Saturday, October 12, 2013

151" 11 Point Archery Buck on Public Land

Saturday, October 5th, I was working and Matt was in the deer stand. We were texting back and forth as he passed the time and I was wishing I was there. At 9:30, I receive a message stating he just had a huge buck walk out at 40 yards and angle away from him, never presenting a shot. Matt said he could've been a 12 point and it appeared like he had some non-typical points off his antler bases. We immediately put a plan together to ambush him the next day with our stand selection.

Sunday morning was cold for the beginning of October at 45 degrees with a windchill flirting with the high 30's. I convinced myself to get out of bed. When cold fronts push through, you have to get in the stand. I meet Matt at our typical prep spot. He brought Mike, his soon to be brother-in-law, to hunt as well this morning. Mike was going to sit where Matt had been the morning before. I had trouble making up my mind as to which stand I was going to sit in. We have 2 trees 70 yards apart in a bottom. I made up my mind to hunt the one that I shot my 7 point out of last November. I get setup in the tree 20 minutes before shooting light. I have my camera with me, but this tree just doesn't allow for self filming due to the paths the deer use and the camera arm preventing certain shots with a bow.

As the sun came up, it was cold. Fog rolled in and the wind picked up out of the Northwest as planned. Matt was about 400 yards to my Northeast and Mike was 200 yards to my East. The wind began to swirl where I was and I started to question sitting there. Knowing the wind was going to be about 15mph eventually, I stuck it out. The morning was uneventful for all 3 of us until 9:15 when Matt had a 4 point walk almost directly under him. We were all surprised with the weather being what it was, that we weren't covered up with deer. At 9:50, Matt and I decided to give it another 20 minutes, then call it a morning.

At 10:00am, I put my bow on a gear hanger and grabbed my drink. As I had the drink to my mouth, I hear a stick snap. I look to my right, mid-drink pose, and see a 2.5 year old 6 point. I quickly made the decision to pass, but also to put my drink back in my backpack. As I released my grip from the drink, the 6 point gets spooked and takes a few bounds to my East. Movement in the direction the 6 point had come from catches my attention and all I can see is antler, 15 yards away, following the 6 point to the East. I grab my bow and pull it next to my chest. The two bucks stop behind a group of trees and thick brush. My safety harness is wrapped around my right-side, forcing me to turn 270 degrees instead of 90. I slowly turn to my left, having to turn my back on the deer for a second. I quietly cursed my decision to wear the harness.As I spun, the 6 point abruptly turned South and bounded through the last shooting lane the deer would intersect on their path. I knew I had no time to lose. The 6 point stopped at the far edge of the shooting lane. I smoothly drew my bow as the large buck began to enter the shooting lane, broadside. I put my 20 yard pin on his chest, just above his elbow. Knowing the small buck was spooked, I was not going to attempt to stop the large buck. As I squeezed my release, he stopped, at 25 yards, broadside. I hesitated for a second, verifying my pin placement. My index finger curled, releasing the arrow. I watch the arrow head for it's mark through the sight. I hear a solid "thwack" as the arrow passes through the buck's chest.

The bucks tear out of there, running through waist-high grass, and disappearing to the south. I tried to listen for their movement, straining to hear anything to give me confirmation as to my shot placement. The woods are quiet as I begin to fall apart. I hadn't had time to process what was happening prior to the shot, instincts had taken over. My safety harness assisted in keeping me stable as my knees became weak. My eyes watered as I whispered a "thank you" to the Lord. I try to call Matt, but cell phone reception prevented the conversation from happening, so I shoot him a text. "Uh, I'm going to need help". He asks if I got one, to which I reply, "Yeah, he's big". I let my bow down from the tree and begin to get situated for my decent when I spot movement to my West. A 4 point is quartering toward me at 20 yards. I pull out my phone to snap a few pictures as he makes his way under my stand. He almost steps on my bow. He jumps up and back at the same time, not knowing what it was. Another 4 point appears 30 yards behind him. For the next 5 minutes, the 2 small bucks work their way around me, following the same path as the deer I just shot. Then angling toward Mike. I text him to let him know then I began to climb down from the tree.
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I find my arrow, and confirm it is covered in dark blood. I set my bow down and head to meet Mike and Matt. I relay the story to Mike and Matt as I set my gear down and we head back to the arrow. The blood trail is slow to start with a few drops here and there. I grow concerned as the next 50 yards pass and we are still only finding small areas of blood spray. As we enter a more wooded area, we find where the wound has opened up, leaving much more blood behind. We hit a dead end at the edge of a thicket. I backtrack a few yards, and see where the buck made an abrupt left turn. We've already trailed 150 yards. Pools of blood cover the leaves. I look up to verify my path and spot the white of the inside of his legs. As I make my way to him, I am in awe of the rack. The shot had happened so fast, I hadn't been able to count the points, but I knew he was bigger than any other buck I've killed.
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After I caped him out and the meat was safely in the cooler, I went to the store and purchased a flexible measuring tape. I looked up the measurements to take on a rack and started putting the tape to him. The gross green score totaled 151 inches. I was shocked when I saw the total. What a trophy. I couldn't be more proud. The taxidermist began to skin him out while I was there and gave me a look at the teeth. The Taxidermist aged him at 6 1/2 years old. I'm sure I'll still be smiling 6 months from now when I pick him up from the Taxidermist.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oklahoma Predator Tournament

On February 16th, my alarm blared at 3:30am. No matter what time you go to sleep, 3:30am is hard to deal with. I had been invited to film a 3-man team during the Oklahoma Predator Hunt Tournament. The team was forming almost two hours north of my house, so I had to get an early start. The air was bone-chilling as I got in the truck. It's amazing how dark the side of the highway is at that time of morning when the city is in your rear-view mirror.

I met with Tyson, Jerimy, and Jesse at 6am. We exchanged introductions and headed to the first set. I setup almost 200 yards away from the team as they started calling. I started to hone in on an area that looked like a predator's sanctuary  15 minutes into the set, I had turned the camera off to save the battery as this was going to be a 12+ hour hunt. As I scanned the treeline, I hear the crack of a rifle. The coyote had come in from the due north on the other side of a slight berm, blocking my view. The small female was the first to succumb to lead traveling at high velocities.
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After one set and a kill, hopes were high as we setup on a fence-line a few miles away. We were calling into a draw with a small pond 150 yards in front of us. Behind us was a large, freshly plowed, field. A road was just beyond the field, with another large field on the other side that had a rise a 100 yards further creating the horizon at roughly 350 yards. The three hunters setup along the fence, each separated by 100 yards. Tyson began the set with a rabbit in distress. Not two minutes into the set, I caught a coyote trotting over a hill to our right and into the draw. As he was headed to the pond, we waited for him to appear. Several minutes later, Tyson switched to a coyote howl, hoping to challenge the dog. As he was calling, Tyson looked behind us and caught a glimpse of two dogs working the field on the other side of the road. We turned our attention to them, but with such a wide open expanse of land between us and them, it was in vain. The dogs chose to disappear into a thicket in an area eroded by water runoff. All three dogs locked up, and although we moved several hundred yards down the fence-line and attempted a few more calls, they were not tempted enough to present a shot.

We headed to some land that was setup as a deer hunter's dream. The fields were planted and green with elevated box blinds built for comfort on long hunts. There was a mix of draws, flatland, and old hardwood bottoms. As we drove through the edge of a field, toward our targeted area, there was movement on a rise 250 yards in front of us. Jesse threw the truck in park as a bobcat was moving through the field. We all got out quickly with me trying to get the camera on the cat. The lens was zoomed all the way in as I tried to find the feline in the viewfinder. Suddenly, a shot went off as Jerimy could no longer contain himself and sent a round down-range at the cat. A puff of dust kicked up and the bobcat took off like lightening. Jesse couldn't believe that the cat, who was seemingly unaware of our presence, was missed. Bobcats in the tournament were worth 2 points and sure to get a team in the running for a top placement. The group decided to setup in a green field to the west were the cat had made his escape route. As we entered the tree-line on the edge, an old doe in the hardwood bottom opposite of us flagged and took off, with another 2 deer following her lead. Tyson made his calls to no avail, the bobcat was gone and given the presence of bedded deer, coyotes were not likely around. After 30 minutes, we packed up to head to another location.

Throughout the day, we made set after set trying to get on the predators, but the wind had picked up to 25mph or so, which made calling and scent control difficult. The guys had several friends who were in the tournament providing updates on their predator counts via text. Upon learning that two other groups had 5 and 7 coyotes down, it was determined that everyone making the 2 hour drive to the check-in with 1 coyote would do nothing but burn gas and we were all rather exhausted from burning the rubber on our boots all day. It was almost dusk when we agreed to part ways for the day. Jesse and Tyson were going to make one more stand on their way home. They headed back to the same spot where we had made our fourth stand that morning. I had been on the highway for about 10 minutes when I received a text from Tyson with a picture attached. They had coaxed a dog in immediately and put a good shot on him.

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I want to thank Tyson, Jerimy, and Jesse for allowing me to tag along while they chased predators around the countryside.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One Shot, One Kill

The day before the opening of rifle season found Matt, Mark, and I packing up to head north. We had made a scouting trip on Labor Day and setup a few stands and felt good about our chances.

Saturday morning we were up early and headed to our stands. The main road heading to the area was closed for repairs and caused us to follow the detour. During this excursion, you could see the train of vehicles forming behind us as everyone headed to the woods. Matt and I decided to share a stand for filming purposes. Even though it was the middle of November, we had a strong south wind gusting up to 40mph. No matter how you dress, that type of wind will cut right through you. As the sun rose, a doe and a fawn fed off the ridge, barely visible in the shrinking shadows. Although both Matt and I were looking to fill doe tags, we were there for two days and not 5 minutes into the season, so we passed as they moved through at 60 yards. An hour passed and another doe snuck out of the wood-line at 130 yards. Mark was 300 yards to our South and the doe was directly between us. We all kept an eye on her, hoping she would lure a buck. Several minutes passed and she got spooky, heading back into the woods. Another hunter appeared 225 yards to our West, spotted us, and disappeared back into the woods. Mark was seeing deer after deer, yet Matt and I's sit was uneventful beyond this point. Around 11am, my back was killing me from poorly placed support bars on the back of the stand, so I got down to stretch out in the 5 foot tall grass below us. Another 30 minutes passed and we found ourselves heading back to the truck for lunch.

After lunch, we found 2 other hunters sitting in the area I was going to cover, so Matt and I decided to head further South to try an ambush in the bedding area. We found an opening in the bedding area along a ridge about 150 yards deep by 175 yards wide. It was 2pm, so Matt took a nap while I kept an eye on the area. When he woke up, I gave in to the early morning and fell asleep. As I started to sit up from my nap, Matt whispered, big deer!. I slowly grabbed the camera and turned toward where he pointed only to see a tail flagging as it disappeared into the brush. The deer was to our North with a South wind. We had counted on the deer coming from the Southeast. As we were facing East  and sitting against a ridge, darkness crept in well before the end of shooting light. Matt got up and crept over the ridge looking back West. He spotted a decent buck as it snaked through the grass. The distance between them was only 100 yards, but the sun was dropping faster than the temperature and judging the size of the buck's rack was near impossible, so he passed on the shot.

Sunday morning, I sat where the hunters had been the previous evening, Matt was 600 yards to my Southwest and Mark was 400 yards to my South-Southeast. Right at dawn, a doe creeped into my shooting lane at 80 yards, but she was nervous with her gaze constantly returning to where she had come from. As I was hoping for a buck, I let her continue on the trail that would give me a shot for the next 200 yards. She had only made it 10 yards before she darted off the trail and into the woods. Nothing ever appeared from behind her. I was facing directly into the wind and tears were forming from it's sting. Matt text me that he was going to still hunt as another hunter had setup a ground blind 60 yards from his stand. Matt kept me updated as he jumped deer after deer in the thick scrub brush. My mind started wondering why I was sitting in the wind with no deer movement and he was jumping multiple bedded deer. I had just text him that I was going to still hunt the other direction when I noticed a glint of something in the weeds. As I was bringing my gun up, I saw a buck's rack moving through the weeds. I pushed my magnification on the scope up, but couldn't find the buck. I dropped the magnification some, found him, and pushed it back up. As I settled the crosshairs on his chest at 230 yards, he started to trot. He was already providing a quartering away shot, and even though he was a big, mature 8-point, when he started trotting, my finger pulled off the trigger and I watched him disappear to the South. 10 minutes later, I hear a shot from Mark's location that startled me. I knew the buck I just saw was dead. Matt headed to his dad's location while I stayed seated, hoping they might push a deer to me with no luck. As they approached, I packed up and we got the deer cart from the truck. As we made our way to the downed buck, we saw rub after rub. I quit counting after 15 in the first 150 yards. The buck's shear body size was incredible for an Oklahoma deer. His swollen neck still showed his pride. It was the same buck I didn't get a shot on. His mass reached throughout him beams. Mark gutted him and we got him on the deer cart. Even with the cart, it was no easy task to move this 182lb beast the three quarters of a mile back to where we could get the truck.

Mark-Buck-2012 Mark-Buck-2012

After spending a day and a half in stand with warmer weather and the wind picking up, we decided to pass on the evening hunt and head home as the thought of a 3 hour drive wore on us.

Matt decided to head back to the same area on Thanksgiving day. I had family obligations, but entertained him via text as he passed on several does and smaller bucks. As the sun was setting, he spotted movement 200 yards away in the 6 foot tall grass. The tines of the rack were the only visible indicators that the deer was on the move. The path he was on was going to bring him by the stand at 170 yards, slightly quartering away. The buck was on a mission with a goal in mind, so when Matt attempted to stop him, he slowed slightly, but would not stop. Matt's crosshairs settled behind his shoulder and the rifle barked. The buck kicked his back legs, tucked his tail, and bounded 30 yards before succumbing to the wound. Matt didn't even realize how many points the buck had until he walked up on it as the scene had unfolded quickly. The 10 points are amazingly symmetrical with his main beams attempting to touch each other. As he loaded the buck on the deer cart, a group of hogs moved in at 70 yards. As daylight had faded, Matt could only work his way around the hogs, making his trek 200 yards longer as he pushed through the swamp grass and over a steep hill. Matt made it back home around 10 that night and his dad was able to provide some decent pictures. Matt, although excited, doesn't smile for hunting pictures. The rack taped out at 137" 7/8. Not bad for public land and a do-it-yourself hunt.



The rest of deer season has been quite uneventful with the moon, temperatures, and drought all working against us. Duck season will be challenging.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gear Review - The Tree Sledge

A few months ago, The Will To Hunt had several drawings for Muddy Outdoors Products. We won one of those drawings for a Tree Sledge. We wanted to try it out and give it a review.

Upon opening the Tree Sledge, you'll notice the solid feel from it's one-piece construction. The magnet built in to the slot on the backside of the Sledge secures tree steps nicely and it does not feel as though a step may slip out. The sheath is a nice touch as you usually have your hands full when setting up stands. The bright orange, although it is Muddy's signature color is perfect should you drop the Sledge while setting up a stand as it will stand out from all foliage and underbrush. One addition I might suggest after using the Tree Sledge is some non-slip construction on the handle, whether rubber, athletic grip-tape, or otherwise, as you will typically be sweating while setting up stands in the warmer months and it will prevent possible slipping of the Sledge in your grip (we did not experience an issue with this, just an item of note).

In testing the Tree sledge, we used Ameristep screw-in tree steps. The tree we chose to perform the review on is a Scrub Oak. Native to Oklahoma and extremely tough wood, it seemed only right to test the Sledge on the toughest tree we commonly set stands in. Upon swinging the Sledge at the tree, we did notice some bounce back of the step. This appeared to be due to the toughness of the type of tree chosen. After a few swings, it became apparent the step was not seating itself deep enough to start to screw in. Had the step been sharper, or the tree not as hard, it would have seated just fine. I did grab a hammer to assist in digging the step into the tree. With the sledge in place, my fingers were safely out of the way of the hammer and it gave a larger surface to hit versus the step itself. After a few light taps, I was able to use the Tree Sledge to wrench the step into the tree without an issue. The leverage the Tree Sledge provides is great and it saves your hands a lot of abuse while getting the job done quickly. I look forward to putting this tool to a lot of use this Spring and Summer as we hang new stands and reposition our current ones.

We did a video review so that you can see it in action.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Completed Euro Mount with Step-by-Step Instructions

I got this great 7 point on public land November 4th at 35 yards with my bow and decided to do my own euro mount to save money and take on a project I've wanted to complete for some time now.



I started by skinning the head within a few hours of the kill. With the muscles and skin still warm, it was pliable and much easier to work with and remove. I used a filet knife to help skin it out. The nose area is tricky as it's mostly cartilage and easily cut. The same with the eye sockets, so be careful what you trim. I nicked mine up pretty good as I was a bit too aggressive with the trimming. The eyeballs are a pain, but with a screwdriver, you can ease them out a bit, then make your cuts around them with the filet knife to remove them. The more meat that is removed now will make your life easier later.

After skinning the head.


I filled a 5 gallon bucket with just tap water and soaked the skull for 24 hours.


After 24 hours, I pulled the skull out and used a screwdriver to remove as much of the brain as possible. The brain has started to liquefy, but the outer casing of the brain, if you will, is still somewhat attached.


I soaked him for another 24 hours before getting my wife out of the house so I could start boiling the skull. I filled the pot with water, placed the skull in, then set the burner to high. At this point, I added a few drops of dawn dish soap to help with the smell that I knew would occur but also to help cut the grease and fat off the skull. Upon review, I would suggest covering the bases of the antlers in saran-wrap and aluminum foil to prevent the darkening that occurs as the boiled water soaks the antlers. Also, wrap the section of the antler that will touch the pot in aluminum foil to prevent the direct contact with the heat. If the antlers are not large enough to hold them out of the water, use a wire hanger, and gently wrap it around the antler bases then attach it to the handles on the outside of the pot to hold it up.


After an hour, the water finally started boiling. I turned it down a bit as I wanted a slow boil. There was some random junk that had started to float, so I skimmed it out with a fork. Another hour later, I added about two cereal bowls full of water to maintain the water level. The water will start to boil again in about 5 minutes.

After 3 hours of boiling you could tell stuff was loosening off the bone and I used the fork to pull some of it away. 3 hour mark:


After 4 hours, I pulled the pot off the burner and headed for the garage. 4 hour mark:



I disconnected the lower jaw to get it out of the way and used a flat-head screwdriver, needlenose pliers, and an exacto knife to start pulling/peeling/cutting away the meat and whatnot. The fork came in handy for the larger chunks in gently pulling them away from the bone. The pliers and screwdriver helped in clearing the brain cavity pretty well. After about an hour, I am left with this:


As it was getting late, I placed the skull back in the 5 gallon bucket overnight to keep it from drying out.

The next night, I boiled the skull for another 4 hours, again with some dish soap. I picked away quite a bit after the two hour mark. Here are some pictures after the second boil.




I picked away for about 10 minutes with needle-nose pliers and those mini-screwdrivers you need all of once a year if you don't wear glasses. I hooked up the garden hose and use the "jet" setting on the nozzle. I proceeded to bathe myself and the skull as the contours would redirect water right at me, but it was warm last night, so no big deal. While spraying, focus on the brain cavity and hold the nose up. This will allow you to pull out the remaining parts of the brain with the needle-nose pliers. I probably sprayed the skull down for 15 minutes making sure I caught every part. The most difficult area to clean out was the nasal cavity like I expected. The nasal cartilage in the center of the nose needs to be removed (see pics for how it should look after it is removed). The cartilage and meat go so far back that it's impossible to get out with tools. This is why I started spraying the skull within 15 minutes of pulling it out of the boiling water, as the cartilage and meat were still very pliable. Spraying into the nasal cavity from below the skull (the opening in the roof of the mouth) while loosening what I could through the entrance of the nasal cavity where the nose was with pliers. Eventually the bits should slide out of the nose intact.

After spraying, I spent another 20 or so minutes picking at the skull to remove any remnants that could eventually rot/smell/etc. Now is the time to go over the entire skull and check for any remaining meat.




Ready for the peroxide bath:


Here's a tip, make sure the container you are going to use doesn't leak before dumping in the peroxide. Be very careful of the level of the peroxide as it will bleach the antlers. You can again use saran wrap around the bases of the antlers and secure it with tape if you want to be very sure not to get the peroxide on them. I used 2 of the larger bottles of peroxide and added water to bring the level to just below the antlers. Every few hours, I would take a paint brush, dunk it in the peroxide, and lightly brush the top of the skull that was not submerged. Be careful not to use much pressure on the brush as it will splatter peroxide onto the antlers and your clothes.

Hydrogen Peroxide

I pulled him out of the peroxide after 24 hours and think I'm good with calling him complete besides brushing his teeth.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mature Public Land Buck Down

November 4th, Matt and I decided to hunt out of the same tree for filming purposes. As we headed to our area, we couldn't decide where to sit. The fact that the sky was turning blue pushed us to our closest stand. The tree is pretty small in diameter, so Matt hooked his climber up and went as high as he could, I followed suit and had mine directly below his where I could stand and not hit his foot platform. This only put me 10 feet off the ground. I had set out 3 scent canisters with doe estrous hoping to draw in a buck looking for an early doe. The wind was out of the northwest and the temperature was around 38 degrees.

Shortly after shooting light, I saw movement to our south. I couldn't tell if it was a doe or a buck, so I grunted. Since Matt had already taken a doe during muzzleloader season, I handed him the camera. Neither of us could spot the deer and we spent 20 minutes watching the area for movement. Eventually, we determined the deer had moved off and we started talking. Typically, in this stand, the deer movement happens around 9am, and with the time change, we expected 8am to be the time for deer to move through.

At 7:30, I use my doe bleat. 5 minutes later, a small 8 point came in. Neither of us were going to shoot a smaller buck this year, so we watched as he fed through at 10 yards. The buck walked directly under a scent canister without so much as lifting his head to check it. As he moved off to the south, it seemed as though he got wind of the scent and milled around a bit, but continued to work off to the south. 5 minutes after he disappeared, I bleated 3 times. Matt and I were talking when I looked to the west. There, at 40 yards, was a large buck looking directly at us. I told Matt to not move and get the video camera going, there's a big buck behind him. He whips his head around and sees the buck. Matt tells me he's not filming, but taking a shot with his bow. I replied, "whoever gets the shot first, takes it." The buck works his way through the brush from the west to the southwest, circling our stand. As he's behind a large brush pile, I draw. Matt draws his bow as the buck begins to move again. The buck spots the movement and stops, staring at our tree. What felt like an eternity passed before he continues down the trail. I had previously ranged this shooting lane at 35 yards as it's the same spot I missed a doe 2 weeks prior. I managed to keep my composure, not giving in to buck fever as the buck emerged in the shooting lane. I was lined up, following the buck with my pins on his chest as he walked through the shooting lane. The only thing I forgot was to bleat at him to get him to stop. My brain had quit functioning after I reached full draw. Matt let's out a bleat which snaps me back into reality and the buck stops. My 30 yard pin was high on his chest with the 40 pin near the bottom of his heart. When the buck stopped, I squeezed my release and watch the arrow in take off in slow motion. Life was now playing frame by frame. The arch of the arrow is on target when the sound every bow hunter loves, breaks the silence. THWACK. The fletchings disappear into his chest and he tears off into the thick stuff. I hear Matt say some colorful words about me shooting so quickly as we listen to the buck blazing a trial. "You literally shot him out from underneath me" he says. He circled back to our west, 20 yards further out then where we had originally seen him and his legs started to give out, as did mine. He gets back up, makes two more lunges to the west, and crashes. I lose my composure and set my bow down, getting a firm grip on the stand and what just happened.

A few minutes pass with my gaze set intently on the buck. Matt and I trade verbal jabs and enjoy the moment of success. Successfully killing a large buck with your best friend there to witness it only added to the experience. My composure returns and I lower my bow. After I get my climber removed from the base of the tree, Matt tosses me the video camera. We wait about 15 minutes before going to retrieve my arrow. We find it under a bed of leaves, stained completely red. We look for a blood trial for several minutes, but to no avail. I'm scratching my head as I knew it was a good shot, the arrow is covered in blood, but no trail. We trail deer even when we see them crash to maintain our tracking skills. Not wanting to bust up the area with our scent any more, we go back to our stands and I grab my bow to be safe. As we approach the fallen buck, the dark antlers emerge from the brush and it's apparent he's expired. I set my bow down and grab my trophy. All the hard work before the season to scout, clear stand locations, and go further than the other hunters on public land have culminated into this moment. We guess the buck at 3 1/2 years old and a broken off G3 tine on his right side makes him a large 7 point. He had the remains of a ravaged tree in the base of his antlers and his tarsals were starting to darken. The only blood around was at his mouth. We drag him two hundred yards and gut him. There is a perfect broadhead cut through his left lung, with the right lung decimated. Due to his body size and a slightly high shot, all the blood was held within his chest cavity instead of spilling from the entry and exit wounds. After an extremely long drag, we get him to the truck and make our way to Matt's dad's house to weigh him. Even gutted, he weighed 150 pounds, which is huge for this area of Central Oklahoma. The inside spread of his rack is 14 5/8" with an outside spread of 17".



I decided to attempt my own Euro mount of the skull and will have a "how to" writeup posted once completed.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Starting to See Some Action

October 21st, Matt and I headed out to a stand we scouted just before the season. None of us have sat in the location. We picked what we expect to be the perfect wind and both climbed the same tree. At daybreak, a flock of crows found an owl not far from us and went crazy. For no less than 30 minutes, we couldn't hardly hear each other talk as the crows scolded the owl. During this time, I spotted a deer coming down the hill toward us from the Southeast. I saw that it was a doe and shortly behind her, another doe appeared. They worked there way toward us and stopped at 40 yards. I could see they were getting antsy, and one flagged and trotted back up hill. A minute later, the second doe followed. We had a South wind at 5mph, but, with the air warming in the morning, and the wind being light, I could guess it was swirling some and the does picked it up. About an hour and a half later, a deer was heading our way from directly south of us. He ended up being a 3-point that offered multiple shot opportunities. I drew on him for practice and held for about a minute. In doing this, it helps me solidify my shot sequence when the opportunity presents itself. The buck fed on acorns at 12 yards for 15 minutes as Matt and I watched. He looked up at us a time or two and went back to feeding. He eventually turned around and retraced his original path as he left.

October 28th Matt was with his Dad muzzleloader hunting near Kansas. I stayed behind and hunted our usual areas with my bow. A cold front moved through and I knew the deer would be on their feet. The first hour and a half were uneventful and the tree rocking in the wind threatened to put me to sleep. Just after 9:00am, I heard something crashing through the woods heading toward me. 2 does explode from the scrub brush and into an opening 40 yards away, nervously looking behind them. I knew what to expect and had my bow ready. The does trotted another 30 yards to the East, but I was focused on where they'd come from. A few seconds pass, and I can make out a figure moving through the woods. A buck emerges on the same trail as the does, again, 40 yards away. He appears to be an 8 point, but slightly basket-racked. I'd imagine he was a two year old due to his size, build, and that he's chasing does early. The does continued off into the woods away from me while the buck finds some low hanging branches to thrash. I watched as he made a scrap, then I grunted at him. Even though he was marking his territory, he looked my way, then turned to follow the does. I grunted again, to no avail. 10 minutes later, I hear footsteps behind me. I turn and see a hunter attempting to "still-hunt" through the woods. I whistle at him and he stops. I wave to let him know I'm there and thankfully he turned around and disappeared the way he'd come. Another hour passes before I spot a doe moving to my Northwest. She eases by at about 45 yards and circles to my South without ever getting closer. As I'm watching her, I notice the same buck is about 80 yards behind her, but again, out of range. I grunted again, and he stops. After a few moments of glaring in my direction, I snort-wheeze. He's not impressed by this and follows the doe out of sight.

Matt successfully harvested a doe while muzzleloader hunting at 60 yards. No larger bucks presented him an opportunity. Mark, Matt's Dad, having already taken 2 does this year, was holding out for a buck. He saw several great bucks, but they were around 200 yards. The next day, he eased into the wood-line within 75 yards of where the bucks had been passing the previous 2 days. A few hours into his hunt, he caught movement in the woods and brought his binoculars up to check the size of the deer. He saw plenty of antler and prepared for the shot. The buck was in a hurry and was not going to slow down. Mark took care in his shot placement and pulled the trigger. The buck took off, but did not make it far before crashing. From looking at his teeth, he appears to be a great 2 year old, possibly a 3 year old.

The bucks are starting to move!