Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Second chance buck

On Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:15 PM I was sitting in my tree stand when I heard foot steps from a deer walking.  I looked back and saw a spike approaching.  Since this was the first buck I had seen in MA I wasn't about to pass him up.

I had shot a porcupine that had been pissing me off and I had thrown it in the brush.  During the night some animal had dragged it out of the brush and it was now in the spikes path.  As he approached he stared at the dead carcass and then veered off and circled around to look at it.  He was broadside at 21 yards and acting nervous about the dead critter.  No excuse I just blew the shot as the arrow sailed right over the top of his back.

The next afternoon I was back in the same stand when again I heard a deer approaching from behind.  I had seen 5 does and a button in the morning and I could tell this deer was alone so I thought it might be a buck.  I glanced back and watched this 4 PT clean a scrape, rub his head in the branches and then piss.  Once that was done he walked by me quartering away just slightly.  I slipped the arrow in a little far back and got guts but it came out on the other side through the last two ribs. 

I left him till morning but he had only gone about 75 yrads.  The coyotes had eaten the tail off and were just starting to pull at the fur when I found him.  He weighed 121 lbs.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Doe Tag

I've been racking my brain all bow season trying to figure out why there was such little sign in my favorite bow area that I've been hunting for the past 15 years.  Usually with some success, if not always an encounter.  Opening day I saw a decent buck and had another deer wind me, but after six or seven sits with quite a bit of scouting, I still couldn't figure out the pure lack of sign.  Of course there are no acorns which does not help and what little sign I did see, was immediately adjacent to a small green field that I could not set up near.
I had a feeling that the deer were feeding in some Ag fields across the street which also holds heavy cover.  But this is an area that I tend to stay away from as another hunter usually hits it.  I was happy to hear recently that he was booted from the property and I had a good relationship with the landowner and got permission for access.  So Saturday I am driving by this spot at 12:15pm and there are two small does standing in one of the fields that had winter spinach growing.  I had to get in there tonight!
At 2:30 I snuck in and got into a tree just off the back of the field and along a tremendous run that connected another field through an old orchard.  I quickly checked the field before climbing and it looked like an Alabama food plot loaded with tracks.  I finally figured out the puzzle!
At 4:30 I hear a deer slowly approached the field and out walks this mature doe.   Since I had a doe permit in my pocket and have not christened my new bow yet, this was a no-brainer.  I previously ranged the corner of the field at 36 yards which I felt very comfortable with.  She walked exactly to that spot and I stopped her with a quick mouth grunt.  I aimed a little high but watched the luminock fly through the air like tracer fire as it buried behind her shoulder.  She immediate turned and bolted through a ravine and towards a thick swamp as I watched from the tree.  After a few seconds I heard the crash of death, and then the quiet again.
Since it would soon be dark in a few minutes and I heard the crash, I decided to at least check the arrow and for blood.  Oddly enough, I found neither which caused me to get that feeling.  Did I just hit her shoulder??   I went to the spot where she ran back into the woods and saw the back 40% of my arrow sticking out of the leaves.  But still no blood.  After some coaxing from a friend and fear of losing this one to the coyotes, I decided to take a quick walk to the area where I heard the crash.  You could see where she kicked up the leaves while running but I still found no blood.  But just as it was getting dark and I was about to turn back for the night, my headlamp caught what I thought was the rump of a deer laying in the leaves.  As I got closer, the bad thoughts quickly turned to elation as she was already done.

She had gone about 75 yard and I was so surprised that my three blade rage did not make the hole as advertised.  The shot was good, a little high. But it took out the top of both lungs and the broadhead stuck in her opposite shoulder with no exit wound.  That explained the lack of blood.  It was all holding in her diaphragm.  But I was also disappointed to see that only one of the rage blades deployed.  Since this is the first deer i harvested with these broadheads, I have to review going back to the old reliable muzzy's.  But I must admit, I love the range and accuracy of these broadheads.  They went hand in hand with the reason why I got into a new bow this year.  Way too many missed opportunities from 35 to 45 yards in the past five years.  A few I will never forget.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Back in week one I posted a video of a huge 10 point that we now call Mr. Big. He is still around and we actually got a couple pics of him just the other day right near where I hit my buck. After looking at these pics, we believe this is the buck that we found the sheds for last year due to a flat spot, or start of a split g2 on the left side that can be seen in the pics. That same flat spot or start of a split  is also on the big sheds we recovered last year.


All this talk about the buck I hit has made me think about some of the other big bucks that are in the area that we have not seen. One of the biggest bodied deer we have is a buck that we have had pictures of for the last three years. He has nice horns this year but is just a 7 point.  We have captured his picture several times this year checking scrapes. The first two years we captured his picture his horns were a little odd, so we had named him "crook-ed". Here are some pics, the first as a six point is from 2010, the second is a video as an 8 point with crab claws from 2011, the third and fourth are videos from this year. The last one really shows how big this deer is.

Feeling better!

  So its now Saturday the 17th. After spending yesterday morning looking for my deer and not finding it, I was pretty depressed and I did not hunt today. My brother hunted this morning and when he was done he checked a couple cameras. Low and behold he got my buck checking scrapes at 4:40 yesterday evening (nov 16th). The scar from my shot can be seen, and the deer may have a slight limp, but other than that he seems to be doing just fine.
   The most interesting thing to me was the scar...the shot appeared to have hit exactly where I was aiming. He was standing facing me, when he turned his shoulders to his left he exposed his chest on the right side, and I tried to slip the arrow behind his shoulder. From a stand at 20yds distance. I must have just caught the edge of that shoulder blade (it's a game of inches). At least he is still alive and well, which I think is every hunters worst nightmare (to possibly kill a deer and not recover it...never-mind a big deer).

Week 3 Depression!

    So week 3 started out rainy and windy, but the weather cleared on Tuesday afternoon and the wind which had been blowing hard, calmed down, and shifted out of the north.With the winds shifting between NNE and NNW, I was going to be back in the treestand that I missed the 8 point out of.
   On Tuesday the weather cleared around noon and I felt good about deer movement so I headed out to the stand. That eve I had a lone adult doe walk out of the mountain laurel in front before dark. She was feeding, and came right into my mock scrape and offered a beautiful broadside shot (if I had a doe tag).
        I climbed back in on Wednesday morning and saw nothing, but had tracks all around the stand and in my scrape. I had no childcare for that eve so I did not hunt.
         On Thursday morning I headed back in, before light a deer came down off the hill behind me and walked inside of 20 yds directly in front of me...in the early morning darkness (I couldn't see a thing). I believe it was a buck due to its cadence, the fact that it didn't seem to care how much noise it made. During this dark encounter the wind was completely in my favor and I don't believe the deer had any idea that I was there. Later that morning I had  bobcat chase a snowshoe hair directly under my platform, and 20 minutes later the bobcat came back (empty-handed), and again walked directly underneath my stand. Although this wasn't a  deer, It was still pretty cool.
    On Thursday evening  I again had no childcare and was supposed to pick up my daughter. I just had a feeling: 1. I had a dark encounter that morn. 2. A friend had shot a 7 point this morn 3. Another friend had shot a nice 8 the night before...movement had been slow for weeks but definitely seemed to be picking up. I made a quick phone call to the the in-laws and had my daughter picked up so I could hunt.

THURSDAY Nov. 15th. Evening

I got into the stand at about 2:30pm, the weather was a cool 35 degrees and the wind was almost nothing out of the NNE. It was very quiet and as I sat I thought I could hear brush breaking out in the mountain laurel. As I chatted with a friend about the season via cell phone texting I mentioned to him that I thought there was a moose in the laurel. The area down in the laurel is a place that I have bumped moose out of before. The sounds happened periodically for the better bart of an hour or so. At around 4pm I again heard the loud sound of brush breaking, but this time it sounded a bit closer. I put the phone away and pulled out the calls. I gave a series of about 3 doe bleats, followed by about 5 soft grunts. After about 5 minutes went by I saw movement at about 100yds, I could see a very dark body on the edge of the laurel. I immediately became a little discouraged thinking that it was indeed a moose. The animal took a few steps toward me and raised its head, I quickly realized that this was not a moose, and was actually a big buck.
      As the buck got closer I recognized it as a big nine point that we had plenty of pics and video of. As it worked slowly closer and closer, I continued to scan ahead of the buck to see if he was going to make the necessary turns to put him in front of me. With every step it appeared he may get to me. There was one last turn he needed to make to get into range by passing inside of a particular pine tree. The run split at the tree, if he came on my side, he would almost definitely reach me, behind the tree and he would probably pass without a shot at out 40yds. He made the turn inside the tree and I knew I would probably get a crack, the problem was he was coming in straight at me.
     The buck worked to 35, 30, 25yds....I drew....20. He was now standing directly in front of me, facing me in my mock scrape. The problem was he was standing in chute of laurel with no where to go except directly toward me, or back the way he came. As I waited I decided I had to shoot (this was the biggest deer I have ever had in front of me)...and trust me that I know how bad a shot this is. I made the decision to shoot this deer in the center of the chest, just then he turn slightly to his left, exposing his right side slightly. I took aim and let go. The lumenock lit the way to a point on the buck right side shoulder (or so I thought).
    The deer whirled and took too large bounds and stopped about 50yds away. It looked to me as if the arrow went where I wanted it, but I did not see a lot of penetration. The deer limped away and was out of sight within a few minutes. Did I get penetration, did I get one lung, did I hit his shoulder...I didn't know but I did know that I was going to give him all night before I went looking. After a sleepless night I went back along with my brother and dad to see what happened. We found blood quickly and for about 100yds it was heavy...the depressing part to me was that there was no bubbles in the blood (which to me meant I probably did not reach a lung). we followed drops for the next 200-300yds. He never once bedded, or acted  hurt. At this point we had run out of options but had not found my arrow. I decided to go back to square one and look for the arrow. I found the arrow within 50yds of where the shot occurred. The arrow showed a whopping 4 1/2 inches of penetration and the broadhead was broken off. The insert and arrow were complete and the broadhead was broken off inside the insert. This told me that it must have lodged in something very hard ( a shoulder). This was the end of this search!
    This season went from bad...ie: not seeing any deer movement for the first week or more. To worse ie: missing the first deer I had seen by hitting a tree. To absolutely horrible ie: I just hit the biggest deer I have ever seen in the woods poorly, and did not kill him and possible even wounded him badly. Does it get any worse, as bad as this season has been for deer movement, if I had killed the two deer I had seen, I would have killed a nice buck and the buck of a lifetime. Do I need to say anymore? The nine point that I had hit, was the one pictured in the scrape from the week 1 update.
   I also found out that almost everyone who hunted this eve, had either got a shot, or had an encounter..the rut was finally on.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Week 2 Over!!

    Well, my second week of time off is over. The week was pretty slow, a nor-easter rolled through on Wednesday and Thursday stirring up some pretty good winds, and making hunting tough. Friday (Nov. 9th), following the storm things started to happen around the area. A couple friends were able to shoot a real nice 9 pointer 205lbs. They were filming the hunt and I will try and get a copy on here for everyone to see.
    On Saturday I jumped into a stand that I had just put up on the day of the storm. The stand is off the edge of a thick swamp and is also in-line with a finger of land that runs between two swamps. At 8am I finally heard the sound of foot-steps, and I was sure it was a deer. At 40yds I got my first glimpse and realized that it was a decent 8-pointer. He was going to pass in front of me at approximately 20yds. At 25yds he was quartering toward me slightly when he walked through wide open shooting lane. He was going to pass behind two huge pines that are just 5 yards in front of my stand. I figured I would use that as my opportunity to draw, and I did.
     As he began to clear the trees he was in the brush and he spotted a mock scrape I made when I set the stand. He went over to the scrape, the problem was he was still in the brush, and as he approached the scrape he became nervous. I'm not sure if he smelled me from a few days ago or what. I felt like I needed to make it happen now because he took a step backwards and appeared to be ready to bolt.There was a tiny hole between a small sapling and his front shoulder, and there was a piece of mountain laurel that i needed to shoot under. I took aim and released, I made it under the laurel, but I was about 1 inch right...and hit the sapling. So....no deer, hopefully things are picking up and maybe I can get a second opportunity. I believe we have the buck's picture several times and a couple videos of him, i've included one below.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Week 1 Over!!

Well my first week of time off is over and not only did I not shoot a deer, I didn't even see one. The rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy pushed out on Tuesday (the 30th), but the unsettled weather didn't push out until Thursday. A cold front pushed in last night (the 2nd). We figured the storm pushing out, and the cold front would put deer on their feet, that didn't happen. I know about 6 people who were at it hard this week and they all ended in the same boat as me. We had a couple of our biggest bucks on their feet prior to the storm but only late at night. We have had a couple random small bucks check scrapes but very sporadically, and only late at night. There has been almost no daylight activity despite almost perfect conditions following the storm. Hopefully the coming week will bring better results.