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The one that hooked me!

hickslawns

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NW Ohio
#1
I will say, this is the deer that hooked me hard. I don't see how I lived so long without deer hunting after getting this big boy down. I had been considering getting back into hunting for several years. Specifically, I was thinking deer hunting. I had hunted small game when I was younger. I don't know the direction this country is heading, and I have felt this way for easily 5 years. We switched over to all wood heat, have put in a bigger garden each year, and generally try to be more self sufficient every year. I had to know if I could do it. I needed to know I could provide meat for my family if it ever got this bad. I had always enjoyed deer watching, and I had always enjoyed hiking/camping/working/ being outside. I live outside most of my days and nights.

I told my friend (who will remain known as "D") that this was the year I was going to do it. I had been lurking on OS and reading every book/magazine, and watching every video/tv show I could. I picked the brains of D and all my friends/family members that hunted deer over every detail they would share. I was generally a sponge just soaking up all the information I could. D got me into a local woods he maintained. It was a 1000 acre property with a 100 acre woods. Around here that might as well be a million acres. There just aren't sections of woods that big around here.

Opening morning of gun season I had my eyes opened up to what outlaw gun hunters were all about. Trespassers every where, guys getting dropped off/picked up and pushing areas without permission, you name it and i dealt with it. As I mentioned, this is a very desirable woods to hunt and there were only (supposed to be) two of us in there. First I had a guy sitting in a lawn chair smoking a cigarette in the field as I entered the woods. He claimed he had permission to hunt the field. I was set up in a tree just inside the wood line. Bang bang bang. I saw a doe gettin' it and heading back in the woods. The third round was a bit delayed and hit a tree about 10 yards to the side of me. I could actually hear the slug spiraling in the air and slowing down as it knicked branches until finally embedding itself in the tree. I was hunkered down behind a 4' wide oak tree after that until his ride picked him up. I was stunned and in disbelief at what had happened. After he left, I moved around the corner of the woods to another stand. I didn't want him to know where I was and I just hadn't seen anything.

Day two I started out on this east edge in the same ladder stand. I could only hunt the evening on Tuesday and only saw one small buck too far off to shoot and I knew he was too small. Farm rules: Has to be 8pt or larger, and wider than the ears. If you don't follow the rules, then this is your last trip to the farm. I wanted to oblige D, so I was fine with it. Does were fair game too. I did manage to see one buck that was worthy, but it was too deep in the woods and there was no shooting lane. I didn't know how big he was, but he fit the description of shooter on the farm rules.

Day three. I overslept. Shit. Got out there at 10am. I hadn't been walked to the stand in the woods, but was told there was a hang on stand about 50 yds inside the woods from the field edge where I had hunted the ladder stand the evening before. I had been a sponge and now it was time to use some of the info. I remembered reading if you see one out of range, move. Simple enough. I moved the next day. Good choice! I was in this stand and about 1115am I hear something. I stood up. I see brown, and more brown, and more. 5 does total and one "shooter" buck in tow. They came in about 11 o'clock as you look at the watch. They moved in a circle as if they were following a clock as well. The buck branched off to the left and disappeared as I watched the 5 does work their way around the clock to exit at 2 o'clock on the hands. I had shot opportunities at all of them in several openings. I had a clear broadside shot at each one approximately 35 yds out as they exited into the woods and out of my life. I figured the buck knew something and left them because he thought something wasn't right. I also read to just wait if you see a buck in tow, because a bigger one might be following. This is why I waited and passed on the does. Another good choice. The buck emerged and took up the trails the does followed, although he was much more cautious then they were. I wanted to shoot him so bad, but knew if I was patient and let him follow their path that my best shot would be broadside at 35yds. My 870 Remington was steady. I concentrated on taking deep and calming breaths. My left leg from the knee down was shaking like a leaf on a tree though. Weird, but that is how it went down. The buck came to the opening and I squeezed the trigger!

The buck did the mule kick and run deal! He was like a freight train off the tracks going through the trees crashing into everything. I fired a second round, but it hit nothing. It was more of a hope and pray shot anyway. I wouldn't take the second shot again given the opportunity. I waited my hour, ate my lunch, and made a million phone calls. D was excited! Left voice mails for my cousins and friends. Cousin Bubba in NC said he still has that voice mail on his phone nearly two years later and listens to it when he needs a laugh. I tracked the deer and blood trail about 50-75yds and found my buck! It was a surreal moment. I couldn't believe the sight of him on the ground. It was truly majestic. He weighed in over 300lbs and was a pig! Official score on this 9pt was 139 3/8 gross with 129 3/8 net. I have been hooked ever since!

Last year I took up archery and recorded my first archery kill. I also took one with a 44mag. I still need to take one with the muzzle loader, and then finish up my quest with traditional eventually. This year though, I hope to be done buck hunting before gun season rolls in! Might have to take a doe or two with the muzzie!
 

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rrr

Senior Member
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#3
Great story. I like how these are trickling out day by day and I will have to write mine up on a rainy day.

Lucky SOB for that to be your first, or maybe unlucky :) You do know you hung the damn thing upside down too ;) [My dad who's 3 hours away and sleeping is telling me to admit that the first deer I saw in the woods was a basket rack 8 point that I missed standing, broadside at 25 yards...]

I don't think I remember reading about your bow harvest, can you share that one too? You know this will be my first season with da bow and it'd be cool to hear about yours.

Capt
 

hickslawns

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NW Ohio
#6
Surprised I was able to keep your attention long enough to read that novel! :smiley_crocodile:

Lucky SOB for that to be your first, or maybe unlucky
I have thought about that many times. Last year was very humbling after my first deer being the one in the post. The good Lord knows what he is doing. He threw me a bone to get me hooked, then taught me humility last year, patience, and appreciation. Not that I didn't appreciate it, but I never realized how "lucky" i was until last season when I was a total woods rat and never saw anything close to the "Big 9". Will work on the other stories later.
 

finelyshedded

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#7
Great read and story to boot, Hicks! Hopefully you'll have many more, which I'm sure you will. I was fortunate to have gotten hooked 32 years ago and it's been an awesome ride. Goodluck and congrats on a great first deer.