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BucketBuck - my opening weekend story (it's a long one)


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Here's the short version

8:15 am took a 20 yd quartering-to shot
9:45 started tracking, found him shortly after
9 pts, medium sized buck.
Tagged him, drug him, loaded him, checked him, cut him up, he’s now in my uncle’s freezer.

Here’s the longer version – friggin novel….

The weekend before opening my uncle and I were cutting wood for a landowner (88 yr old guy who heats with wood only – my uncle used to be his tenant and they’re pretty good friends. Great property to hunt and we help keep him in wood). I spotted what I thought would be an excellent place for a groundblind, right between two gametrails running parallel along a hillside. There’s a little ravine cut perpendicular to the trails, and you could see where the deer had to go down then pop back up to follow the trails. I brushed in a blind between the trails and between two trees, cleared the floor of it, and looked forward to being there on opening day. Spent the week preparing and checking my gear and list, had the truck loaded and ready to go Thursday nite. Friday I left work at midday, went home, hopped in the truck and headed to Adams County. What a beautiful afternoon and drive! When I got to my dad’s trailer, I unloaded everything, made a little dinner (pot pies…mmmmmm) and laid my stuff out for the next morning. I set up my portable ground blind and put my clothes in and smoked the heck out of them, leaving them there until the morning. 4am couldn’t come soon enough….

Got up, microwaved a frozen BobEvans sausage/egg/cheese biscuit and started getting ready. I can honestly say that I learned a lot from my rookie mistakes last year and this year, I was well prepared. I rolled out on time and got to my hunting spot well before shooting time. So I go into the woods and for the life of me could NOT find my blind. Finally I just sat down and waited for light. I really wanted to be in that blind an hour before shooting time, but fubar’ed it up. Oh well. When it got light enough to move I quickly found my spot and hunkered in. It was still a beautiful sunrise and I enjoyed watching the day unfold.

At 8AM I heard two gunshots, one right after the other, way down the hill. On a topo map I’m about 400 ft higher and 1/4 mile away, but sound travels real good down there. About 5 mins later I hear yelling “Hey, I got two…I got two!” Then other voices joined in and “WOO HOO” was the call of the day. Then I heard chainsaws start up. Pretty easy to figure out what was going on there…..

At 8:15 I decide I gotta stretch, get some stuff outta my pack, and maybe improve my blind a bit, so I stand up. When I did, I saw a deer about 75 yards away. I slowly sat down and watched this deer pop up from the cut and travel right along the path I’d anticipated on my uphill side. I leaned over and picked up my xbow and brought it to my lap. The buck kept walking slowly…stopped once to reach up and lick a branch. All the time I was hesitant to move because I didn’t want to spook the deer. I gotta be honest – this happened fast. At first I thought his rack was broken, then as he got closer I saw it was intact and a decent enough spread to try for. I didn’t count points. So he keeps walking, and I’m not ready to shoot. Then I realize he’s going to walk behind a tree in a couple of seconds and I could raise my bow then, and when he came from behind the tree he’d be in a perfect firing lane. He goes behind the tree, I lift the bow and aim for the lane and he walks right into it. I wanted to “stop” him but I had a mouthful of dip and spit and couldn’t get anything out…so I followed for about a second and let fly. He immediately took off then peeled off UPHILL in the direction he’d come from. He was going thru brush real loud and breaking limbs and making all kinds of racket. I thought I heard him crash, but wasn’t sure. So the wait begins. I did not see the hit, and wasn’t 100% sure if I’d hit. It all happened so fast. I was thinking “2 hrs…gotta wait 2 hrs” After 45 mins I eased out and went to the spot where I’d hit him and to my surprise there was no blood, no hair. Dammit. Couldn’t find the arrow either. The area behind was thick brush and briars, and I wasn’t gonna find it in there. So I started walking up the hill in the same direction the deer went. After a few yards I found a single drop of blood. One drop. So I knew I’d hit it, but not how good. Figured maybe I’d grazed him. So I went back to the stand to wait some more.

45 mins later I couldn’t take it anymore. 1.5 hrs had passed and it was warming up, so I decided to start tracking. I next found the bolt about 30 yds up the hill from where the deer was, and it was covered in blood from end to end. Very encouraged at this point, I continued up the hill and very soon I saw him. Took a couple of pics with the cellphone then told him “you wait here – I gotta go back and get my pack!” Proceeded to dress him. Now at this point I’ve got to give this deer (his name is Rufus) credit – Rufus had the courtesy to turn around, run uphill, and fall about 50 yards directly behind the landowners barn, and only about 10-15 yds from the edge of the woodline. So I had a 15 yard uphill drag, then was able to pull my truck down to load him up. Sweet, just too sweet. So I hustled him to the checkstation, where the proprietor tried his best to convince me that I should have it processed there and have the head mounted. Told him sorry, no thanks, but part of the condition of keeping my marriage running smoothly is to not have any deer mounts in my house or garage. (It’s a concession I gladly make, as my wife is very supportive of my hunting endeavors, even though she really isn’t a big fan.) Then I hustled the deer over to my uncle’s where we hung it and quartered it out and got it in the freezer. My goal is to get my uncle’s freezer filled asap, then start working on my son’s freezer.

Here's the entrance wound

Here's the exit wound

So that’s the Rufus part of the story…..preparation and some really good luck made for a good hunt. Not picture perfect like on the hunting shows, but who cares? That shit’s all edited anyway.
But the next part of the story is just as good, even better maybe, certainly something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

At 8:45 I’m sitting in the stand, not having moved since shooting. I see another deer, coming the same way that Rufus did. As it gets closer I see it’s a buck, a six pointer with a small rack. Suddenly he veers off the trail and starts walking directly at my blind. I’m sitting on my bucket, and I hunch down as far as I can and still see…and he just keeps coming. He walks right up to the edge of the brush in front of me and looks at me and sniffs…he’s from 4-6 ft away. Stands there for a few seconds, then proceeds to walk around the blind to his left, passing down my right side. I’m sitting right next to a tree, not moving, like a rock, and he walks past me, looks me in the eye and keeps on walking. He must be blind in his right eye. I stayed sitting still for a few minutes, then eased up and turned around and he was gone. It was incredible. Last year I was in a similar situation, brushed-in in a ground blind, and had one come within 7 yds. He was a buck with a busted rack, so he got a pass. I thought that 7 yards was pretty exciting, but 4-6 feet! WOW! SO COOL!

Here's what he was seeing at the front of the stand

And I’m thinkin as I’m sitting there “when I tell this story, Jackalope is gonna be hollerin ‘see, I tol’ ya, that smoker is tits! And slicktricks will bust thru anything!”

The next morning I’m in the same blind and about the same time I saw that six point again – this time he came in on the trail downhill from me. He just walked along till he was well past the stand, then stopped and put his nose up in the air. His head whipped around and he looked right at me and stared for the longest time. Then he started headbobbin. Then he acted like he was gonna scratch is ass…then whipped his head back around, like he was trying to fake me out and then catch me moving. This went on for a long time, then he walked away. Dan 2, 6pt 0.

Saturday morning I harvested a buck. Hell, let’s call it what it is…I kilt me a deer. Saturday evening I watched a redfox in my dad’s woods. Sunday I saw a buck, two turkeys, and a buttload of squirrels.
I managed to swerve and avoid hitting both a possum and a turtle going to and from my hunting spots. I didn’t forget or lose any equipment. My scouting plans were proven out. And to top it all off, I shot a varmint raccoon at my house when I got home Sunday nite. All in all, a pretty great weekend. And I can’t wait to go out again.

I put Rufus’ head in the fridge Saturday nite, ‘cause I wanted to take him home and cut off the skullcap and antlers to mount on a board (which I’ll store in the garage at my dad’s). So loading the truck to go home Sunday I put ice in a Lowes bucket and put the head in that, and put it in the back corner of the pickup bed. (That got me a few stares on the highway.) Well, I had my hunting clothes in a plastic tub with a lid on, but only put a ziptie on one corner of the lid. Going down the highway, a corner popped up and two camo shirts flew out – and instead of blowing away, they got caught on Rufus’ antlers! A lady beeped at me and pointed, and I pulled over and saved ‘em. That is one considerate deer.


This was a great weekend. I’m buying a lottery ticket tonite.


Super Moderator
Super Mod
North Central Ohio
That's a great story Dan. Thanks for sharing your hunt and harvest with us. Sounds like all the hard work paid off for you this year and now you know why we all keep going back year after year :D.


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Sunbury, OH
I haven't had the time to go back and read the long version but congrats anyway. Will read it soon.



Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
That was well worth the wait, Dan. Thanks for sharing an awesome story and great pictures. I would buy multiple lottery tickets if I were you LOL. Congratulations, man.


Senior Member
Supporting Member
Central Ohio
Great story Dan!!! I've never shot a considerate deer in my life, but good to hear they're out there.

Congrats on a great weekend!!

And the deer head fake.... ya gotta watch them on that one. It's a classic move, the 'ol act like I'm gonna scratch my ass, then whip around real quick back at ya!! Gotta love the head fake...:smiley_crocodile:


Dignitary Member
Staff member

‘see, I tol’ ya, that smoker is tits! And slicktricks will bust thru anything!”


Awesome story man... No doubt both those deer smelled smoke. Quite cool that Rufus caught your shirts like that. When you boned the deer out did you hit hard bone with that trick? Got a picture of the head?


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
NE Ohio
O Dan. You have pulled it all together this year. I'm very happy for ya.

Shoulden't have any problem skull caping him with the chain saw!

Thanks for the adventure.


You know what!!!
Supporting Member
SW Ohio
Congrats on a fine deer Dan! I am happy for you! I enjoyed the story to go with it too!
Here here! Ditto Dan-o. Great hunt,great story, great preparation and great buck. Congrats and thanks very much for sharing. You've got me jacked. Awesome Dan is all I can say! Goodluck in filling the other freezers.


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Thank you for your kind comments gentlemen - I'm glad to have fellow hunters who understand to share it with.

I wuz thinkin "I'm just a blind squirrel who got lucky and got a nut" then that reminded me...ol' Rufus had some HUGE NUTS!

After I cut off the skullcap, I took a picture of the teeth to see if maybe anyone with experience could age him - anybody got any experience with that and willing to look at the pic?