad and I sat compared to last year.

Green dash is the access routes, black dash is the paths taken by the deer I personally saw. X inside a O is where I shot my deer, I'll have more on that in a bit. Sorry for the crudity of the picture and drawing. I'm an engineer, not an architect :lol:

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This spot is a very good gun spot. All I have to do is put the hours of stand time in, stay alert and ready, and I should see deer every year. Now this could all change with a single logging operation, or a huge cut in deer population, but I think I am set for gun hunting for awhile. I would like to cut out the 2nd stand, but would have a heck of a time covering the possible travel routes with only one guy.

So now onto the story of how my hunt played out.

Friday, November 17th.

Started the day out driving the truck down to milwaukee to attend my final exam. Had to give a presentation so I was all dressed up in a full suit to meet the requirements :naughty: :doh: Ended up leaving milwaukee at 10, and after stopping at burger king for 12 cheeseburgers and 2 whoppers (lunch in the tree for my dad and I), 2 stops for gas, I got to the cabin at 2. Got everything unpacked, and loaded up two climbers for my dad and I. Was going to grab kenny and take him with so we could put up all 3 stands in one trip. I would carry my stand on my back, my dads in my arms, and pull a sled with warm heavy clothes for my dad and I. We always leave our heaviest clothes under our tree in garbage bags, less to carry in, and you don't get all sweaty during the mile walk. We came in the way kenny would access which saved him a lot of walking, but didn't do anything for me. Ended up not leaving the cabin until 3:30 due to a dog losing a fight with a porcupine. Had to put the dog in a full nelson so we could pull the 3 dozen quills out of her face and mouth. Somehow, we got all the stands up, clothes under the trees in bags, in 2 hours. Already a rough start to the season.

Saturday, November 18th: Opening Day

Up at 3:30, got my pack all set, coffee made, breakfast started. Ate and left to go hunting by 5:15. Made the trek out to the stand, crossed the creek, added a layer and put on the iwom. Climbed up and was set up just as the sun was peeking over my back shoulder. Sat all day, and saw zero deer. Heard maybe a dozen or so shots all day, and nothing remotely close to me. Enjoyed a nice whopper on stand and had a good view of the surrounding area

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Lunch for the day

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Looking NW. Can see the opposite side of the river bank in spots, and the thicket on the right half is all buckthorn. It's labeled on the drawing as the buckthorn island.

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Facing back to the east towards my access route. The tree I bow hunted out of the previous weekend is in there as well.

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Looking back to the south towards the marsh. I sat on the back ridge last season, and shot my buck on the little patch of higher ground on the right side of the picture.

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Looking east. You can see the ridge in the back, and then the southern edge of thicket.

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Looking ENE, best picture of the thicket I could get. Some trees blew down years ago that created an opening in the canopy, and it grew up thick and nasty.

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Looking NE, this is the direction I first saw both deer walking through. Take note of the center of the picture

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If you look really close, you see two trees that are better detailed in the picture. Look between them, and there is a speck of orange. You just found Kenny :lol:

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Right in the yellow circle in case you couldn't find it before

Had a nice steak dinner to close out the day, and my group saw a total of zero deer for the day. Just not a good day in the woods.

Sunday, November 19th: Day 2

The river bottom I hunt is notorious in my family for having an awful day, and a great day. The great day historically is Sunday. Woke up at 2 instead and was more excited than normal to get out and hunt. I finished watching goodfellas from the previous night while having some coffee. Same routine as the day before, except we left about 15 minutes later, not a big deal to me anyways. Made the trek back out to my stand again, got all suited up and patiently sat there. Again like the day before, it was painfully slow. Plus a group of turkeys came in about 100 yards away from me and were constantly fighting so I couldn't hear myself think with all the ruckus. Was staring off into space, when a flash of movement to my left caught my eye. A lone doe was bounding out of the thicket full bore. I grabbed my gun and got the cross hairs on her but never clicked off the safety. Never got that kill switch on and had no desire to take the shot at a running deer. Sat back down disappointed I missed my chance. Knew I would be lucky to get one crack at a deer and didn't want to blow it. At about 1:20 I was playing with my stocking cap staring off towards the ridge I shot my buck the previous year, wondering if I made the right choice by moving. Was talking to myself (weird right?) and barely heard that twig snap. I slowly put my hat on, and turned my neck to see a doe slowly walking out of the thicket 50 yards away. I grabbed my gun and sat down (I shoot better sitting) and put the crosshairs right behind her front shoulder. She stopped broadside and had about 10' to walk to a wide open lane. I was staring through the scope for what felt like 10 minutes while she gazed off into space, when I realized I had an opening through the brush. Clicked the safety off, took a deep breath, and squeezed the trigger. Never heard the gun go off. Look over at her, and she is on her side running in place. I knew she would die as I could see the blood on her shoulder, but didn't shoot because I didn't have a shot at the vitals without wrecking lots of meat. I kept the gun pointed at her in case she got up, but in 30 seconds she passed away right in front of me. Could actually see her from the stand and got a picture of it.

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Hung the gun back up on the hook, and radioed my dad letting him know I got one. Asked if she ran off, and I said no she dropped in her tracks. Told him I wanted to wait until at least 2:30 to see if a buck was following her. He said he would get down and head over to help me gut her at 2:30 if he didn't hear anything from me. So I put my feet up and smiled knowing I finally got my first doe (Only took me 9 years :lol: ) and enjoyed a cold cheeseburger and some hot coffee. At 1:45 I was standing up and facing back towards the thicket when I caught some movement. Looked over and saw the fakest looking deer I have ever seen. Bright white around the eyes, and lo and behold, I could see antlers. I quickly grabbed my gun while he was staring at the doe laying in front of him. Sat down and put the crosshairs on him. Had to wait for him to turn, and eventually gave me a broadside shot, but was twisted around looking behind him. About 50 yards, and I squeezed the trigger. Saw him run off, jumping high in the air with his tail up, and immediately thought I missed. So I ejected the shell, dug into my pocket for another, dropped it into the barrel, gave it a shake so it would sit right, and closed the action (gotta love the single shot rifle). Somehow he stopped for me at 100 yards, broadside and I had a shot at him. Put the cross hairs right behind the shoulder, and squeezed the trigger again. Now he took off, tail down, crashing away from me. More typical of the other bucks I have shot with the gun.

I waited a second to see if I could hear him in the river since he ran off that way, and never heard splashing, so either he went down before he got to the river, or turned and traveled along the rivers edge until I couldn't hear him. Radioed my dad and told him what happened, and he said he would still come at 2:30. So here I sat, replaying the shots in my head at that buck. I knew it wasn't anything special rack wise, but I take pride in my shots and was honestly really worried about taking 2 bad shots. The first shot was through some brush, but he was starting to act weird and I rushed thinking he was going to bolt. And the 2nd shot was easily the farthest shot I have taken with my rifle in the last couple of years. Local range doesn't go that far.

Well after what seemed like 5 hours, I heard the typical log breaking, snapping every tree that signals my dad is walking around and coming towards me. He walks up to me, quickly give him a recap of what happened, and let him know where the buck was standing for the 2nd shot. Honestly, I can't remember where he was standing for the first shot, and couldn't an hour after taking it. I also tell him I wasn't confident in the 2 shots at the buck at all. Anyways he goes over to the doe and radios me "Well what would you go shoot a fawn for?", right away I'm ticked, thought I got my first doe. Never thought my dad would mess with me at that time :lol: . Then I direct him to where I shot the buck, and he couldn't find blood. Now I'm really worried, so he asks if the buck crossed the river, and I said no, I never heard splashing. So he says he is going to walk over to the river. 30 seconds later he radios me, and says to get down, undress and come over with a pair of gloves and my knife, and that the buck was by the river. Told me he would meet me by the doe first. Got her dressed (finally getting the hang of gutting deer) in about 10 minutes. Then walk over to find the buck laying on the beach. Dragged him back onto some grass and got him gutted up in 7-8 minutes. Really helped having my dad there for that.

Exactly how I found my buck. This is also the first blood we found from him. I have had awful luck getting blood trails with my gun, but man I sure drilled him twice. Just a picture perfect ending to my season.
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I don't know if the highlight is getting a double on the day, or my dad giving me a high five, a hug and telling me he is proud of me. I'm thinking its the latter. Enjoying these moments with my dad is something I will always remember.

After I got them gutted, I went back to the tree, reorganized things, and packed up what I wanted to take out for the night. Got back out to the truck with my dad, drove back to the cabin to get the extraction gear, and found out that the big egos in camp took all the sleds and carts with them because heaven forbid they have to drive back to get a cart or sled. So we drove out to find one of the trucks with the cart and sled, took those, and stole some of his beer :shhh: During this is when I posted in the live from the field thread about my double homicide. Might be my all time favorite post I have made :D

Got back to where Kenny would access his stand. The drag would be much easier this way, but nowhere near as easy as last year (county screwed that up for us). Took the cart down with the intent of moving the doe onto the ski trail, going back and getting the buck and humping him out to the truck, then coming back for the doe. It's a lot easier to cart deer in the dark on an established trail. Most of the area was too thick for both my dad and I to pull on the cart, so I pulled while he tried to keep buckthorn from wrecking my face and arms. Once we got the deer up on top, then we had the rest of my group show up to help drag :doh: about a half hour too late.

Packed them up in the truck and drove back to the cabin to get them processed. Sorry for the lack of pictures. For some reason my family is anal about getting everything done right now and not enjoying the moment. I did have 30 seconds to enjoy a beer with my dad though. Got back to the cabin and finally got some pictures. Wish I could have gotten a weight on the two deer. I initially thought they were both 2.5 yo deer. I'm guessing the doe to be around the 115-125lb dressed weight which would put her at 2.5 yo. The buck I am guessing closer to 150-160 which means he is either a huge 2.5 or a 3.5. My biggest buck had too much head gear to be a 1.5 and he was 125 dressed. My last buck was 125lbs as well. This guy was noticeably bigger when dragging. Notice the white face as well. I'm thinking he is a bigger 2.5 and not 3.5.

First picture. The smile doesn't show my excitement at this point. I was beat after humping those deer out. And these pictures were taken at 5:33, so under 4 hours from when I shot the buck. I was flying out of the woods with those deer. It's nice being young and dumb sometimes :lol:
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The happy couple

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The rack. He was an 8 point with one tine broken, another sheared off completely, and a slight bump for a brow. I'm calling it a 6 point, but the rack does not do this guy justice for the size of the body he has. Bigger body than my other two bucks from the same area, but much smaller rack.

So now for the mystery of the two shots. To cut it short, the first shot ended up being behind the bucks front right shoulder, and came out the left leg due to the twist he was doing. The 2nd shot was behind the bucks front left shoulder and came out perfectly on the other side. Ended up 10 ringing him twice :mrgreen: No idea how he made it so far. He had nothing for a heart and very little lung left in him when I gutted him. Doe was a perfect heart shot.

Here is his front left shoulder Image

Now to look back at what I took away from this hunt.

First is the importance of a positive attitude. I saw 4 deer from the stand, and I would bet $100 2 were the same deer. Never once did I get mad and want to start walking around. All I did was tell myself my season could change in a second. And it did, twice. Just keep after it and keep your head up. It's amazing at how things can work out.

Second, is the importance of all day sits, at least at how I hunt. I know Dan has said the best way to shoot a mature buck for him is to drive, and I would totally agree. I would be lucky to shoot one hunting in a tree, and hunting how I do. Equipment matters. Preparation matters. Carry that extra weight of a sandwich or a thermos of coffee. It makes a difference in allowing you to capitalize on every second of your hunt. No food, coffee or water, and there is a chance I wouldn't be alert, or would be out of my tree at the moment of truth. You just gotta be ready for it.

Third is the self reflection something like this allows me. 2017 has been an awful hunting season for me. 3 deer in bow range, but always something stopping me from sealing the deal. But this hunt allowed me to realize something that really gives me a different outlook on myself as a hunter. I hunt because I love the pursuit. I love the feeling of putting my hand on antler or a fuzzy ear after getting my butt kicked every weekend all season. There is no better feeling than success, and knowing how hard you worked for it. I also hunt for the meat. It killed me to watch the doe die. I hated it, but yet I could't pull the trigger because a second shot would've damaged meat, and wasted the life she lost for me. Maybe some day I will hold out for mature bucks and bigger deer, but as long as I get excited over shooting deer like this, and enjoy what I hunt and kill, I just can't justify changing things. I live for the rush of pulling that trigger, walking up on that buck and giving my dad a high five when I see my buck. I love putting the work in gutting and dragging my deer. I enjoy every second of it, and enjoy having jello legs the next 3 days.

Hunting is a way for me to challenge myself, push myself farther than I ever have, and allows me to enjoy my success and learn from my failures. 2017 could have easily been one of my worst hunting seasons, but all that changed in 20 minutes. Now it has been one of the best seasons of my career.

I do have to give a huge thanks to the Hunting Beast, Dan and the moderators. My approach to this hunt was based completely off tactics and ideas I learned here, and for that, I am forever grateful. Wasn't a textbook beast hunt, but a lot of the ideas here really allowed me to look at this spot differently, and see how deer were going to use it, before I ever saw them do it.

Link to kill zone post
viewtopic.php?f=287&t=43349&hilit=jonny+double

2017 Journal
viewtopic.php?f=191&t=39065&hilit=baby+steps

2017 was a great year for me. I made lots of memories, got to spend hours upon hours with my dad, and got a freezer full of vension. I made a post a month ago in the 500 forum about a break in at the cabin and we lost lots of our hunting gear. I also lost the rack to this buck in that as well. Has no monetary value, but losing that hurt way more than losing a couple stands or fishing rods. Hunting is all about the memories you make and the enjoyment you have going out enjoying what the world has available for you. Thanks again to the beast, because I not only have learned a lot about how to hunt, it helped me find out why I want to hunt. I look forward to the day I am a much better hunter and getting on mature animals, but until then I will keep enjoying the ride there.

Congrats to everybody on a successful season. Kill or no kill, we were all safe and grew as hunters and a group of great people.
"Get busy living or get busy dying"
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backstraps
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby backstraps » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm

I will start by saying this particular deer held a lot of meaning to me. I am sure many or most on here have chased a target buck from trail cam picture, previous sightings etc. However this went much farther than that for me.

In 2015 this buck looked like he may have had the genetics to turn into a special deer for our region. My best friend and I began saving pictures and patterning this buck in 2015 when he was 3.5 years old.

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To get to the main meaning of this deer, to me: Early 2015 my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Pops was passing away fast. He told me how he would love to take another buck before he passed away. My buddy and I made a setup that would be easy to get Dad to, even if I had to carry him or use a wheelchair.

We were getting regular pictures of this deer and thought we had a good grip on his travel pattern and bedding. As season became closer, Dad continued to get worse. By the time season rolled around my Dad was in hospice care only to pass away a couple weeks after season opened. I was heart broken by my dads passing, as he truly was my best friend in this whole world. He never was a hunter per say, but he always took me as a child because he knew the passion I have for deer hunting. Dad drove over the road and when he would come home for a day and a half on the weekend, he would still make time to take me hunting on his short time off. I felt almost like his last hunt request, was a hunt he wanted to give to me and something I would remember forever.

I didn't do much hunting in 2015. Every time I tried to sit a stand, thought of my dad and so many of the good times we shared would fill my head. I used the 2015 season more as a get away to be alone and grieve. The woods surely can be a healing place.

So fast forward to 2016, my buddy and I were determined to take this buck! He had put on some inches and was looking like a stud at 4.5 We tried to play our hands and beat this buck in his house. Things wasnt happening and we were not getting any sightings of this buck. I was beginning to think I had really over pressured this guy (and in reality I DID) I However, I had a shot opportunity on Dec 10th and blew it. I let my nerves get me, buck fever, choked, whatever you want to call it, I had it, and clean missed the deer 100% Huge let down for me, but I continued to hunt this deer.

The buck stayed away with only giving us a couple pictures until the closing day, Last day of the season, he graced a couple of our cams, kinda telling us he was still here and the he had won the war of 2016. :lol:

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We never let up on this guy though. Throughout the summer and fall, we were as prepared as we were going to be to kill this buck in 2017! I had vowed to myself not to take any out of state hunts, or any weekend get away trips etc until this buck would lay dead in one of out truck beds!

We had the property littered with trail cams. Very well thought out and planned placements and timing on checking the cams. I literally have this bucks picture everyday from late August until the day I killed him. I was patient and waited until he gave us a daylight picture before moving in on him. First daylight pic was Nov 8th, it was the last couple minutes prior to closing time. I knew we were in our window of opportunity.

We had a cold front pushing in on the 11th. Nov 10th I could hardly sleep, I was tossing and turning because I knew my chance was here to kill this target. On Nov 11th I was setup an hour and 20 mins before light waiting to intercept him going to his bedroom. During this wait for daylight, thoughts of my dad were taking over. I was sitting in the setup I made for Dad. As I kept drying my eyes, it felt almost like Dad told me to cut it out and get back to the task as hand. It wasn't 10 minutes after I gathered myself up until I laid eyes on our target.

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He was coming through the woods alone, nose wasn't down,he wasn't in a rush, he was just at a steady walk. Destination:BED! At 7:16 am I grunted to stop the buck, allowing me time for a steady and lethal shot placement. I was able to push a 195gr Barnes Expander through both lungs from a smokeless muzzle loader. The deer went on his last run, and in less than 100 yards later he laid dead. The game was over with this buck. From the point he stopped and died, he was less than 100 yards from his bed.

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I sent my buddy a text who was on the other end of the state hunting that weekend. I told him I just shot big boy. After talking to my buddy a few minutes I called my daughter and it was such an emotional moment for me. I told her "I finally killed Dads buck."

This was a special buck for me. I have been thinking of posting or not. I wanted to do a post showing the terrain features, and how we determined his travel routes and bedding areas, but I simply cannot post any maps due to keeping the privacy of this property. So I thought I would rather go in the direction and share what a special Dad I had, how special this buck is to me, and how I know my Dad was smiling down from Heaven on me when I laid hands on this deer!

If I decide to enter this deer in our states registry, he will land #4 for the county I killed him in. Both 1 an 2 have been long time records from 1972 The #3 deer in the county is 143" My buck dry scored 140 4/8 on an 8pt frame.

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I feel very blessed in being able to take this deer. By far my favorite deer I have harvested ever. Thanks for reading and letting me share my story with y'all, Tony.
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby basspro05 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:50 pm

11 YEARS OF FAILURE COMES TO A HEAD...HUNTING BEAST ROAD TO SUCCESS
I like most hunters was clueless before finding the Beast. Up until Nov. 4th I had never killed with my bow. I have put in hours reading on this forum, studying maps, and talking deer with friends who also found the Beast. I don't get nearly as much time in the field as a lot of guys do, so my scouting and hunting is really precious time to me. This summer another member on here ERICBROOKS asked if I wanted to sign up for a draw hunt with him. Luck of the draw we were selected, and even luckier, we picked near the end of the draw and still got the #1 hunting area we wanted to select. I scouted this piece of property in October, I found a few doe bedding areas and one solitary buck bed. One thing I did notice was no new rubs or scrapes on the ridges, just old sign. This told me that this area probably did not get a lot of buck activity until the rut, which was good timing because we could start hunting Nov. 1st. This particular draw you had to kill a doe before you could kill a buck, so I planned to hunt really hard the first weekend for a doe. ERICBROOKS filled his buck tag earlier on another property so he basically said the area was all mine, heck of a guy!

November 4th was my first hunt, I shot my doe just before dark, it was my first archery kill ever. She came in to feed on the crabapple trees that were in the parking area and I shot her at 20 yards. Being the first time I ever let an arrow fly at an animal, I made a mistake and didn't realize the tree she was behind was an elm tree with small branches sticking out. The arrow clipped a branch and deflected back...hitting her in the spine. You have never seen a fat guy come 20' down out of a tree so fast, I quickly nocked another arrow and shot her through the heart. I felt really terrible for how it went down, but promised myself I would not let myself make a similiar mistake if I could control it.

The next two weekends were my wifes birthday, and a pre planned family get away, so hunting was pretty much out the window. I told my wife I was going to hunt the two days before Thanksgiving, and probably the following sunday evening if time allowed. I hunted public one afternoon with no success, and I hunted the draw area the day before Thanksgiving with no success. What I learned at the draw area was the south property line was covered with fresh buck sign, nice rubs and scrapes that had been recently worked.

I checked the forecast for the upcoming Sunday and noticed I had a SW wind forecasted which was going to be perfect for the bedding areas and cruising ridges I suspected the bucks were using that were laying down the sign on the southside of the property.

I planned to get out of the house around 10am so I could work my way through the draw area to a ridge and bedding point that was located on the public hunting ground to the west of where the draw area was....as usual, it was a little hectic around the house and I could tell my wife was short of patience with our son, so I stayed to help her out. I hit the road at 1:30 and got to the draw area around 2:15PM.

I threw the lone wolf on my back and started working my way in. We had a strong SW wind that was probably 10-15 mph, so I was moving through the thick downed leaves when the wind would cover my noise. At 2:45 I made it to the creek that was at the bottom of the ridge I was planning to set up on. I heard leaves crashing and I quickly stepped behind a tree and pulled up my binoculars. I could see a buck coming out of the suspected bedding area heading down towards the creek I was standing next to. Why was he coming down so early!!! Why didn't I get here sooner!!!

I gathered myself quickly and quietly slipped my stand off my back and set it down. I nocked an arrow and waited patiently to see what he was going to do. In the meantime I reached into my front pocket and let some milkweed go...the creek was sucking my scent the opposite direction of the buck!!! He made his way into the creek about 45 yards to the South of me. He stopped on a small elevated hump in the middle of the creek bed and stood in some thick brush...and stood...and stood...and stood. He was standing there like a statue smelling the air. Finally after about 10 minutes he started to take a step off the hump, but he stopped and just started feeding on some browse. I knew where he was standing was very close to the border of the private ground that was to the South, and in my mind I was afraid if I did stalk up close enough for a shot he would have been on the private side of the property line. There was a boundary marker real close to him, but the angle I had I couldn't tell if he was on the public side of it.

I told myself that I had to make a move on it, 11 years of failure really gets into your head, and I kept thinking, be aggressive, give yourself a chance to make this happen.
I inched towards him, It took me about 30 minutes, but I moved 10 yards closer to him, I ranged him at 32 yards. That is 2 yards beyond my comfort zone and the brush was too thick on that hump. I got down really low behind a tree and blew my grunt call at him a couple times, he looked in my direction, but remained on the hump...at this point I had that feeling of defeat starting to come over me again, but I didn't let it overcome me this time, I just kept telling myself I had to find a way to seal the deal on this buck. I watched him feed and smell the air forever.

It was 4:00 now, the wind noise was gone, the squirrels and birds were silent...the only thing between me and the buck was 32 yards of dry leaves and loose noisy rocks!!! I knew I had no chance of taking another step. I was throwing milkweed this whole time, and it was always going to my north down the creek bed the opposite way of the buck so I knew he couldn't smell me. I kneeled there thinking, if I hadn't found the Beast I would be up there on that ridge I just came down, wind in my face, set up in a tree...never knowing that buck was below me smelling me, never coming out of his safe zone in daylight. About 20 more minutes passed and the buck decided to make a turn and start coming down the hump in my direction...holy moly!!! He stopped at 23 yards to eat some more browse and do some more scent checking. I decided to snap a picture...just in case I didn't seal the deal, because nobody would have believed me :lol:
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He turned broadside to me and I stood up and drew my bow back...I didn't like the shot so I quickly kneeled back down and let my bow down. He took a few more steps towards me and stopped to drink out of a puddle in the creekbed. He was at 15 yards now, facing me. I took a look over my right shoulder and I clearly saw an opening I would be able to shoot him at if he kept walking the creek bottom. He hit the opening...I stood up and drew back....he was at 3 or 4 yards, the grass on the creek bed was too high, I couldn't get my self to let one fly, all I could think about in that moment was the spine shot on the doe a few weeks earlier. I quickly let down and kneeled back down.

I told myself to get my act together, I took a deep breath, I surveyed the surroundings and realized there was a large tree down across the creek, if I shot this buck and he ran forward he would run right into this tree and I could get another arrow in him if need be....he took one more step, I rose from my knees, settled the pin on him and let it fly. He ran directly into that tree 10 yards from where I shot him and he died...he died at 4:45PM, 10 seconds after I let my arrow fly.

It seriously happened, 11 years of failure coming to a head in a creek bottom, playing cat and mouse with a nice 2.5 year old public buck for right at 2 suspense filled hours. This is how I always envisioned myself arrowing a deer...not on a game farm, not on a stand someone set me up in, on something I worked hard for, something I deserved. I did it, I finally did it :o
I notified my friends and loved ones...the responses were funny...April Fools? Are you serious???

My brother and our good friend and fellow Beast showed up and helped me get him out and to my truck. It was all real at this point :dance:

How he lay when I found him
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Couple of pics...
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Aerial of how it went down
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Wannabelikedan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:13 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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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Wannabelikedan » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:18 pm

I’m going to try to keep this brief but I could make a novel out of a 4 year obsession. He has been the fuel to my hunting fire since 2015. I first laid eyes on him November 14, 2017. He came into a set that had limited sight distance. He popped out from behind a couple cedar trees and blew me away with the trash sitting atop his head. He was easily 170”, possibly bigger. He was quartering to slightly with an accompanying juvenile buck underneath me so I elected to wait for a shot at the next shooting lane. I wasn’t a beast hunter and oblivious to milkweed. If I were, I would’ve known he was gonna have my wind before he made it into that second shooting lane. I watched him sniff the air, walk to the fence, hop it and walk out of my life, or so I thought.

After dismissing him as a rut fluke that would never be seen again, I placed a camera on this 50 acre property in late summer of 2015 to see if I could maybe uncover some secrets to the area. I saw a rub on a hard bark willow tree about 8”-10” in diameter in 2013 that I never put much stock into then but knew it did now. I wasn’t sure of this photo was of him then but knew I had a big buck hanging around the area.
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It wasn’t til I got this photo in this particular location that I decided I needed a stand in this funnel/pinch.
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When this pic popped up, I knew he was the same buck I’d seen the previous year. The unique curl at the end of the right main beam is what gave it away. He had lost a considerable amount of extras but it did not make him any less attractive in my eyes. The shear size of the body of him shown in this picture is what lent him the name The Clydesdale buck. He wasn’t just as big as a horse but the larger of the breeds. Far bigger than any buck I had seen in my life.
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I vowed I was gonna hunt this stand site til it was burnt completely out thinking he would eventually make the same trip (again pre-beast Eric). Fortunate for him, I filled both my buck tags on consecutive days out of that stand before he could make it back. Regardless, the area was burnt and the only other pic I had of him in that area was at night. Clydesdale 2 - Eric 0.

Cool story to top that year out. I tried filling some remaining doe tags on this property with my recurve. The evening of December 1 ended in no deer sightings. So I head back to the truck in almost complete darkness down the gravel road. I almost make it to the truck when I here commotion on the ridge overlooking. I walk back 50 yards or so just off the gravel not to make any noise. I can tell whatever it is is getting close and assume it to be hogs. Whatever it is stops just inside the brush maybe 30-50 yards. Moments later I get this strong whiff of rutting buck followed by several snort wheezes. After almost getting run over by a deer, they take off down the ridge. Later camera pics would reveal it was him chasing a doe. Picture was very poor but I could tell it was him.

2016 hits and he makes his first appearance in September.
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He looked to be down yet again from the year before. Still didn’t make him any less than number 1 on my list. Didn’t hunt him as hard as the year before but still pounded out that stand, or the property for that matter, more than I should have. He was much more visible on the property though which was surprising. I kept at least 2 cameras running at all times on the property to see how he was using it.

Scrape location he hit where his annual rub line opened up.
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This is a bedding area that is a ridge overlooking the road into the property. In this photo, he is following a doe. The previous pic on the card was of a doe seconds ahead of him. A gentleman that owns the oil pumps on this property mentioned seeing him on occasion from the road. Deer frequently bed on top and just watch him go in and out on a daily basis.
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The only day time pic I had of him in 2016 was at the permanent stand site and it wasn’t a very good one.

Fortunate for him again, I was hunting another property that morning. I hunted the next day there and only saw one small buck running onto the property from the North neighboring field. He looked to be running like he was after a doe but I never caught anything in front of him in time. I got down about an hour later and,when I hit the ground, a stampede came thundering in my direction. I look up and see a doe being hounded by several bucks with him first on her tail. She sees me and turns off back up the hill. Naturally, I ease up their way thinking they had put some distance between us. Make it 15 yards and she makes a short blow and they’re all gone. Clydesdale 3 - Eric 0.

2017 is finally upon us. No early pics of Clydesdale this year and patiently waiting for the annual rub line to open up. Check the willows around the first week and half in October and nothing yet. I know the local doe group starts coming into estrous around the end of the 3rd week of October so I decide to make my first sit on the 21st. No sightings but the rub line has opened with a few scrapes. November 1st I make my second sit. Had a S-SE wind which is when the permanent stand is best for bucks cruising downwind of the adjacent doe bedding and coming through the funnel/pinch. I got in well before sun up and about 30 minutes prior to light I hear a buck skirt out in front and make his way down to the willows to thrash a tree or two. Daylight comes and a lone large doe fawn comes in and beds down for about an hour 20 yards away. Get down for the morning and check the only camera and boy did it have one piece of gold on it.
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Aside from the fight, the scrapes had blown up everywhere in the area around the rubs. The sign was hot and I had to work that night and the following night leaving Friday the 3rd the next day I could hunt ugh!!!! Friday finally comes and a westerly wind is forecasted so I know I can’t sit ole trusty without him getting my wind. It’s 0-5 mph wind which makes it very unsteady on direction so I’m looking to get where I can cover both trails if he skirts me but be in position to hit him when or if he does get my wind. The only trees I have are hackberry trees this deep in the pinch and almost all are small. The worst of the worst. Too many small limbs and not enough cover. I try at one tree for 20 minutes and I can’t get my xop to position and grab the tree worth a flip. I pull down and move to the 2 largest ones in the funnel. They definitely would work fine for the stand but take a crap load of trimming to shoot out of. I spend nearly an hour getting this thing in somewhat killer shape. I check the milkweed and the water thermals off the neck of the pond are getting some pull with the occasional push towards the anticipated travel. It’s a little risky but if anything gets my wind they’re dead before they know it. Like most warm, low wind Oklahoma evenings it’s next to dead calm. Milkweed is almost floating straight down and it’s that magical hour. 6:30-6:35 I hear a blue jay start barking from up the trail. Man it’s too late for one to just be barking at nothing. Bow in hand. I hear what sounds like hooves walking. Release on the d-loop. Whatever pops out I won’t see til it’s within 25 yards. I see rack and it’s a shooter. I don’t care who he is I just know HE IS A SHOOTER. Draw and give the call to stop at 20. Let it fly and it’s looking good til about halfway and the arrow is running back to the ole guts. Hits him about where the rib cage ends but it doesn’t sound like it hits bone. Buck takes a couple quick steps to look again at what made the noise then turns and walks out just as quiet as he came in. Not good. Never want them walking away after a shot. I know he won’t be bedding within 100 yards of the stand so I get down when it’s dark and check the arrow. Smells like gut. Get out leave my stand and sticks and letting him set. Not gonna make excuses or lie but I’m not the most experienced in gut shot situations. I also know that a gut shot buck has a good chance of getting bumped and/or ate by coyotes during the night. Scared that it might be Clydesdale I decided to go back in after 6 hours. With the blood that I found at the shot site I thought there was a good chance I caught the liver also. Get back in after midnight and start on the blood. Quickly run out of it after 30 yards. Start circling up the anticipated path to where he likely went to bed. Found spots of gut fluid and occasional blood back the bedding area. Made it 50 yards inside the bedding and I hear a deer gut up and head over the crest of the hill. The edge of the property line is near so I decide to follow to the fence and come back after light to go from there. Did find several beds with very little blood and gut fluid on the way to the fence also.

Back in after daybreak, I can’t make out a path where he went but knew there are only so many water holes and places to bed on the adjacent properties. I search everything I can for 3 hours since I had to leave at noon for a wedding in Texas. I call my dad to ask him to check for a body on the drive to Texas and his search yields the same results. Sunday after church I head back out and contact a couple other landowners for permission to search the other places I think he could have been. Check them and nothing. Stop by a gentleman’s house that hunts the nearby property and ask if he’s seen any buzzards circling. Says he has seen a few so we get in is golf cart and check his land out and a waterhole I was unaware of. Nothing. At this point I’m feeling pretty lost. Thought I knew the area enough that I could eventually stumble upon him but couldn’t understand why he would pass up water for water elsewhere. I know deer can’t live for days with a hole in the gut so just where? Monday night I hunted but it man it didn’t feel right. I talked to two good hunting friends that night. One gave me a pep talk and a booster that I’d find him. The other gave me a little more hope saying he can live up to around 12 hours but that he would either be within 30 yards of water or in it. Also, whatever I thought he did or which way I thought he went to forget it and look at the unlikely.

I decided Tuesday morning I’d hunt the same tree and check around another hole of water and the WHOLE 5+ acre lake on the property. Both of which are the other way the buck left the scene of the crime. While in the stand, I did notice just the smallest ends of a nearby branch were in the direct path of where I shot him. Gave good reason to why my arrow changed course during flight and I couldn’t see them through the peep. Didn’t even sit in the stand that long because it was bugging me that much to hunt and still not have the answers. I ended walking the entire E side of the lake down around the S end to the dam that had a likely spot of overlooked bedding. It was promising but nothing found. Keep in mind this lake has cattails encircling the entire thing so you must walk every foot of it to be able to see it all. As I’m nearing the west end of the dam which is well above the lake level, a red object catches my eye. NO FREAKING WAY!!!! It’s a fresh rib cage. Found him!!! This dude got shot on the very NE corner of the property and died on the very SW corner of the property. A complete 180. I jump down off water side the dam and immediately it hits me. I see the telltale browtines of The Clydesdale Buck.
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I throw down my bow/release and gloves and do this half laugh almost cry thing. I’m not real sure what I wanna do. I just let out this deep breath like I finally could breathe good for the first time in nearly 4 days. It all made sense at this point. This elusive creature couldn’t go out without yet another trick from his seemingly never ending book. Never had there been one buck that taught me so much about how big buck gets to be so old and elusive. He is the reason I joined the beast. He pushed me to get better. To hunt smarter and read the sign he leaves behind and most importantly to think outside the box. He didn’t get to be old doing what other deer do. And at that, I want to extend a huge thank you to this website and all the members that make it what it is!!
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A little extra on this buck. I “guess” this deer to be 9.5 or older. I say 8.5+ to be as accurate as possible but I highly doubt he was just a 4.5 year old back in 2014. Another bonus is he is the best rackwise he’s been since 2014. A beautiful heavy racked main frame 10 with an additional 10 scorable points. My best bow buck to date. Just sad the cape was mangled by the scavengers. Lots of stories lost in that hide he wore for so many years.
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby muddy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:24 pm

Bow, The Toad

This season I had high hopes of takin a specific buck, but as deer do, he disappeared. As summer progressed my cams didnt really get me terribly excited. A few nice 3 and 4 year old, but nothing mature.

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Season finally got here and I managed to take a big doe that the kids helped me "find"

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Pre rut eventually turned into rut and I was seeing quite a few bucks, including all the ones I had on cam. Unfortunately none of these bucks really did it for me, and I passed all of them numerous times. After 2 weeks November was starting to wear me down. Bucks locked down an I knew I had to switch things up. I ended up going into an old place I hadn't hunted for awhile with my xop stand. That morning was awesome, hot does, multiple bucks, everything you want!

I made a mid morning move and found an awesome saddle. That evening I saw so many deer it was stupid. I passed both big 9s again and in the dark moved my stand according the next days wind. Over the course of 5 days I hunted this little 200x200 yard saddle and moved around to perimeter trees according to wind. A few days of rain made this possible for sure and on the 6th day things got real.

The morning was windy, really windy, and by mid morning it was deader than a hammer. I opted to get down and run some errands and climbed back up at 2pm. As the wind died down deer came out of the woodwork. There were 2 nice 9 pointers, a nice 8 pointer, a weird half rack squib buck, and various little guys doing their thing. Thus far I'd passed them all at least once and was still hoping for something bigger to show up.

My stand is situated so that there is a large ravine I cross to get to it, and it is on the edge, the access is bullet proof with a strong SE wind, which I had. I got to the base of my tree, suited up, and climbed in. There were already deer in the small field but I managed to get set up undetected. For the next couple hours I watched a pile of does come out of the bedding an into the fields to feed... it was just a matter of time before antler would show, and show it did.

All of a sudden there were bucks everywhere. Dinks up thru some nice 3 year olds, but I was really hoping for more, after all, I had already passed all of these guys over the season. The nice 9 point suddenly got nervous and his head came up, I looked where he was looking and this Toad of a buck just sauntered out of the thick stuff. Instantly I knew, that if he presented a shot, I was going to kill him. As Toad walked up the tree line I got my grunt call out and gave 1 soft grunt. He heard it and turned into the thick stuff. I immediately turned and threw my grunt call back behind me, it had spooked it's last buck. As the night progressed the does filtered into the main feeding field and Toad suddenly appeared 300 yards away. He bumped a doe until the 9 point tried to join in, he had none of that. He puffed up and simply walked towards him and followed him out of the field, over a fence, around another field, all for 250 yards and right under my tree. It was almost a straight down shot, but enough quarter away that I absolutely destroyed Toads heart. He died on his feet running, and was down before I could hang up my bow. Great end to a great season, with probably my 2nd best bow buck ever. Toad is a buck I've never seen before, but have yet to check the cam I threw up in this area 2 weeks ago, hopefully I have a few pics of him! He had a very nasty scar under his right eye, both ears were shredded, and he had some impressively gross wounds on his neck and shoulders. Regardless of what he may score I'm very proud of him since it's been awhile since I've shot a buck on my own ground on my own terms.
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Gun 1 Right place at right time

Pretty simple story. I got invited to do some "party/group" hunting with my buddies family this gun season. Beings as I had just bought a 45/70 and Iowa started allowing straight walled cartridges i night a couple doe tags and was was all in. On the 2nd push of the day I was a walker in a very familiar ditch. 10 minutes in I bumped a nice buck but let him go as it just wasn't what I wanted. A few minutes after I saw him the blockers opened up. When we all met up we heard that "a big buck" was hit but got up after the hit and ran off. Checking for sign was odd, very little blood, what was there made me nervous so we reined in the young bloods from their wandering around. I chatted with my buddy and we agreed that the buck acted like 1 lung hit. We figured he'd bed quickly so we circled out around the draw and sent 2 guys in on one end. Since I had just walked the area, and knew where I was, I directed some of the sitters. I set the other guys in the better looking places a nd kind of chose a less likely looking location. After the alloted 30 minutes I got ready and shortly after that I heard rough coughing sounds from the draw where the buck was thought to be at. I knew the buck was in there but was perplexed at what I was hearing. Seconds later the buck topped the rise and came to me, blood all over his throat area. I put 2 an 2 together and knew he was hit in the trache... I let him clear some brush and dropped the hammer. it was a solid hit, but a bit back, liver all day. He dug in and took off so i levered another round in and fired. Clean miss. The buck dove into a creek ditch and made to escape so I did a quick 10 yard dash and raised up for a finishing shot. I saw him drop and quickly dropped into the bottom to inspect the prize. He was wrapped up in some roots in the creek but was fortunately down. Quick inspection showed a perfect shot through the windpipe from the first guy, would've been lethal eventually and my 2 shots made the task end quicker . If they're moving just keep shooting right??!! Anyway, we were gld to have recovered him, just another day in the life of a group hunt.

Busted g2 on right side, busted g4on left side. It was the buck I had passed earlier, but uncle Jeff was tickled with him so all worth it! I figured that since I put 2 finishing bullets in him I was allowed a hero pic! =) This is my first rifle buck, the 45-70 really did some damage.

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Late muzzy "The Big 9"

Thanks for being patient, I've had influenza the past week and its been a struggle. In fact I was sporting a high fever all weekend hunting but kept it goijg with ibuprofen and coffee. Let me first say that TheBig9 is on private property that a buddy lets me hunt on with him. I never dreamed I'd be the trigger man, but that's how it went down. First off lets travel back to 2015 right when TB9 came on the radar as a nice 4 year old. My buddy said he was a non shooter and as luck would have it he was VERY visible and I had to pass a standing broad side shot with my muzzy at 40 yards. Pretty much saw him daily in 2015 and his left side got picked up 1/2 mile from his core area. It scored about 71"

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2016 saw TB9 again in the same area, he looked bigger but once he shed velvet we were kind of hesitant to go after him. In the end we decided he was a shooter but never had a close opportunity. In fact, the only person to get close was a guy waking fir us, but he was tagged out as TB9 stood at 30 yards in the middle of a push. He then squirted out the back and we never saw him again. Oddly enough for as big as he was, he was a total wimp and low in the pecking order. Again the left side was found in the same area, it went 79" thereabouts.

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In 2017 TB9 turned into "Droppy" to my buddy, but I maintained calling him TB9. Since it was his property I knew he would be hard after him and I didn't get a chance to hunt till late muzzy. It turned out fine as I shot a great bow buck.

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TB9 was now 6.5 years old and a recluse. Add in the fact that there was a very large mean 10 and big bodied 8 (we killed both of them this year) and we never saw him on the hood. My buddy shot the big 8, it went upper 150s... his boy shot the 10, it went just over 160... with the 2 bullies gone he figured TB9 would move in before the gun seasons, he was right. All of December no-one hunted there and bby the time late muzzy came we had BITTER temps and 2 acres off standing beans and turnips. My buddy was locked on him and it really was a matter of time before he had a shot. On new years day it was -30° and TB9 came running in to the beans. My buddy locked him up at 100 yards and dropped him. 2 minutes later he got up and stumbled off!! A fast second shot didnt help and TB9 had given him the slip. Hindsight shows the left side entrance and right side exit.

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Now forward to the last weekend of season. We always get together and do a few pushes during the day and sit the evenings. The First day i managed to miss a big double beam buck and that night we sat the beans hoping to get a last chance at him. No luck. On Sunday we decided that I would dive into TB9s bedroom and try to push him by someone. After an agonizing walk thru be hard nothing had popped out. We did 2 more pushes nearby with similar results. The next nearest timber was a mile away and this was my turn to sit... happily... this is my favorite place to post. I got into position, and after the alotted time, my buddy walked in. Funny note, he left his gun because he was tired of carrying it. I off handedly guarantee he'd see a booner... I was right. He was just in tge timber when he saw 2 big bucks at 70 yards... helpless he just pushed them on. While posting I quit counting at 30, and deer kept coming. Tge last deer out appeared to be a shooter, but I wasn't quite sure. A hasty decision to fire gave me a100 yard running shot, but I had a good rest. I led him and touched it off. A solid thump came back and he lurched over the hill. I reloaded and suck out to check for blood. Just getting into the field I suddenly see him hunched up 150yards away. I'm a poor shot and I was flustered, so I dropped my stuff and started closing the distance. * I had just dropped my pistol * Suddenly he started trotting off and I had to rush a free hand trotting shot,which I again head a resounding thump. He immediately stopped and hunched and I started the long process of reloading. Those minutes took forever and by the time I finished he had moved out of sight. I took a breath and walked up to where I last saw him hoping for the best. I was 10yards from the field edge when I suddenly saw him wadded up in the long grass! Half a second later that SOB raised his head and lunged to his feet... 5 yards away... I wnt into auto pilot and got him into the scope and squeezed it off...

He barrel rolled to the bottom of the hill but started to get up yet AGAIN. At this moment in the hunt I realized 1) I was out of muzzy loads and 2) ** my 500 mag was 200 yards away! Enter 2 years of cross fit. I literally dropped my muzzy and sprinted uphill thru shin deep wet snow to the case. At this point havung the flu really sucked. It hurt, plain and simple, to breathe and also run. Eventually I got back to him just in time to catch him standing up and I gave him a thunderous ovation. Let me tell you, it flattened him, but wasnt really convinced he was dead. By this time my buddy cane walking up wondering what I was shooting at. I had lost my phone sprinting and didn't know he was calling. He walked up and said "dude, that's the drop tine buck I hit!" I responded with "no effing way" but a quick look showed he had busted three drop off and it sure was him, I was in shoc, we were well over a mile from his normal home core area!

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Finally it had all come together, I hadn't shot a late muzzy buck since 2009 and I had finally shed the monkey. He is my best deer ever and I couldn't be happier. He green grosses 173, and his mass carries 5" all the way thru, a real whopper!

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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Sam Ubl » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:54 am

Heartbreak only lasts so long. I was caught monkeying around with my camera by a buck of a lifetime at 12-yards broadside when I should have been drawing back my bow. The big buck ran out to 35-yards and I released an arrow at a steep quartering away angle when he stopped, but the arrow was inches forward. After a lengthy two days of searching, I finally found him back again, but he lives and I will be putting everything into ending the saga in the coming year.

Video of my archery season:
https://youtu.be/NNdCh-Q1qpA

Just a few days before the start of the Wisconsin firearms season I found myself back in the same stand hoping on a prayer he, or another mature buck, would come through the same area. As luck would have it, with 20-minutes of legal shooting time remaining, this wide and gnarly fighter gave me the opportunity I was praying for. I made good on the shot and he expired shortly after. While I celebrate the success of this hunt, I still hang my head when I think of the one that got away. There's no pleasure in wounding an animal, it's certainly not something I'm proud of, but it's reality and cannot be undone. Grateful to have had the opportunity to chase these rascals on this particular small acreage during the archery season and full of anticipation for next season!

Recover Image:
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My 6mo old son, Camden, and his first picture posing with Daddy and his buck:
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The firearms season was less eventful. My wife and I spent opening day in a ground blind together, which is something I committed to after the last gun season for the simple sake of being at her side to experience the hunt together, rather than apart as I've done so many times in the past. Although the opening day would yield little sightings beyond a doe and her yearling, I committed myself to ripping my remaining buck tag on a respectable buck before the season passed by. I bowhunted the small piece I hit the big buck three weeks earlier and had good encounters with bucks I'd have been more than pleased to rip my tag on, but distance was a factor for me and my bow.

On the second to last day of the muzzleloader season I was given the green light to hunt a piece that is heavily pressured during the archery season and the early gun season, but tapers off into somewhat of a ghost town in the late season. The agreement was that I would have the last two days of muzzleloader season to make good with my opportunity, but after that the invite would expire. I scouted from outer space online and made a decision where I would access and where I would hunker down. It was cold and windy with gusts over 40 MPH and a steady west wind howling over 30 MPH. I used the wind to my advantage and still-hunted my way to the area I planned to sit. Once I arrive to the area, I kneeled in canary grass with little more than a tag alder and the grass I was in to conceal me. Two minutes after kneeling down a doe came through the cattails and entered the canary grass I was in at 40-yards. She was panting hard and looking around wildly, I assumed she was being chased. A moment later here he came, another wide and gnarly buck with one thing on his mind. Twenty-five minutes after parking my truck I had tagged out in Wisconsin. I'm incredibly blessed and grateful of the landowners who provided me with places to chase these bucks beyond the public lands in the area. I'm forever thankful of certain friends who went above and beyond to help me in the recovery of my archery buck, and spending time during the rut tracking the wounded buck I hit instead of hunting.

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What a season... Cheers!
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Matt6506 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:44 pm

The 2017 Ohio season has been pretty much a season of scouting for me. It's the first year that I have scouted more than I have hunted. I have really tried to analyze on what winds to hunt certain spots and also my entry and exits which has lead to less days hunting but overall more deer sightings. My season came to a head on Nov. 6th. I decided to go and hunt the pipeline that I had so much luck at seeing shooters last year in the rut. The pipeline runs on an east-west running ridge and I had a perfect north wind that would cover up my entry and allow me to set up on the south edge where I felt the bucks would be cruising. I could see alot of area so I was going to use this sit as observation. I arrived at my tree at 2pm and noticed a doe already in the pipeline about 200 yards to the west which is where in the past most of the deer activity has come from. I was standing on my second stick getting ready to attach a 3rd when I noticed another deer in the pipeline and I quickly realized it was a shooter. The buck nudged the doe and chase her farther to the west. I went ahead and attach my 3rd and 4th stick and noticed the buck coming back in sight and started working his way down the south side of the pipeline that would lead right past me. I quickly pulled up my bow and nocked an arrow and was able to take the shot at 20 yards as he pasted by. The buck died within sight as I stood halfway up my 4th stick in disbelief of what had just happened. This buck is my second largest and my second buck since joining the beast 3 years ago.
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Sailfish_WC » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:21 pm

The Pajama Buck

My 10 yo boy and I planned his second rifle hunt to family land in MI (same land I started hunting on when I was young).
Instead of missing a week of school for the Nov 15 opener, we decided to fly up for the September youth weekend.
Before the trip started things got tricky. A lil storm named Irma came near our town in FL.
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The airport was shut down and we were just days away from our flight. Luckily, they resumed flights just in time for the flyin to Grand Rapids MI

All smiles now after the ominous start
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We have 2 days to get him a buck. Our cousins have been seeing good deer in the fields in the evenings and some nicer deer on camera in the woods. His hopes are high.

Day one, we're tucked in a corner with woods and and a swamp behind us and corn in front of us.
2 hours after first light, I see a deer face popping out of the swamp, then another. The first (button) deer jumped the fence bordering the swamp and meandered around the corn. Then a decent 8 came into the corn and then an even nicer 8. The deer had zero skittish behavior.
The boy put the scope on the largest and..... 'click' misfire.
I whispered for him to ratchet a new shell in the .243, he did, but at 40 yards they heard it, saw him move and then bolted into the corn
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He was CRUSHED

I did what I could to help his pain. Words, stories, pats on the shoulder. It still sucked. We went up to the house for an afternoon distraction.
The evening hunt brought out only a small basket 6 that gave him all of 3 seconds to look down the scope, aim and fire.

It wasn't long enough

That evening at the house was solemn and I could tell he hated what happened. I assured him again, not his fault, it happens, and he'll still get a deer.

The morning of day 2 saw only a small doe.
It was hot (86 degrees), dry, windy and the boy was still harboring the pain over the bullet and expressing constant thoughts of never getting another chance. I finally said, "Come on, let's go for a walk"

I know there are deer. Good deer. We're gonna find a new set-up

We walk a 40 acre edge of our corn field that abuts to the neighbors 40 acre potato field.

We find some good sign. Lots of sign. Large poop piles everywhere. No question from big deer.
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Also the elderberry bushes are just beaten down (not eaten but beaten, appears like with horns).
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The area is a grassy transition between our two properties, maybe 10 yards x 75 yards.
As luck would have it, just 50 yards south is a low, bushy oak. Perfect.
Up to town to purchase a pop up.

We get back at 1, set up the blind under the oak, brush it in with corn I chopped , and head back to the house to get ready for the evening hunt.

Right before we left, I grabbed a black tshirt from his pack for him to wear in the blind, we head out at 5:38

Sun down was 7:45 last shooting was 8:15

The clock is ticking, the sun was waning, and he was still beating himself down. I told him, "It's going to happen, I'm confident they will be crossing here. You will get a second chance."

Then, approx 7:50 ish, 400 yards away I spot a deer at the backside of the potato field. Horns.

I said "Levi! deer!"

Then another deer filtered out. And another. Then a BEAST of another popped out (his horns were massive, largest typical I've seen in the wild)

There wasn't any question even at this distance they were all good deer

I told Levi to get his gun and watch the deer, because they are going to walk right to us and pass in the grassy transition to get into the corn.
And that's what they did. Single file. The beast however stayed back, way back. He was the only deer we saw that actually exhibited any type of real wariness.

It was approx 8:07 and getting low light. The front deer is now 70 yards or so and stops at the edge of the properties near the grassy area.

I said "Levi, the deer is ok to shoot now. When you are comfortable, and he presents the shot, do it"
He never really said much more, a few minutes go by and I just reminded him again, "He's not going anywhere, take him when your ready, exhale, and ease that trigger back"

8:10 BOOM!

I couldn't watch impact cause I had to tuck into the corner for him to get the position in the blind
I popped my head up and saw it run 150 yards or so without missing a step and heading directly to the beast (the beast bolted instany like Levis deer, the other two ran in circles wondering what was up)

The beast turned and bolted north.
Levi's deer did a high rear leg kick, changed his direction and followed big boys path then disappeared over a rise heading towards the woods. I couldn't see the tree line cause of the darkening sky so we weren't sure exactly where they went in.

He then asked me "Did I hit him, did I"?
I said, "You tell me. I didn't watch. How'd he react?"
He was stating he was afraid he missed, he couldnt tell by the way the buck was running.

I said "Levi, these bigguns have strong hearts and will power, they can go a long ways when shot, so let's just get the light and go find him."

We ambled over to where he shot him.
No blood.

Then we decided to find his escape route (which actually wasn't too hard with the size of his prints in the clean, raised potato rows).
His hooves were so large we could pick up his depression easily here and there.

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Still no blood.

We get to the rise that he ran over ....and I walk right into the buck.
Dead.

Perfect shot.

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No blood though.

Either way he was stoked!

I was happy. We were hugging and hooting and hollering
His two young cousins were hunting another 80 nearby and we called them over to help

They walked up and Levi was just all grins. Proud boy.

8 point w a kicker.
Little gnarly, but lots of character and size

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Beast of a deer for the boy

I texted the boys mom, she says "Great deer! But you gave him his pajama shirt to wear??"

How did I know, it was a black shirt and it was in his pack?
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby Boogieman1 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:27 pm

This season started just like all seasons do, high expectations and even higher temperatures. This was gonna be the season I targeted one specific buck I name Stroker Ace. I was really excited and confident I would get him down fairly easy. I had 3 encounters with him the year before while I was trying to sneak an arrow into an even bigger buck, that I ended up missing and sent heading to the hills. Stroker was just one of those bucks that had the personality to move in daylight and slipped through the cracks by staying in a overlooked area. But within that area he would move, and I spent the majority of the scouting season unraveling the when,where and why's. Late August we got a light rain and I decided to do a quick walk through of the stands I set up and make sure everything was just right before the games begin. Decided I wanted to move one stand just slightly over to the other side of the tree for lighting purposes. Starting climb down a screw in step pulled loose and sent me down like a sack of potatoes! Some how my left hand got wedged between another step and the tree. Sweet, was beginning to think it wasn't gonna happen this year, but I kept the streak of accidents alive!

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2 broken fingers, stitches and dang near took the end of my finger off. Now we're talkin! Let that be a lesson boys and girls always wear your safety gear, even if your just 10 ft off the ground. Leave the falling to us professionals.
Accident really took away from my shooting, due to the vibration of the bow vibrating my broken bones. By the opener Oct 1st I was pretty much recovered and back to form. Second week of October D-day, I got the CALL! Seems the property which harbored my target buck was sold and they didn't care that I had a target buck. (Losers) Wasn't happy, what the heck am I gonna do now. So I did what every hunter does when he gets down, ran a arrow through a does lungs to punch my doe tag. Now back to the drawing board.
October came and went, leaves are starting to fall and I still have no plan. Finally decided I'm just gonna plan my season off of previous years history. Plan worked halfway decent for awhile. Even past a buck I should have taken. Then I hit the brick wall, Lady Luck led me a stray. Only thing I had going was a 2 week rut vacation and I was jacked.
Vacation was pretty much uneventful, could never seem to match up the conditions I needed with the timing of when I needed to be there. I had fun and always enjoy my time in the timber, but frustration was setting in and I had no solid plan.

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November came and went, December is flying bye and still nothing to really feel strongly about. Decide I'm just gonna go all in, pick my best funnel and wait one out. If nothing else get one by pure determination. Christmas morning I see the weather for tomorrow's forecast. Finally a gift from the Gods! Straight East wind with a drastic drop in temperature with a midday wind switch to the North. I have been chasing a buck names Swoops for 4 years, during that time I have never seen him yet he is there. 4 years of cameras and only 1 single daylight picture. The buck is as clever and cagey as they come.

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I had a surprise party planned for him this year, the only daylight pic I have ever got was under these exact same conditions. And the spot has not been hunted the entire season. Smokin Hot! Arrived to my stand earlier then usual a full hour and a half b4 pink light. I was excited, today is going to be the day. Shortly after daylight I have 5 does trickle down the point and begin feeding at the edge on acorns. I hear grunting coming from behind down a brushy fence row. I ready myself, turns out to be a young 6, but he froze stiff legged before reaching the doe group and peered into the timber to my left. I slowly turn my head and just see antler moving through the thick mangled understory. From just a glimpse I knew shooter and I was certain it was none other than Mr Swoops. Buck hung up in the timber just yards away, I could no longer see the buck due to being blocked by the giant cedar I was in. Minutes ticked by, the young buck moved off and the does once again returned to feeding. I was starting to wonder, when I heard the familiar sound of leaves crunch and the buck appeared out of the brush 5 yards infront of me. I picked my spot and decided to let him pass and take the quartering away shot. When his eyes passed behind a cedar sapling I slowly raised my bow focused on my spot eased the string back and when the feather touched my nose a 550 grain meat missle was on its way. Checkmate! Buck was 8 yards and never new what hit him. Arrow blew through and stuck in the dirt. I heard him crash in the cedars 40 yards away. I waited 30 min then climbed down. Upon climbing down I heard what sounded like a loud cough. I decided to back out, go to truck put my gear away make afew calls then take up the trail. Picked up a heavy blood trail and saw where the deer had been bedded, upon looking infront of me I see that beautiful white belly off in the distance. I pick up the pace, and upon approaching the buck, A smile and small laugh came over me, it was not Swoops. The cagey old buzzard pulled the wool over my eyes yet again. I've never seen nor got any pics of this buck. But I was certainly happy to place my tag on him and end my season.
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby whitetailassasin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:51 am

This year was such an amazing year, it's hard to start and because it had so many directions it went, I don't think anyone will have the time or want to read every single story this season. Instead I'm going to try to encapsulate the moments in photos. In all of these situations, I had some sort of role in all of these bucks hitting the dirt. We had 3 target bucks hit the dirt. As well as some set up on fresh sign in bedding areas that produced in past. From a close friend killing his first buck, my daughter killing her biggest, my brother killing his two biggest, my dad tagging his first in 5 or 6 season, to me knocking down a target buck we were on for 2 seasons, to some opening day of gun bad fortune turned to a great morning. All of which was done in Michigan on state owned ground open for anyone to hunt. Due to some serious issues with some members on here and some "stalking" photos only without faces will be included.

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Thank you to all of those that followed along this year, as well as those that took the time to read this post.
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby WV Bowhunter » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:34 am

My 2017 season started in January. I have been trying to kill a certain 10 pt for the last 3 years but he has been smarter than me and I was always a step or two behind him.

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I found his sheds in January and since I had found the beast I went full scouting mode on the property and found every buck bed that I could and made note of which beds I thought he would be using on certain winds.
I also zoned in and made note of all of the rubs I suspected were his and the travel routes that I assumed he used.
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I tried hunting him early season but found that killing a buck coming off a bed in hill country with no major food source is pretty tough. I’m not sure that I have ever second guessed myself so much as I have this season. The bucks bed in these spots for a reason and the thermals and my stand access routes killed me early on.

I started getting a tall 8 pt on one of my cams next to doe bedding in late October and I figured I could kill him.

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I saw him pushing does and wind checking the bedding. I had him in range one night but couldn’t shoot due to closing time. A couple nights later he showed up with just a few minutes to spare and I got him. I think he was bedded in where the does normally bed but he had no doe with him that night.

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The county I hunt in requires me to shoot an anterless deer before shooting a second buck. I headed out the next day and shot a button buck to satisfy the regs. I normally don’t shoot buttons but I really wanted to get after the big 10. After I shot him, I had three does walk right under me, but I didn’t know that was going to happen and I had a “bird in the hand”.

The button buck I shot, I put a fantastic double lung shot on and that stupid thing ran 150 yards and crashed in the best buck bedding in the area. I cringed as I knew I’d screwed up that area. I got him out of there and started developing a plan for the next day to go after the 10.

Guessing that I had messed up the best bedding area actually helped me out as it is in a spot that is almost unhuntable and now I could mark it off as a spot the big 10 would be in for a few days. I had a stand site in mind to go hang and hunt but as I approached it I found that the leaves were way too loud and the woods were way to quiet to access that spot. I scratched my plan and headed to a ladder stand that I normally only gun hunt. It was set up perfect for the south wind that was blowing and I had a great access to it from a cow pasture and was positioned between two good doe bedding areas. I got set up and had deer under me in no time feeding on acorns.

I heard a buck chasing a doe across the hollow from me for about an hour. Things got quiet then and about a 1/2 hour after the chase I caught movement in the bottom of the hollow of a deer coming to my side. I threw up my Binos and couldn’t believe it was the big 10!! He had actually just walked by the tree that I was going to hang my stand in and hunt that afternoon.

About 10 mins later I saw him heading my way. I’m not sure if he was cruising the thermal tunnel or searching parallel trails but he was on the right spot for either one. It didn’t matter to me as he was heading my way and was going to be passing me at 35 yards in short order. I had to draw my bow early and hold it for fear he would pick me out in that tree. He had no idea I was there as he paused to smell a scrape that I hadn’t even seen yet. I let my arrow go and saw the arrow hit him a little back. I backed out and came back the next morning to track him. He only went 120 yards or so and I found him. 3 years and countless hours and I finally could put my tag on him!!!

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He is not the biggest buck I’ve killed but is probably my finest trophy due to the time and mental anxiety that he has caused me. I know I’ve scouted 20-30 hours in this past off season for this buck and I feel that really helped me. I also never hunted a stand more than once on this property this year and I had several presets that have been there that I never hunted this year. I think that had to have helped too. I feel that the info I’ve picked up on the beast is a big part of why I got him, so THANK YOU to everyone on here.

My year wasn’t over as my oldest son was itching to get his first deer. He told me that he wanted to shoot a buck and that was fine with me. Our first day out this year we had a big 6 pt with a screwed up rack come by us but he couldn’t get him in the scope before he picked us off and he was gone. That evening we went back out and had a lone doe come by. He told me he wanted to shoot her and he steadied the 44 mag rifle on some shooting sticks I made from fiberglass fence posts. At the crack of the rifle I could tell he had hit her and I watched her cross a small ravine. I didn’t see her leave the little point she ran to so we took up the trail. He blood trailed her and I could see her up ahead of us bedded with her head up. We snuck around below her where he could put a follow up shot in her. This was the highlight of my year and I think he has the fever bad as all he wants to talk about is hunting now.

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I have had a great year of hunting full of ups and downs but the ups have greatly outweighed the downs. I killed the two biggest bucks that I had on camera in WV, both were good mature bucks for my area and my taxidermist aged the tall 8 at 5 1/2 and the big 10 at 6 1/2. I’m not sure about the ages but know that they are in the old age group for this part of WV. My son is now fired up to hunt and his little brother isn’t far behind. My big buck hunting days may have to take a backseat to get these kids going strong on the addiction that so many of us feel chasing these wild beasts.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity!!
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flinginairos
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Re: 2017 deer season contest stories-post them here!

Postby flinginairos » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:40 pm

365” of Bone. My three buck year!

2017 started with a new fire I hadn’t quite experienced before. All the new found info I had learned about how to hunt mature bucks in their bedding areas had me itching to get out and find as many areas as possible so I was ready for the upcoming season!

Hours upon hours of cyberscouting, nearly 100 miles on my boots looking for bedding and sign had me extremely confident going into the early season!

Buck #1 -October 10th, 2017-
-I scouted this area out in March and found a great bedding area in a super thick logged-out hillside that borders some hardwoods with acorns to the North and East. This hillside and point at the end set up perfect for any wind from the W-SW.

-In July I hung a camera on a main trail coming from the bedding area and was surprised to see a big bachelor group of bucks using this area and mostly in daylight, but the odd thing....they were always there with a NE wind  

-Come Mid Sept the group split and only a few of the original group stayed, two of which I deemed shooters

-Fast forward to September 30th, our opening day. We have a great cold front and a NE wind which is PERFECT for accessing this spot and going by trail cam intel, when the bucks were using this area. That seemed odd to me, but I thought maybe they were traveling from the backside of the ridge so I figured a sit to see what was going on was in order. I slipped in early in the afternoon and climbed a good tree that should put me in the action. Well before dark I look behind me and there stands a nice eight point that had been bedded 40 yards from me the whole time! He was bedded on the lower transition line where the hardwoods meets the brush, wind to back facing uphill. I nearly got a shot at him but never had the right chance for a clean shot. That evening I saw four more smaller bucks get up from their bed in the same spot and got to watch the direction of travel which was along the transition. After seeing this I know exactly why they are bedded this way. Hunting pressure is usually at the top of the ridge and the few trees that have acorns are down lower. So by bedding low they are avoiding pressure and staying close to food.

The eight point is center of this photo. They love that bedding cover in this spot!
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-A few nights later we had the same wind and I go back. I wanted to setup farther out, closer to where I saw all of them travel but I just couldn't find a tree to get in, so I opted for my original tree. As I'm climbing, a limb falls from a tree 20 yards away from me and the second nice buck i'm after pops up out of his bed at 30 yards and walks right by me with my bow on the ground!! He had no clue I was there and for the second time I get away clean from the area with no shot presented. 

-I hunted another area with no luck and gave the area a break for a while, but I knew with another NE wind where I was going, and this leads me to the night of October 10th

I skip work early and i'm on my way to the tree by 3:30. Plenty of time to get setup. I make the climb up the first hill and start up the second, 100 yards or so out from the tree I want to get in and I jump the buck i'm after! He was bedded in a spot I hadn't seen him use before. Luckily he didn't really spook, just trotted off toward the area I was going. As soon as he was out of sight I moved quickly to my tree and climbed up using two Muddy sticks and my Aerohunter Kestrel saddle. My thought was that he may come back and bed on the next transition edge and watch his back trail. And that was one guess I was dead on with.....not ten minutes into getting in the tree I hear something below me and here he comes! My bow was still on the ground and my pack with camera gear on my back. I quickly jerked the bow up the tree and got an arrow nocked.

He comes up the thick logging road and at 40 yards beds down! Now I am stuck in a super awkward leaning sideways position with all my body weight on one leg. After a few minutes he gets up and i'm thinking "this is it, i'm gonna get my shot!" He walks toward me and hits my opening under 30 yards and just as i'm about to release he beds down again!! So here I am, stuck in a terrible way in the saddle and he's facing me. Thank God the wind was perfect and he was calm. I was able to shift my weight around a little and relieve the pressure on my leg but it was still brutal. I hung like that for over 30 minutes just waiting for him to stand.

As agonizing as it was it was pretty awesome to watch this buck so close bedded down and how he tested the wind that was coming over his back and turned his head at every little noise around him. At one point he reached back to lick himself and a small branch landed on his rack and that really annoyed him. It was at that point he stood to get that free from his antlers and gave me the chance I needed. 

At 24 yards he was in my peep and I had the pin buried in front of his shoulder to account for the 1/4 angle toward me. This is a shot i've taken numerous times and was comfortable with it so I sent the arrow on it's way only to watch in horror as it hit way right of where I was aiming!! The arrow entered tight behind the shoulder and exited low and back. I watched him hunch up and slowly walk away about 80 yards.

After about ten minutes he bedded and I had to decide whether to try and sneak up on him or just leave. As hard as it was I decided I needed to just back out.

At 6:30am the next morning I was back at the shot location extremely nervous about what I might find (or not find in this case). As it got light I started searching for blood and quickly realized there wasn't any! At that point it started raining as well and I just started searching in the heavy brush and grass for beds hoping to find him that way. After a couple hours of nothing I was really starting to doubt and the pouring rain wasn't helping my spirits either. Something was telling me I needed to push just a little farther from the last place I saw him so I started walking slowly, scanning every little hole and pocket of cover along the logging road. After 100 yards I looked to my left and was shocked to see a white belly and a rack!! I couldn't believe it!!

My shot was exactly like I thought it was and I don't think he had been dead for long. Looking back now I made the right decision to wait. I got him back to the house and quartered and luckily all the meat was fine!!

My tactics for this spot were aggressive but I knew with the hot temps I needed to be right in their bedroom and it paid off. Interesting thing is I hunted this spot three times and it seemed I never bothered the deer activity. Good access and only hunting the NE wind is surely the factor in that! 
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Buck #2 -October 28th, 2017-

My Ohio hunt started with a last minute decision to lease a 62 acre parcel right as season was opening up. The property just had that “bucky” look to it when I was cyber-scouting it and my first full day of boots on the ground confirmed that. In one day i walked the entire property, purposely hitting every possible bedding location to see if it was holding deer.

I followed a KILLER rub line along a ridge right to a 15 year old clear cut sitting on the leeward side of the ridge and almost immediately I jumped a good buck bedded right on the transition line! I marked that bed on my GPS, hung a trail camera on what I thought to be the main exit of the area and left.

Fast forward to the last weekend in October

We arrived at camp Thursday morning to our 62 acre lease and grabbed a few cameras that were close by. Several good bucks moving and a few in daylight! A nice cold front had just hit so our hopes were high. That first night I saw a 100" eight but that was it. Friday morning I changed areas and right at first light I had a 90" eight making a scrape 8 yards from me. That hunt was awesome! It was like a steady stream of bucks filtering right past my tree. I ended up seeing six bucks and two does all under 16 yards. Three of the bucks were 90-100"

Saturday we woke to heavy rain so we slept in. The rain was supposed to taper off and the wind had switched from SW to NW and the temp was dropping And I knew exactly where I needed to be. The main part of our property is a N-S running ridge, hardwoods on the West side, 15 year old clear cut on the East. I knew with that wind direction and the cold front I needed to hunt the bed I had previously marked on the GPS on my first scouting trip. With the trail cam pics of our main bucks all after dark on top of the main ridge I knew they were holding tight to that cover in the clear cut. I decided I would slip around it on the downwind side and the rain covered my noise perfectly. As I got close to the tree I wanted to use, three does jumped up and blew out of there. I didn't figure they hurt much so I grabbed the card from the camera right there and climbed up with my spikes and saddle. I hadn't checked this cam and I was excited to see what was on it! As I was going through the pics there's our #1 & #2 buck in the daylight! A few more pics later and there he is again before dark the day before! Now I'm REALLY pumped. It was drizzling rain and getting colder. Two does worked their way in and eventually busted me because of some swirling wind. It didn't really worry me, I just had that feeling that something was going to happen. At 5:20 I catch a glimpse of something moving and pull up the binos to see the end of a main beam! He steps out from behind a tree and I instantly knew he was the big nine we had pics of. Our #2 buck. He was calmly feeding my way and man did he look big walking through the timber! He was coming straight in behind me so I swung left with my feet on the edge of my platform and twisted all the way to the right. He kept coming slowly and just as he was about to step into my 22 yard lane I drew but the buck stopped!! He was starting to act a bit nervous and here I am at full draw with no shot. His head was behind a tree so I slowly let down. After a few minutes he goes to take another step and I draw again. He stops short of my lane again! I set the cam of the bow on my knee to help hold it and the standoff began. I sat like that for nearly three minutes and got to the point I couldn't hold it any more and let down slowly. When I did that another deer I hadn't seen behind me stomped and took off. At this point the buck turns to go back the way he came and I come to full draw again. I have one TINY little opening to shoot through and he stopped perfectly right in it. As quick as I needed to shoot I calmed myself, settled the pin and squeezed the release and watched the arrow hit exactly where I aimed with the sharp WHOP of a rib cage hit! He bolted down a ditch and up the other side where he stopped. I could see his tail flicking fast and then his rack went sideways and all went silent. I didn't see him fall but was pretty sure he was down for good!! I think I climbed the 20' down the tree in three steps with my spikes. I got to my arrow and it was soaked in blood. I looked up in the direction he ran and there he was! He fell right where I last saw him. Man what an awesome feeling to have a hunt come together like that. I'm pretty dang sure he was using the same bed I had marked a month earlier. My entry and wind were perfect, and it resulted in my first gross p&y buck! I'm very thankful!!
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Buck #3 -November 26th, 2017-

I'm still in shock. I've had a banner year as far as bucks go and I really thought my season was done after killing my best buck ever in Ohio on October 28th. 

The hunt started Friday afternoon. The wife and I decided we were going to backpack in on some private ground we have access to and hunt just to test some gear out and maybe kill a doe for the freezer and pack her out. We hiked a ways and quickly spotted a button buck feeding at 100 yards. My wife hasn't killed a deer in two years so she was ready to kill just about anything. After an hour of watching he finally offered her a shot and she nailed him with my 6.5CM right through the lungs. It was early in the afternoon so we got him quartered out and packed up and headed farther in to a nice spot on the creek to camp. We got set up and had some fresh backstrap over the fire.
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4:30 am the next morning and we were up and had our coffee and packed up ready to hike the ridge to a spot I have hunted in years past . It's basically a leeward ridge between two well know buck bedding areas. The wind was out of the S which is perfect for entry from below to catch any deer funneling back into bedding from the top flat. My goal was a nice doe but in the back of my mind I hoped the buck I had been after for two years would step out. Now, I have hunted for this buck in this area several times and never seen him. I have lots of trail cam pics and KNOW he likes to bed in the two bedding areas but never had any luck with him. My hopes of seeing him were honestly very low.

At 7:30 I spotted a fawn feeding down the ridge about 150 yards away. I watched it for a bit, but lost interest after a while and continued scanning the timber. At 7:45 I looked back to that spot and noticed a much bigger deer coming down the ridge. I didn't even pick up my binos I just got him in the scope, just in case. I saw a big frame and instantly knew it was a shooter. He cleared a few trees and I saw that is was HIM! The buck I am after! He was wide open and I had a solid rest so I quickly fired. He ran up the ridge and stopped like I missed him!!  He was craning his neck around a tree and all I could see was from the front shoulder up. I aimed dead center of his neck and squeezed it off. His legs folded and he went down hard!! I jumped up to go running to him the whole time my wife yelling "Slow the heck down I can't run that fast!!"  

I'm still in shock how it all went down and thankful to get him. A buck this size in my area is very rare. He missed 140" by 1/2". If this buck had kept his matching left side from the year before he would have been pushing 150". Truly a beautiful buck!

Key to my success here was simply hunting between bedding farthest from any human pressure. There has been heavy gun pressure in the area this year and several guys after this exact deer. I honestly felt a little bad texting a few guys letting them know he met his demise, but I am happy it was me that got to pull the trigger this time  
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My 2017 hunting season will be hard to top and I still find myself in disbelief of how the hunts worked out! All the planning, hours of scouting and executing each hunt like it was my only chance paid off in a way I won’t soon forget!

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