Since I got skunked this year, and didnt draw any of the local public land for a gun permit, I picked up an unclaimed permit to go back down there for the gun hunt, which opened this past Saturday. I convinced my wife I needed to go down Thursday night to bow hunt Friday before the gun opener. This is also the first year since 2001, that I have not harvested at least 1 deer before the first of November. Been seeing plenty, just never could put it all together. So, I figured I would try to change my luck by picking up the boom stick.
Drove down Thursday night and got camp set up in the dark. We have been hunting down there so long, I have so many stand areas marked on the GPS, it's more about picking one away from the crowd, than picking the right one. I made my mind up where I wanted to be and went to bed.
Got up super early for breakfast, a 4 mile ATV ride, and a little over half mile walk carrying all my stuff for an all day sit. Including my stand, and my kill kit (gotta remain optimistic, right?). I finally got my stand set, and ready to hunt at 0601. Legal shooting light was 0606, so just in time.
At 0700 I looked to my left, and here came a doe. A cow horn spike, with spikes about 14-16 inches long was pushing her around. She definitely didnt want any of what he was selling. Well, as she was trying to avoid him, she trotted within 10 yards of my tree. I stopped her, and drove the arrow through the top of the shoulder blade, close lung, severed the wind pipe, top of the heart, and bottom of offside lung. She ran about 40 yards and piled up!!!
She must have had something that spike wanted, as he came back to check if she was done napping 4 times. I got her checked in online, and shifted my focus. Before I got down to take care of her, I saw 4 different bucks, including a couple slammers. Nothing was responding to calling. I had planned to sit all day, but with temps in the upper 60s/low 70s I knew I needed to get her on ice. I knew I was going to miss some time in the tree, but just needed to bite the bullet and make it happen. Of course, as I descended the tree, a nice buck busts me.
I got her back to camp, and in the cooler. Had a quick snack and drink, then back at it. I moved my stand about 250 yards on in deeper in the woods. This tree is typically a good afternoon tree, and is always a good gun tree. When I got to the base of the tree, I saw a button buck at about 50 yards feeding. Decided to just chance it, and get set. Got set right at 1:00, and just as I sat down, a really nice buck worked a scrape about 70 yards to my East. Didnt respond to any call I had. Between 1:00 and 5:00 I saw 6 different bucks cruising. All inside of 80 yards. Nothing responding to calling at all. I figured I would be in great for gun opener though.
About 15-20 min before the end of shooting light, two buttons and a doe start moving through at about 40 to my North. The doe was getting pushed by a buck I couldnt get a good look at, and they both moved off to my west. The buttons proceed to have a knock-down drag out fight 30 yards from my tree. They were whipping each other all over the place. Could not believe what I was watching. So cool seeing a buck fight, but to see two button bucks doing it was just surreal. What made it even more surreal, was watching that scene, but not hearing antlers crashing together. There was no noise, except the leaves getting kicked up. Well, one of them finally "whipped" the other one. The “winner” ended up walking under my tree feeding on acorns, while the "loser" fed about 40 yards away. They were tiny. This stand was only about 15 feet up because of the thick canopy. Any higher and you cant see anything. I thought for sure he was going to pick me off, but just kept eating feeding.
Well, the loser was feeding along, and all the sudden he takes off tail between his legs. The button under me goes on full alert. I was trying to figure out what just happened, when I looked to my north east and saw him coming through the brush like he owned the woods. The button under me made a wide circle to the South to avoid him. Real wide, dark horned 8 point walking right to me. As I came to full draw, he turned and paralleled me at 15 yards. When he hit the first opening, I tried to stop him, but he didn’t even slow down. He cleared a little more stuff into the wide open, so I grunted a little louder, and he stopped.
Perfect double lung at 15 yards!!! That Simmons tree shark put a hurtin on him! He ran about 80 and piled up!!! Ended up shooting him 10 minutes before the end of legal light. Tagged out (on this piece of public) before the gun season even opened. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What an amazing day in the woods! The good Lord definitely showed me some favor! I did a quick measurement before I took him to get a euro done. 110 1/8, with a 20 inch spread. This is where people typically apologize that their buck isnt as big as what normally is posted, but I dont even care. He got my heart racing, than will feed my family!
What a cool buck and a cool day! I boned him out, and put him on my pack frame. I still had to stop every couple hundred yards to take a break. He was HEAVY! I'd guess him right at 200 live weight. Now my freezer will not look quite so barren!! Oh, and sorry for the crappy pics. I always tell myself to take better pics, but never do.
Btw, taxidermist turned my buck quick. I'm very happy with it!
You figured right. Everyone who comes to Bowsite loves reading hunting stories. Grats on your hunt!