Thanks to longtime BIG DEER blogger Dean Weimer for this post:
Last summer I began getting pictures of a buck that I wasn’t completely familiar with based on previous years’ sightings and trail camera images. On one summer video I watched this buck as he walked away from the camera, and all I could tell was that he had good mass, spread, and strong brows that flared out a bit.
In October I got one image of the buck as he walked past a mock scrape I had made. I still didn’t know exactly which buck it was, but I started referring to him as the “Short Tined 10”.
The first week of November 2013 came and went and I didn’t see a mature buck. In fact deer sightings were low, and strong, swirling winds were an issue. On Nov. 7 I went to my buddy’s farm and only saw 3 does. It was beginning to look like another one of those bad seasons I’ve experienced. I kept plugging away, but doubt was starting to creep in.
On the afternoon of November 9, right at last light, something good, finally…I saw some good chasing activity. After the hunt I stashed my decoy in some brush near the stand I would hunt the following evening, and I also set up my camera arm so I would be ready do a little filming.
The next day I arrived to the stand a tad late, but immediately started seeing deer. First a mature doe and her fawn came out to feed. Suddenly the doe bolted back into a creek thicket. I assumed a buck spooked her, but I couldn’t see anything.
Two small antlerless deer ran across the bean stubble…a while later another fawn skittered by. Things were beginning to get interesting, but then it got quiet.
The sun set around 6:25, and I was starting to have doubts again. But minutes later I looked around and movement caught my eye across the bean stubble on the edge of the creek bottom. I didn’t need binoculars to see that it was a buck. I looked at him through the glasses and saw it was the Short Tined 10. He looked good with his mass and tall brow tines. I wasn’t sure if I’d shoot him if given the chance, but I started to film him just in case.
Eventually he made it to the spot where the young does had run across earlier, and he stopped to sniff around their tracks. He was looking for a doe to breed. He continued until he was upwind of my decoy about 80 yards, and I decided to try to grunt him in.
He heard the third grunt and started toward the decoy, moving in and circling downwind of it with his ears pinned back.
I drew my bow, but the buck was directly under a big limb of the ash tree I was perched in, so I couldn’t get a shot off. The buck stared down his “adversary,” then started to walk stiff-legged away from me. He cleared the limb, but I still had no shot. He stopped, looked at the decoy again and took one step toward it. I still didn’t have enough of his vitals… He took another step and turned his head to look at it one more time. I released the arrow.
In the dark, after tracking sparse blood to the creek, my brother, Dan, and I stopped the search. After work the next day the farmer’s son, Greg Thrush, spotted the buck about 100 yards from where he had crossed the creek the night before. Turns out my arrow got some liver, and part of the left lung. The buck dressed out at 217 pounds and actually had 11 points.
I honestly had my doubts that we’d find him because there was very little blood. Turns out the back third of the arrow stayed inside the deer and plugged up the exit wound.—Dean
Decoying and grunting in a buck will make any bowhunter’s season—good job Dean!
And a good bow lesson here: On a liver shot a buck will almost always run off and bed down within 100 yards or so, and he’ll expire right there IF you don’t push him and jump him. Back off a sparse blood trail like Dean did; wait a good 6 hours (or more); and then scour the area until you find your deer