Maryland Girl’s First Bow Buck

Today’s guest blog from our friend Danny Myers:

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My daughter Lexi had reached the point that all of us have reached at some point in our hunting lives. It was several weeks into the season, and she still had not had a deer within bow range.  On top of that the temperatures had been in the upper 80′s for the last week or so.  She was frustrated and so was I.  We decided to take a week off and according to the cameras, we didn’t miss anything.

Finally the temperatures broke, and it started to feel like fall again.

It took about a 10-minute lecture convincing her to go that night, but afterward, she was happy she did.

We were running late and didn’t settle into the tent blind until around 6:15.  But we had some does coming in by 6:45, so must have sneaked in quietly enough.  They kept looking behind them and I told her that something else was coming.

After a few minutes, a small 4-point followed the does in.  I reminded Lexi of our conversation earlier, when I’d explained we weren’t trophy hunters, and that we know some families who would really appreciate the meat.  She nodded and got ready for a shot. As the 4-point closed the distance, he paused at about 40 yards.

That’s when I saw another buck coming in from our left.

Then the fun began.  For the next 15 minutes this deer stared straight at us, only breaking his glare when taking a step. I must have told Lexi “don’t move” at least 20 times. I have never seen a deer so focused on something and not have him run away.

The smaller 4-point did run off and came back two different times. I was certain that this buck was going to spook also. And then he did. He flinched and leaped to our right. But then he stopped.  He turned around and slowly walked toward us!

It was the break we needed.  I had previously ranged this spot at 23 yards. I whispered “top line” twice…Lexi listened, and made the perfect broadside shot. (Top line refers to the top line in the scope; we had practiced this on target at different ranges.)

We saw the buck go down within 60 yards.

Both of us were shaking and had tears in our eyes.  I tried to tell Lexi that it was my allergies, but she knew better.  She gave me a huge hug and thanked me for convincing her not to give up. I can’t describe the pride I felt tonight.  It exceeded any rush that I have ever had with any deer I killed myself.  Unreal!—Danny from Maryland

Louisiana Dentist Kills Massive 230” Buck

La nontyp 2017When I saw this picture on my Twitter last week, I knew the buck would be one of the top non-typicals killed in 2017, and likely the biggest with a bow.

Mississippi Sportsman tells us: A St. Francisville dentist on Oct. 5 arrowed what could be the largest Louisiana non-typical deer to be killed with a bow — and he was hunting pretty much where he works.

“I killed the deer inside the city limits — behind my dentist office,” Dr. Frank Sullivan said of the 18-pointer that grossed between 220 and 230 points.

The monster has 3 drop tines, a third main beam, 11 points on the left and 7 points on the right side.

This giant should fire you up for your hunts this weekend!

Kentucky Bowhunter Kills Giant Buck That Had Vanished 2 Years!

Today’s cool guest post from Kentucky bowhunter Alex Hamilton, who shot the biggest deer of his life earlier this season:

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Mike: This was the third season I had been after this buck.

After first getting pictures of him in 2015, I was eager to get out and learn more about the buck’s travel pattern and core area. After tons of trail camera pictures and multiple sightings the deer vanished just weeks after the season opened, never to be seen again for the rest of that year and also the following season. Since the buck had vanished for almost a year and half, I assumed the worst. He had either been killed by another hunter or died from other reasons.

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About the beginning of August I was out doing a little scouting one afternoon. On my way back to the house I passed a field with an absolute giant of deer standing right in the middle of it.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was by far the biggest deer I had ever seen in person! I was anxious to get permission from the landowner the next morning.

After giving me permission to hunt the landowner showed me a giant shed he had found during the spring. After looking at it and looking back through some old cam pictures I had I couldn’t believe my eyes—the shed was from the buck that had vanished 2 long years ago! I couldn’t wait for the next free day I had to get cameras out and strategize a stand placement to kill this buck.

With trail cameras out and a stand hung, I started getting regular pics and appearances of this buck again. It was all going so well and almost too good to be true. I was thinking, “This is going to be the easiest opening weekend kill ever!”

Two weeks before season, it happened again just like had 2 years earlier—all of a sudden he vanishes!  My heart sank. I couldn’t believe that after I had it all figured out, he had disappeared again.

Opening weekend arrived with still no more sightings or pics of the buck. Only good thing I had going for me is that it was the coolest opening weekend in Kentucky I had ever been a part of. With highs in the low 70s and getting down in the 50s during the nights, it was absolutely perfect for early bow season.

With the first week of the season gone I had high hopes for another good buck, a wide 8-point, that had started showing up. I had every intention of shooting him if he walked in while I was in the stand. I headed out on September 9. After a few hours, and with about 30 minutes left till dark, I texted my buddy to see if he had seen much. As I raised my head back up, I noticed a large rack thrashing the thicket it front of me. I had no idea what deer it was at first since I couldn’t see the whole rack, but I knew it was really good buck and I got things ready for the shot.

As I pulled back and got ready to shoot, the buck took a step out of the brush and looked in my direction. That was the moment I realized it was him! I got the pin set on the vitals and hit the release. It was a perfect shot. The Vanishing Buck made a complete circle around me and died 20 yards from the stand.–Alex

What a great story and yet another example of how a mature whitetail buck can be so canny and unpredictable, here one minute and gone the next. Way to go Alex!–M.H.

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How To Tell A Mature Buck

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I present you with this trail-camera image of an Alabama buck I hunted for a while last season. Three things jump out and tell you this old boy is at least 6 years old.

*Overall appearance is thick and blocky, with a deep, heavy chest. That is the first thing to look for and the easiest tell, as younger bucks are sleeker.

*You might have heard, “Look for a saggy belly, that’s an old deer.” Yes, and this is proof. A pot-belly does not show up until a buck is at least 5 and more typically 6. It’s one of the most reliable tells of a mature whitetail.

*Short face. And close up in bow range, an old buck’s face looks old and gray.

Now look at the rack, which is okay but nothing special. So what? This is a fully mature wild buck, a true trophy. Unless you’re crazy, you’d be fixing to trip the release or press the trigger.

BTW, I never saw the buck above in daylight, as he was completely nocturnal. Sound familiar?

North Dakota Bow Success

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Today’s guest blog from our friend Derek, an excellent bowhunter from North Dakota:

Hi Mike: It has been a roller coaster season, up-down-up, for me this year.

Opening night (Sept. 1) I had my 7 year old daughter with me in the ground blind, her first time coming along on a bowhunt. We saw a few does, fawns, and smaller bucks come in close and it was awesome seeing how she enjoyed it. I enjoyed a few more evening hunts in that blind and in another stand, seeing plenty of promising action but no mature bucks close enough.

On September 15th I was once again in my blind and one of my target bucks, a wide 8, showed up with an hour left of daylight. With the buck at 24 yards and slightly quartering toward me I made a bad shot low and back. The arrow smelled of paunch and there was very little blood. I resorted to grid searching the surrounding cattail sloughs in the area I saw him run towards, but was unable to recover him after more than 2 days of searching.

I am sure he is dead somewhere since I have not gotten any trail camera pictures of him since. I hope the neighbors find him while combining their beans or corn or while hunting themselves. That was a hard pill to swallow, and it took me some time before I could bring myself to go out hunting again.

I was back in the same blind on September 27th when deja vu struck. It was not the wide 8 but another target buck, a tall 8, that showed up at last light. He approached the blind straight on, on the same trail as the other buck, but never offered a shot opportunity in the fading light. I was optimistic and made arrangements so I could get back into the blind on October 1st.

October 1st was a crummy day; overcast, pretty windy, and occasional light rain. All day I considered not going hunting but then I decided that if I had the opportunity to go I better go despite what I thought about the weather.

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It is always windy here in North Dakota so that usually doesn’t throw the deer off too much, and on this particular day the wind was perfect for my blind. I had early action with several does and fawns surrounding me within 20 yards. They got scared off when 3 bucks came running in, 1 of them the tall 8. As the daylight faded, once again my target buck stood facing my blind straight on for several minutes. I thought for sure he would do the same as the previous hunt and I would run out of daylight without getting a shot at a deer only 18 yards away.

The two smaller bucks of course stood perfectly broadside the whole time, go figure. Finally one of the smaller bucks decided to try sparring a bit with the tall 8. That both distracted him and got him to turn broadside. I drew and aimed for what felt like forever, not wanting to make a marginal shot. This time the arrow flew true and hit the mark; the buck kicked and ran over the hill. I dove out the front window of my blind hoping to see where he ran but he had already disappeared.

I found the arrow and good blood right away. What a huge sense of relief and excitement. Still, I waited about one hour before following the blood trail. I had seen him run into some cattails, and I found him 15 yards in. I was overcome with emotions…happiness, sadness, excitement, relief, appreciation, redemption.

Our farm is 90 miles from my house, so it is not just a quick trip to run there throughout the year. I started running trail cameras in June and located 2 good bucks in the same general area going from our CRP to the neighbor’s soybean field. About 50% of our CRP was released for emergency haying this summer due to the drought in western North Dakota, and I was nervous that losing that much good cover might cost us some deer. That didn’t seem to be the case though.

I was able to brush my blind in really well among the hay bales scattered out in the field, and that really seemed to pay off. This is the same blind and same CRP field where I shot a nice buck 2 years ago that you shared on your blog.–Take Care, Derek Plautz

That’s an honest, real-world hunting story right there, way to go Derek.