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11/26/23 Bow Success


Active Member
Got a late start bowhunting this year. Didn't get my usual rutcation in early November due to work commitments so decided to take a couple days off during Thanksgiving week to catch the post lockdown movement. Saw some deer through the week, but nothing to get too excited about. Got to Sunday night, which was going to be my last chance to hunt before the shotgun seasons started. With the strong WNW wind, decided to try a stand I hadn't hunted much the last couple years on a hunch even though it's not set up the greatest for westerly winds. Cameras hadn't shown much for deer in the area previous couple years so hadn't even bothered to put one out here this year till the week before I started hunting. The only card pull I had hadn't shown much yet this year. Stand is on the edge of a crop field below a steep wooded hill to the west which can cause the wind to swirl a bit when coming from that direction. Also has an active cattle pasture being the stand which limits deer movement from that direction some for protection. This year the crop field had been corn and figured with the rut winding down and the recent snow any deer in the area might be heading to the field to feed that night. Got to the stand a little later than I would have liked but wasn't in the stand very long before deer started coming out. First deer that came out were on the far end of the field which was a yearling doe and decent buck. Far enough away that there wasn't much chance of them coming to my end of the field. Next deer was a young buck that came out of the timber next to me, and even though it was upwind it spooked from something which had me worried about the wind swirling some. Wasn't very long after that though had another decent buck come out of the ditch to the east and work it's way to the deer on the other end of the field. As I was watching it, noticed antlers coming through the timber coming towards the field toward me. Grabbed the bow just in case but it turned out to be a couple of 2.5-year-old bucks. They came through the spot the earlier buck spooked at without issue so felt a little better about the setup momentarily. That was until I went to hang up the bow and from behind me in the cattle pasture, I hear a deer snort. Slowly turn to see a doe that's looking my general direction but not up at me on high alert. Behind her just a few yards is a really good heavy horned buck that's no doubt shooter at first glance. Don't think the doe saw me hanging to bow back up but guess the wind had betrayed me again. After a couple more snorts she wheeled around heading back to where she came from taking the buck and other previously unseen deer in the timber with her. Thought about ending the hunt after that since there was only about 20 min of shooting light left, but decided since it was my last chance to hunt might as well burn up the spot for the year. Was long after that saw a lone yearling buck walking through the timber coming from the direction the doe had been. No long after that could hear the sound of antlers grinding of two bucks locking up. Not a fight but just more of a locking a pushing on each other sound. With little time left figured I had to push the issue if I was going to get a chance to see them. Grabbed the grunt tube and threw a couple grunts their way which didn't stop them. Snort wheezed and grunted a couple more times which did seem to catch their attention. Wasn't very long and 3 decent bucks showed up where the doe had been previously standing. After a short time checking the scene out all three came to the tree and I let the arrow fly at the biggest one quartering away at 20 yds. Shot looked good with the arrow exiting the offside front leg. Watched the deer take a mad dash arc through the cattle pasture turning towards the fence line of the timber it had come from. At that point I could no longer see it but heard a loud crash which I assumed was the sound of it clearing the fence and hitting the brush. At that point figured there was a pretty good chance the deer was already dead so started gathering up the gear to get down from the tree. Decided to slowly track the blood trail to the fence immediately to kill a few minutes even though I saw the general area where it was leaving the field. Had pretty good blood for the trail all the way until I got to the fence where the blood started to thin out some. At that point I couldn't see where it had cleared the fence. The trails there in the snow were void of any blood and deer tracks for that matter. After looking up and down the fence some to rule it out, figure out the crash I heard was the deer running into the fence. When I was getting down missed it running straight away from the fence in the open pasture towards a ditch. When I went back to last blood found his track with minute specks of blood heading towards the ditch. Tracked him more by track instead of blood across the pasture (lucky for the snow that night) and as I approached the ditch could see where he was starting to open back up and loose blood again. Got to the bank and this was the sight.
Deer 11-27-23.jpg
Unfortunately, one on the few ditches with water in the area so cattle had it pretty mucked up. After pulling him from the water.
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Luckily member stunmags lives in the area who I had just met the previous week and was able to bring his quad over to help in the recovery as the wet conditions/snow and the steep hill had me concerned with driving a truck back there without getting stuck or rutting things up bad. Appreciate the help! Gutting showed the shot was good as expected going through both lungs almost taking a lobe off one. Not sure why the trail was a little more challenging than it should have been with this one. In the chaos of getting it out of there didn't get any good field harvest photos so the truck shots will have to do. Deer started out as a 7x6 but had broke off the last tine and most of the brow on one side so barely a 7x5 now.
Deer 11-27-23 3.jpgDeer 11-27-23 4.jpg
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