2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby hunter_mike » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:49 am

dan wrote:Start sharing your stories and pictures for the 2018 Big Buck Contest HERE ~ IN THIS THREAD.

**** Please just post your buck stories and pics****
In other words, NO COMMENTS PLEASE!! They will be DELETED!

****As much as we love comments please save those for a different thread / post. That will make things much easier when we all come back here to go thru the posts for VOTING purposes later on****.

After the season, on a date not yet announced, we will invite the 500 club members of this site to vote on whom they feel should win the prizes.....

Voting will be based on the size of the buck, the hardness of the hunt, the hunters ethics, the weapon used, etc...

Please keep that in mind when telling your story. Although big bucks often win, in past years we have seen a young man whom shot a fork horn win, and a button buck shot by a foreigner who traveled all the way across the ocean to hunt our much celebrated whitetails.

So enter every buck you shoot if you like. If you shoot more than one and want to edit your story let me or a Mod know and we can help you with that. All buck deer legally taken are eligible regardless of species ( mule, whitetail, blacktail, etc. )

Good luck to everyone & Congratulations!!

Please remember this thread is for those who joined the contest at the beginning of the season in this thread:

If you did not join the contest your story will be move and made into a separate post into the "kill zone" forum.

The essay thread will be closed 9pm on Sunday February 23rd at which time the 500 club will begin voting on the essays.

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby BRoth82 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:47 am

A little background on where I hunt, I hunt in West central MN, in an area that is ranked the 3rd lowest in deer harvest numbers for the entire state. Bow hunting in MN my goal every year is to not pass up a shot on a legal deer (excluding a fawn in the early season, late season you better watch out). I would love to take a big buck, but to me when I look at a deer all I see is Jerky, Hot dogs, Cheddar Brats and hamburger. Funny story about that I told my kids that the hot dogs they were eating came from the deer I shot, the following year I took a doe and showed my kids the deer hanging in the shed, my daughter (5 years old at the time) looks in the chest cavity and has a puzzled look on her face, when I ask her what’s on her mind she turns to me and says in a serous voice, “Dad I hate to tell you but this but I can’t see any hot dogs anywhere”….

The 1st hunt of the year;
I went out to a public that I hunted last year from the ground and seen 9 does and fawns. I also scouted it this past winter and found some great sign, being this was opening weekend and it’s a long walk back into where you can hunt I figure that the pressure was going to be non-existent and that the deer would be bedded close to the food source ( a corn field on private land). I walked the edge of the field and found 2 really good trails exiting the corn about 40 yards apart, I kept going to a low spot I wanted to check out, but the sign was much better on those other two trails so I back tracked and tucked in behind a cedar tree that split the trails in half.
The wind was blowing towards one of the trails so I would have to shoot quick, in order to get a shot off before they winded me. After sitting for an hour or so I had a big doe come out of the corn field about 100 yards away, she milled around in a low area for a while before I lost sight of her, an hour later I heard foot steps in a low spot that had water in it in front of me. I got ready, after 3-4 minutes and nothing coming by, I decided to slowly peak my head around the cedar tree to see if I could see anything. Just as I peaked around the tree a big doe stepped around the other side of the tree about 12’ away, she took off blowing and snorting. An hour or so before dark I had a small buck come out of the corn on the same trail the first doe took, now after the first doe came out of the corn I contemplated moving in on that trail, but thought maybe it was just a lone deer so I stayed put. He turned and headed my way along the field edge and looked like he’d turn and pass in front of me, but he ended up staying on the edge and passing by me out of range.
The 2nd hunt;
I decide that with my new stand and sticks I just got, that I was going to try my first real beast style sit and try to get within 100 yards of some suspected buck bedding, the wind would be a good cross wind for this little island. On my way down to where I wanted to get to I crossed a pair of good trails with some fresh droppings from that morning, I kept checking the wind and as I got on the downwind side of the trees it really started swirling and blowing straight S instead of W/NW. So, I back tracked and found a place to setup on the ground overlooking the 2 trails with the fresh sign, I tucked in the backside of a clump of buck thorn bushes and waited. The area where I expected the deer to come from was a cedar thicket, I could only see a little bit through the brush, so I’d have to be on my horse to get drawn before they got past me. The wind was howling at 20-25 mph with gusts higher, but it was in my face and keeping the mosquitoes away, so it didn’t bother me. It did make seeing any movement or hearing anything almost impossible.
Around 5:45 I caught some movement that was going the opposite direction the wind was blowing so I knew a deer was headed down the trail, the trail he was on would be a quartering away shot at 18-20 yards. As soon as I saw it was a deer, I grabbed my bow and started to draw, he walked out perfectly and didn’t notice a thing. I settled my pin and touched off the shot, I shoot a blue lighted nock and had no idea where my arrow went, I didn’t see it in flight at all, he trotted out to 35-40 yards with his tail down and turned to look back at what had happened. Now I’ve only shot a handful of deer with my bow and never got a chance at a second arrow, but my thought is if it’s still on its feet and I have arrows left I’m going to send them. I frantically scrambled around to get another arrow out of my quiver and nocked before he tore out of there, luckily, he stayed where he was. Most of his body was covered by the tall grass except the top of his back, I know I rushed this shot thinking he’s going to bolt out of the and I hit him high above the spine. He tore out of the grass ran along the field edge and then I lost sight of him, I waited 15 mins and went over to where he was standing and found a splatter of blood, so I knew I hit him. I decided to try to sneak along the field edge and work back to my truck so I could drop off the stand and get my other pack, we’ll as I was slipping along the edge he jumped up 20 yards away and took off.

Man, now I was really kicking myself knowing it would be much harder to find him, so I marked where I was standing so I could come back to that spot later. While I was sitting in my truck, I sent some pictures of the blood I found to Lockdown and asked what he would do, I agreed with him that I should give the deer a couple hours at the least just to be sure. I headed home to grab a friend to help look for blood and my game cart in case we found him. It was a little over 3 hours from the time I shot when I got back out there to look for my arrow, even with lighted nocks I could find either one, figuring they buried in the grass we moved over to where the buck jumped and ran off. The grass/flowers/thistle he was in was shoulder to head high, we found a couple drops of blood where he entered the grass and started to follow the trail, it was crazy hard to find a drop of blood in that junk, it took us close to 20 mins to go 10 yards. We would find a drop here, then go 10-15 feet and find another drop, at first he was following a faint trail then we came to a point where there was just a wall of shoulder high weeds on all sides, we looked all over and couldn’t find another drop of blood. At this point I knew the direction he went so I headed that way and right on the edge of the tall crap was my arrow, it had some blood and fat on it. The blood looked like muscle blood, when he got out to the shorter green grass he started bleeding more and it was easier to see, we covered 30-40 yards fairly quick, until he headed straight into the tangle of cedar trees. My buddy looked at me and said no I’m not going to crawl through that crap.
I ended up crawling on my hands and knees I would find a pool of blood ever 5-10 feet where he bedded, then after 10-15 yards there he was, he was stiff already, so I figure he died shortly after I jumped him. My first shot hit low and back, taking out part of the stomach, diaphragm and the offside lung, my second shot hit high above the spine. It ended up taking us close to an hour to get him out to the field edge, I was back home with him hanging at 11:30pm, man I was bumped but beat at the same time. When I told my daughter this morning that I found him, she smiled really big and said “Dad you know what that means right? We’re having heart and tenderloins for supper tonight!!!!” (She’s my little meat-eating machine) That right there put a huge smile on my face.

Here’s a picture that shows how the hunt went down,
The blue line – my access route
The lowest orange dot – where I wanted to setup in a tree
Upper orange dot – where I ended up standing behind the buckthorn
Purple circle – suspected buck bedding
Yellow dots – where I found beds in the past and where I think the buck was bedded
Purple line – the bucks travel route
Red dots next to orange dot – Where my shots were taken
Green dot – Where I bumped him
Final red dot – where I found him
Orange arrow – the wind direction
I always try to look back at a hunt and figure out what I could learn from it, here’s my bullet list from this hunt;
1) Slow down and make a good shot
2) If you can’t see where you hit the deer, error on the side of caution and back out for a couple hours
3) You can kill a deer on the ground in an area that has very few deer
4) Don’t walk past good sign, to get to unknown sign
5) Dragging a deer through head high weeds sucks
6) A gut shot deer stinks really bad when gutting, also on that note be careful if it’s bloated when field dressing. There are fluids under pressure and can spray out and cover you in nastiness.
Thank you to everyone here on this forum that shares stories, and helps out it truly is a remarkable group of people, and Thanks to Lockdown for helping me out with beast tactics, offering to come down and help track, I’ve never met you before but consider you a friend.
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It doesn't look that deep..... :o
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Manitoba derek » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:36 pm

Well to start off this story I live and hunt in south east Manitoba. I have always heard my whole life is “there are no big bucks in eastern Manitoba.” And “if ya want a big one you have to go to western Manitoba or Saskatchewan.”
This year was a whole lot of firsts for me this year as completely changed my entire approach to hunting white tale. My first year being truly mobile and trying all kinds of new areas and terrains. My first year hunting from a saddle. My first year completely abandoning my scent control routine. My first year hunting like a beast!! I first found out about Dan and his beast style of hunting in the spring right after I took my spring bear. Everything he talked about was true. Then as hunting season started and I got a new job working in the Arctic at a iron mine on Baffin Island. With only 4 days home a month and a new born at home I thought this season was going to be a wash with 0 time to get out and scout let alone hunt. 2 weeks ago I managed to get out for a day and I blew it. Or so I thought. I decided to check out this over looked section of this big woods public land area. I got 50 yards from the parking down a over grown logging road that everyone just walks past. There was dozens scrapes and rubs and there was one big spruce tree big enuf to set up in. But that day I felt like “ I was to close” and there had to be a better tree deeper in. As I pushed deeper there was no other tree to set up in. Most of the area was clear cut several years ago so they were all around the same small size. With dans words going through my head “you either set up or push past. Never go back!” I called the area burned and just spent the rest of the evening scouting the area around to try and find out where the buck laying this sign would be bedding. Then I got shipped away to work once again thinking all the info I got would be good for next year. It by the time I got back from my 3 week shift everything would be different. Gotta hunt the hot sign well hot sign is hot right. Then the great news hit. Some issue between the mine I worked for and the government. Project was shut down early and we all got sent home after only 1 week out. By the time I get home I only had 2 days of archery season left to make something happen. Friday over night we got snow. I went out and got into my saddle in the one tree in that over looked spot big enuf to sit. After a all day sit at 4:15 pm I couldn’t hear a really nice basket buck coming in. I noticed him when he was 10 yards away smelling my ground scent. He would of been my biggest dear to date but I rushed to get my bow and made a noise grabbing it. He looked up at me and we locked eyes. Me being the dummy I am didn’t close my eyes or look away and he spooked. Didn’t blow out but just bound away. I thought it was over and I blew my chance. 15 min later I heard some crunching. I thought Mby I was gunna get a second chance at him. I let a grunt out watching where I heard the noise. Then I caught a glimpse of movement over my left shoulder. I turned my head and there walking was this stud. I spun around drew back , stopped him with a bleat and let one fly. Shot looked good. I backed out and went to get my brother in-law with our truck. We came back and blood looked good. We tracked it and to our surprise he wasn’t down within 100 yards. We still had good blood on the fresh snow and scared of it snowing more over night we tracked and pushed that buck about a mile. After the sky cleared and we were positive snow was not in the future we backed out for the night. I came back at first light and continued tracking him. I got nervous as the blood was down to a drip every 8’-10’ but it was still dripping. At this point he had lost a lot of blood and it was still dripping. So I pushed on tracking him another km back through a frozen swamp where I finally found him piled up 17 hours after the initial shot. I stood there in disbelief in the raw size of this beast. After a 3 hour drag to a trail I could drive down to pick him up all I could think about was how many thing came together in order for this amazing buck to come together for me. From weather conditions to just being able to be home for this. I am truly great full for this animal.
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Matt Gill » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:13 pm

This is gonna be a long one but a good one!
11-10-19. SW wind. Mid 30 in the morning high of 60 in the afternoon. Hunting with my buddy from work. This is about 3,000 acres of privately owned land that is just like public, kind of like the AEP land is in Ohio. This is my third hunt in this area this. In my last two journal entries when I hunted there I just called it Ohio public for the sake of the long wonder details of how it all works and Obviously not gonna name the area bc it already gets hammered by locals and a lot of out of Towners, like me! :lol: There were 4 of us total in our group hunting yesterday. All the other guys hunt there old trusty ladder stands regardless of wind direction and such. They think I’m crazy for going hang and hunts everyday. To start the morning I went to a big section of hardwoods that is straight up hill to access unless you use an atv. Driving over to meet my buddy at his barn I actually had a what I’m guessing to be a 130” very wide buck cross the highway in front of me headed for the section I was gonna hunt. Told them I saw a good one and maybe I would catch him way back on the ridge I was going to. We left the barn and I made the steep access to my area. Picked a tree on a long narrow thicker ridge top with my wind dumping over the back. We always just does off this ridge shotgun hunting and I assumed it would be a good place to catch one cruising. About 7:15 I kept hearing something behind me and every time I’d look, nothing, finally I go to stand up and just watch behind me and when I stand and turn there’s the nice buck I saw crossing the road standing 30 yds away in the brush staring me down! Our eyes meet and he hops off the back of the ridge. I was frustrated to say the least. He was only deer I saw that morning. The other 3 guys saw a small bucks and a few does. We came out, got lunch and everybody told me what ladder stand they’d be hunting that evening. I decided to go to a new area where it is also steep access and hunt the leeward side. One of my buddies was going to ride a atv to the base of the steep hill and hunt one of the ladder stands so I caught a ride with him and then made the 400 yd trek up and over the top. This area is extremely thick where it has been logged in years past. There’s a ladder stand not very far at all from where I was planning on hunting but guys from up north only use it in shotgun. Picked a cherry tree about 25 yds from it and hung my stand. It had been windy all day but the wind finally laid down about 3. At 4 a smaller 8 chased a doe right under me and over the top. I text the buddy who was hunting the front side and let him know. About 15 minutes later I see more chasing in front about 60 yds away, just seeing glimpses of deer here and there. Thought to myself I’m sure it’s the same two but better stand up and get my bow in hand just Incase. Where I was set up is just a small opening in all the green briers and none of my shots were gonna be over 25. Two does bust out of the thick right into my main opening, followed by a deferent smaller 8 and a 6. Then I hear a long loud grunt and see a nice 8 headed for the opening. I decide he’s a shooter and draw. When he got in the opening he was moving fast and I gave him 2-3 short meehhs but it didn’t stop him so I said hey loud enough to stop him. He stops, I settle the 20 yds pin and shoot. Perfect pass through, through the back of lungs/diaphragm area! He runs off the ridge over into the thick nasty stuff. Text my buddies to let them know, quietly slip down and mark blood at the impact spot, and back out. By now it’s about 5 and I’m just waiting up on top so as not to disturb my buddy who is hunting the bottom. He then text a pic of a dead buck and says he got one too! He loads his up and we all meet at the barn to regroup and get lights, drag rope etc to recover mine. Mine went about 150 yds straight down hill. Was an awesome blood trail and a better shot then I had first thought.

What an awesome day in the woods with awesome friends. Very special to double up like that. One of the other guys also saw a shooter that evening but never got a clear shot in the brush. Guess I will be a full time driver/pusher now when Ohio shotgun gets here!

It truly is amazing the friendships hunting can create


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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Matt6506 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:33 am

After a trying season of not seeing a buck from the stand in october I was able to fill my ohio buck tag on 11-13-19 with my biggest buck to date. I live and hunt in the hills of southeastern ohio. I mostly hunted public through october and had no luck with the bedding areas I had scouted the previous spring. Going into rut I knew that my time to hunt would be limited until the week of the 11th which in past years was on fire with rut activity. On the morning of the 13th I decided to hunt an east west running ridge along the leeward side planning for cruising. I was in the stand for an hour when I spotted a tall tank of a buck headed my way. I was able to stop him from a trot at 35yds when I let the arrow fly and saw it hit its mark. Initially my first thought was "dead deer, I center punched him." However not being able to find my arrow and little blood had me second guessing my shot placement. I decided it was best to wait so called me dad to see if he could give me a hand. My dad was able to leave work at noon and arrived to help me track by 1:00pm. All I have to say is that I was thankful for the fresh snow , we followed the bucks running tracks for roughly 50yds before we finally found some decent blood as the buck began to descend the ridge into a thick nasty cove. Luckily we found my buck laying along a log in the bottom of the cove. After field dressing it was discovered that the buck was more quartering toward me at the shot than I had originally thought which created a one lung, liver hit. In hindsight I should have hugged the shoulder more with my shot. I'm thankful for this buck and for my dad and his tracking skills that saved the day. I am truely blessed



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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Dpierce72 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:56 am

A Brief Departure and Lesson Learned

After spending the last year and a half not stepping onto my buddies’ private farm (because of a personal goal …er obsession, to get it done on public), and hunting purely solo, I decided to hunt with the old group opening weekend of Arkansas gun deer season. And one question in particular was on my mind …Why was opening day so special, when many of us have already been hunting for 6 weeks?

While this is a farm I know really well and had cut my teeth on, I hadn’t been there in over a year, so my strategy going in was as follows:

• Ask where everyone else planned to hunt the following morning
• Review maps/wind and ask ‘where hasn’t anyone been in a while’

Armed with the answers to my questions, and much to my surprise, the area that jumped out to me was a spot right behind the hunting camp we affectionately referred to as ‘the Hangover Stand’, for reasons you can probably imagine. However, given our “age of maturity” …lol …cough, cough …and disappointing results from this area, it’s rarely hunted anymore.

As I slipped into the woods under grey-light conditions, I knew where the old ‘Hangover Stand’ was, but I planned to use my saddle in close proximity to the stand, not the stand itself. However, I needed some time to think through the exact tree, so I climbed up the ladder stand to sit …and think. As I did so, I was reminded why I love a mobile setup, whether my old Lone Wolf, or now, my Mantis. Because I’m in control of every decision …on every hunt. Yet now, here I was, putting my success into the hands of a decision we made 2 decades earlier that had not proven out over time. As I sat there, two questions came to mind…

• Why hadn’t this stand produced a mature buck but one time in the last two decades?
• And yet, why, out of 1,000 acres, did I choose this spot given such low odds?

I couldn’t seem to get that thought out of my mind…

As I sat there pondering the layout of the area, in a spot I had hunted a few times over the years, a doe and yearling passed by around 7:30AM and I thought ‘hey …maybe I’m okay sitting here’.

As time passed, I could not help but notice a drainage to my south (and there was a strong south wind) that had never spoken to me in quite the same way. As it dropped into a deep holler, I began to envision the deer coming out of this drainage on the south side of me (which was too thick to easily see through), putting his nose into the wind, and walking the narrow white oak flat that was pinched between a field and the bluff, directly away from me.

The more I envisioned this, the more I became convinced it was going to happen. So, my plan was born! I climbed down quietly and slowly (already wearing my saddle), and moved east, ever so slightly up the drainage, and south by about 75 yards. All the while dropping milkweed and being careful for my wind not to hit the drainage itself, but to blow by and over its upper end close to the field and significantly east of where I envisioned the deer coming from. I picked out a nice white oak, that was part of a team, which had the ground littered with big acorns.

As I put on my spikes, climbed and settled in, I looked back toward the stand from where I came. While only 75 yards away, I could only the lose end of a red, replacement cam strap, which had not been carefully tucked away, blowing in the wind. The stand itself seemed invisible.

By now it was around 8:30AM and I settled in for the morning. My plan was to sit until 2PM, so time to get comfortable…

As I sat the next 90 minutes, I did not see many squirrels, and the rubs I could glass seemed old and I began to fear

• Have the deer fed this area out (contrary to what I saw on the ground)?

• Have they moved on?

And as I pondered BOTH of those questions, I was reminded that a hunters worst enemy (or one of them) is between his or her ears – DOUBT!

• Doubt will cause you to get down and move when you shouldn’t. But…
• Doubt might also cause you to get down and move when you should.

Just as doubt had worked for me to leave the Hangover Stand itself, it was now causing me to second guess what I believed was a well-thought-out strategy.

Doubt can be good and doubt can be bad. Determining between the two can be excruciating part of the process if you are NOT content to ‘sit and wait’. As they say …HOPE is not a strategy!

As time passed, I began to reflect on so many memories of ‘opening days’ and continued to wonder, again, Why was opening day so special, when many of us have already been hunting for 6 weeks?

And it hit me …there is just something special about a day that unites so many outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen, under the banner of friendship, true stories, lies, jokes, legendary tales, food, bonfires, and good times. With a secondary benefit (to me) of free-range organic deer meat!

As my mind was wandering to memories past and opening day kills (and near misses), the distinct snap happened to the SW and as quickly as the woods were silent, at 10:36AM, he was there. As I reached for my binoculars to check if he was a ‘shooter’, I determined there would not be time based on his pace and the cover he was headed toward. I slowly reached for the gun to take a closer look, just as his head turned, plainly, I could see the rack extend well beyond the years, assessed ~10 points and decided he was indeed a ‘shooter’. As time was fleeting and he was about to ease out of my visibility, I found the mark, shot, and observed the ‘donkey kick’. He wouldn’t be far, I thought, and he wasn’t!

And as awesome as it was to build a strategy that proved successful, in an area that had so many times failed in the past, the more important part of the morning is that I realized this…

After being so committed to hunting alone on public land for the past 18 months, I longed for and missed the comradery of my friends. We spent two days laughing, reminiscing over stories of long ago (retelling many as if it were the first time they’d been told), wondering how we’d aged the way we had, catching up on our kids and how we hoped they didn’t make some of the mistakes we made, but most importantly, just being grateful to know one another!

And that answered my question about opening day…

Opening Day isn’t really about the deer after all!

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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Bud TN » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:48 am


It’s been 3 years since I’ve connected with a TN mountain buck. I caught this guy locked down with a doe while I was sneaking a.round a bedding area.

Even though I had the wind at my favor for the trails I was watching, I hadn’t even seen a single squirrel all morning and I decided I would get down and still hunt/ scout a while.

I decided I would circle around with the wind to a mountain top where I had found some beds last season. I didn’t find any “hunt here dummy” type sign so I vented on down the leeward side from the top toward the head of a holler/drain. I have a tendency to move to quick in the woods so I kept telling myself to “move little-look lot”.

Anyway I slowly worked my way down the drain when I saw a deer walking an old logging road below me. I couldn’t get a good look at first, so I moved slowly another 75yrds downhill. When I stopped I saw the deer and confirmed it was a doe. She was looking at me, and spooked below the road she was walking. I then noticed that she was not alone as I saw a large body with antlers following her. As they moved out of sight I got into a drain where my noise would be low and moved quickly to the road.
I slowly walked up the road peeking over the steep side when I saw this guy at about 80 yards or so staring up at me. Needless to say I made short work of his neck as it was all I could see. You could have heard my yelling

He is my biggest buck @5 y/o and a solid 150”and my first spot and stalk in the Appalachian mountains.

Here’s to scouting into the wind and moving slow!
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby backstraps » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:08 pm

This Kill Zone post is such a unique long and twisted story, I decided to try and condense my history with one buck, and combine two kills into one story!

I will start by saying one of these deer has been so successful at eluding me, that I have known of his presence and captured 1k plus of his pictures since 2016, just to basically, digitally watch him mature!

Lets jump into the 2019 Tennessee Season:
Season began with some high hopes and expectations. I only had pictures of one, of the three main targets I wanted to kill this year.
That one particular buck I followed velvet pictures up to 2 days after he had shed his velvet. Something had happened, and he is now walking around with a broken right main beam!! So I decided when I crossed paths with him this season he would get a pass (THAT is another hunt in itself, and proved to be a very hard pass to do, but I passed him).

Now, that leaves 2 bucks I really wanted to chase this year...simply named the wide 8 and the big 10. Neither showed up on velvet cams.... The big 10 now has me concerned as he typically made it to my cams no later than early Oct. over the last three years. The wide 8 has been here the last two years on Halloween. Well bingo! Halloween the wide 8 returns home and has went back to his original 7pt frame! WOW, and I like him :lol: :lol: A LOT!!
Wide 7 Oct 31 2019.jpg

Since the big 10 has now proven to be a no show, the Wide "7" now has my full attention. My best friend and I have tiptoed around this place taking every step to be as careful as we can to not "slap him on the but" and let him know we are hunting him. (Thanks Dan for the slogan)

We have skipped so many days of hunting here due to bad winds etc, I began to wonder if we were going to get a chance to hunt areas that we had planned out so hard during post season scouting while "becoming very intimate with this parcel"
A link to one of my scouting days there: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=50638&p=768424#p768424

Cameras and tree stand sightings are showing us there are several 2&3 year old bucks running around. One particular 8pt was looking very impressive for his age. We kept capturing his pictures everywhere. To the point, it was like he was "the man" or something... unknowingly to us and him, that is going to catch up to him in a bad way.
the man.jpg

I also noticed the Wide 7 was getting a bunch of pictures captured of him posturing up. Maybe he was trying to get the youngsters in line.
Bristeld 7 side.jpg

Hunt with kill #1
Lets bounce forward to the night of Nov the 9th. Three different cameras had captured the Wide 7 running "the man" 8pt off.
7 chasing 8.jpg

The evening of November 10th, my daughter and I were set up on a rut funnel, close to one another. "The man" 8pt had made it through the woods to me. I am staring at him through the binos as he is standing perfectly still facing me. When he finally gets the sense its okay to move on, that's when I see he is hurt, and hurt bad! He is carrying his right front off the ground, to the point his head is bobbing up and down with each step. "Well dang it!" I cannot let him go on like that. So I shot him right there. He never struggled with another step. So, a fast, super quick dispatch is the best a hunter can hope for in these situations and that is what happened. I was happy to have him for several reasons, and have no regrets in punching tag #1 of my two allowed buck tags in TN.
the man kill pic.jpg

the man.jpg

After taking "the man" 8pt out, I pulled the cards that I could get to without, what I felt like would jeopardize killing the Wide 7. Between 20:09 on Nov 9th and 07:31 on Nov 10th, the 7pt had broken his brow off. Knowing I had seen 3 other cameras showing the Wide 7 running "the man" 8pt off, I couldn't help but think, " I know how both of these instances happened now."

I had a few more attempts at sits that were "okay" and not aggressive in hopes of seeing the Wide 7. We have had such a roller coaster of weather this November here. A super nice cold front, followed by some smaller disturbances, lots of rains, and winds that mimicked the blades on a darn wind turbine!!

Hunt with a kill #2
November 23. Opening day of firearm season in Tennessee! WOW, what a day for opener :lol: :lol: :lol: the local weatherman calling for 100% rain precipitation,and a prediction of 1.38"
So I start formulating a plan.
Disclaimer:The following, is 100% credit to listening to Dan, reading and soaking up so much information from members, sharing knowledge here on The Hunting Beast. I wouldn't have thought of or attempted a plan like what I did here, just 7-8 years ago!

Straight south winds blowing where the Wide 7 lives. Started from an hour before daybreak, predicted until late afternoon. I am watching the radar and trying to determine what time the rain will break. Best I can tell, there will be a brief window around 16:00 until dark. Thanks to an app: Dark Sky (also recommended by a Beast member) that I have used this season and rely heavily on now... the wind direction is going to make a 180 degree turn during the last hour of daylight, and blow into the SSE

Making another reference in becoming intimate with my hunting area... I had an idea of a few spots, exactly where I thought the bucks would be in a lock down situation. In these areas, I felt like the bucks would try and herd a doe. ONE of these areas would be PERFECT for a South Wind. This area is nearly impossible for me to reach from a crosswind direction and IMPOSSIBLE from a lower entry. My plan was, to stage myself, just off wind, across the crest from where I suspected him to be.
When the wind shifted during the last hour, I was going to make my way silently to the crest and scan as far as I could see with the binos. I continuously checked the wind all afternoon, inching my way closer and closer to "MY STAGING AREA." I used a half container of milkweed on one hunt :lol: :lol:

Last hour is approaching and my wind is doing exactly as Dark Sky predicted! Wind has now changed and the milkweed seed is coming straight back to my chest. I have a tree planned out I want to make it to. This tree would allow me a view of the entire north facing slope.
As I am making my way on the saturated ground as silent as a predator could be, I see a small glimpse of white. Binos show the tail of a doe standing up from a bed. She shakes off and flickers her tail. Just 10 yards to her left I watch doe #2 doe the same thing almost at the exact time. I scan just to the East of them not 10 yards away, and I see a huge but facing me, rise up out of its bed. His front legs raise up and I can see a buck shaking off the water. His body looked like it had a huge mist all around him from his wet coat. I cannot tell which buck it is due to a huge red oak between he and I, and a very large root ball from a fallen tree.

When he turns to his right I see the thick right beam and the G2!! I knew this was the Wide 7!!
I didn't have a clean ethical shot at a double lung hit or even an angle to high shoulder him, so I kept my stuff together and waited. It only took a few seconds, maybe 15-20 seconds and he turned and offered me a standing still broadside shot in his bed, at 46 yds!
I settled and squeezed the trigger. The buck took an enormous lunging jump forward, the second his feet hit the ground, he tried to make a 180 degree turn, and dash away from the direction he was facing when I shot him. I only seen his body for a split second and seen his wide rack from behind! This is where I began to lose it!

Safety went on, I ejected the cartridge casing, caught it in my hand and chambered another. Stood right there perfectly still. I laid the gun down beside me and started scanning. I could see something white with the binos but it was really small. So I dialed the scope up a little and the white I seen was Wide 7's chin! Facing straight up to the sky! I calmed down (a very little) and closed my eyes and looked straight up to the sky too. I thanked the Lord for an incredible journey with one of his creatures! Made a few calls to my daughter, best friend and brother in law.

What an epic pursuit for a true mature Tennessee buck. I have so many stories with this buck, that would provide you all with so many opportunities that you could poke fun and tease me for a year. :lol: :lol: Aged 5.5, inside spread at 20.50", had a 34" neck and a 46.5" chest and weighed 218. A warrior with another year of battle scars.

Want to also add this little fact...With the 3.5 years of collected pictures and the countless hours on stand chasing him... this Saturday evening's hunt was the very first and only time I have ever laid eyes on him!

wide 7 2016.jpg
2017 wide 8 side.jpg

2017 wide 8.jpg
Wide Oct 31 2018.jpg

Wide 8 Oct 31 2018 side.jpg
Wide 7 as found.jpg

wide 7 truck bed.jpg
wide 7 truck bed back side.jpg

wide 7 pose 1.jpg
wide 7 back pose.jpg

wide 7 top width.jpg
top pic.jpg

In the end, I am so grateful for the opportunities and the abilities to do what I absolutely love... chase big bucks down! Doing it on their home turfs, with their rules! Losing so many battles with them. Learning from all the errors I make and the few times where things worked out. Facing the challenges, having fun, learning and growing as a hunter. Is there really anymore one could hope for in a sport or hobby?

Thank you for taking the time to read my short novel. I hope it was fun, and hope you felt like you were following along on a couple of hunts with me. God Bless! Hope everyone is "Feelin Beasty!"

PS: For those of you that know me.... ALL MY KILL PICTURES has to include a pic of my Pug "PIPER" :D :D
P and the man.jpg
wide 7 n P.jpg
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Sneeek'n'Around » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:55 am

This year I was lucky enough to draw a access permit for a gun reserved deer hunt in michigan , the week of the 25th to 30th. I was 1 of 20 buck tags drawn. They allowed a single weekend in early September to access the area to scout, but unfortunately due to work I wasn't able to make the scouting weekend. I studied maps with best options I had available to locate areas I want to put boots on the ground and check out. The week before my hunt began and I found my self on call , as a refrigeration technician things can be hit or miss but not this week I was being punished it felt like my on call week ended at 7am monday the 25th when the office was open , I worked 92 hrs that week and arrived home at 230 am the morning of the hunt. I threw some gear in the truck and hit the road close to 7am running late but knowing I was free and off for the week with my access permit. As light hit I decided to check a area that was alittle more than a mile from the parking lot , everything was alot wetter than I was expecting I walked count less miles that Monday, ended with wet feet and high Hope's for the week. I found some good bedding a entrance to a marsh that had multiple trails entering it , and 2 other marsh grass patches about 80 yards to either side of that that appeared to have some secondary bedding. Tuesday morning comes with a early start and some new tools to use to access this area, bike my kids kart and hip boots. My days started at 330am and followed by just over a hr drive. I packed my stand and sticks in and made my half mile pack slow and steady along the northern edge of the property a south west wind allows me to hunt the crossing I found the day before and secondary bedding as I get 100yrds or so from my approaching way point I catch eyes about 30yrds in front of me as I stop and pause a giant arises from his bed that I wasn't expecting! Here it is 545 in the morning and I'm thinking I just blew it I bumped him out of here. He tears off towards the crossing and I can hear the water as he blows right across it. I half hearted continued on my journey and set my stand with out any other surprises. Fully settled in a water for shooting light, 10 min after legal light I could hear rustling in the grasses. I turn and caught a nice 8 point slipping down the edge to the crossing /bedding entrance I was sitting. At this point I get the gun up and scope settled in , something just didnt feel right he was bigger than anything I harvested before but in the end not what I had in mind. So I watch him walk off into the marsh. With in the next 2hrs I observed 2 does and 2 other smaller bucks use this same access with the final buck bedding just on the other side of the water they had to cross, as if he was shitting the door for the other deer who already bedded in there.
Late morning I had a another hand full of small bucks and does proceeding to enter another secondary bedding to my right , on a map it appeared to be a small island off a oxbow on this creek.
The final deer I seen access the secondary bedding was a very nice taller racked buck , with only glimpses of him to go off of he was what I was here for with out question. Noon came. And all held tight I could see some deer come and go from the edge of bedding but none never left. The day quickly passed and afternoon faded into evening. With nothing more to show than a few does to show for it.
Wednesday came and weater suggested it might be good day for sneaking around rain and high wind comin , with heavy rain early and gust into the 60mph range called for the evening late morning and afternoon looked like a lull to try my plan. Around 10am I made the long cold and wet bike ride to the block I was hunting put on my hip boots and entered the woods , with in the first 15 min the skys changed and dark clouds rolled in. As I'm standing next to a big oak about 75yrds from my bike I can hear what appears to be low flying military jets and and sound like a few of them as I stand there puzzled on what is going on I can now hear large booms in the distance, I quickly realized that it wasn't jets but a wall on wind from the front edge of the storm that is now early , and it hits with a furry dang near blows me over and a instance of fear and panic set in as the booms I heard are from trees falling , I turned and ran as quickly as possible. I had multiple close calls and even a large oak falling within 20yrds of me the felt like it shook the ground. I made it back to the bike and trail without instance as I couldnt Believe what I was witnessing the amount of trees coming down and the force of wind I've never been out and exposed too. I made it all the way to back to the truck without issue , and nothing more to show for Wednesday than one of a story for my kids someday.
Thursday morning, turkey day! I got reminded the night before that dinner was at 1230 and not to be late. I made my early departure and my bike ride , hip boots on and off after crossing into the block of woods to my stand I left up Tuesday to my surprise one that it was still standing with the weather we had and 2 no damage to it with other falling debris. I sat with slow movement 3 doe and small spike showed that morning. I called it early wanting to make adjustments to stand location for the last 2 days of my hunt , weather called for ne and north winds I pulled set down and looped around to the island with bedding to the east of me setting my stand up 150 yrds to the south east of it ,looking at the clock realizing I had to hustle to make dinner , not Wednesday wind kind of hustle but I had to move with a purpose. I was late to dinner but eluded trouble buy dinner being late also . Spent the rest of the day with family and enjoying dinner.
Friday first sit in my new set high Hope's for the day , but with a bit of impatience and worry as days where running out. I packed for all day , I sat and didnt see hide nor hair of a deer till 11 am a small spike came threw and checked the bedding area and proceeded on. I grew hungry and decided I'd climb down and do lunch with my jet boil on the ground , as I did Tuesday from the stand but was a bit more of a hassle. I get to ground level and start to set up , I dont know what came over me but I was looking at a small swale on the map to the south of my location, I decided that if the afternoon proceed slow I'd walk /still hunt down to the swale later. 330 and still only that one deer I climbed down and just had to try something as I felt I wasn't in right area. I proceeded to south east with a north east wind I could just have a off wind to get by it. As I'm approaching I catch small doe on north side of swale she proceeded to feed off a bit I slip a few more yrd and all breaks loose a group of deer bust out of swale , I apparently had eyes on me I didnt know off they dont go far, as things calm down I attempt to move over the next 20yrds and 30mins I dont see or bump anything else and I can see the back door they haven't left yet. There I see something doesnt look right white standing out, I scope it so see it's a shooter buck standing on south side of swale watching me watching for the other deer. I got the scope on him and realized it was quite far my Best guess is around the 200yrd mark , I held high on his should and squeezed one off. Everything disappeared in a clould of smoke from the muzzleloader. I regain my composure and mark the last spot I seen him, I get down there and nothing no blood no hair no nothing. As I'm standing there I decide to cycle the area and get not 15 steps and see a rack laying out of the water! My heart sank I got him my biggest by far and couldnt be more pleased. The things I have learned and the bucks I've let walk for the yrs of hard work I finally put a good one on the ground. This is where the work begins , I tagged him and dressed out and quickly realize how heavy he is. I dragged for hrs before realizing I needed help . I contacted a nephew and left to head for bike and truck to gain assistance. By this time it was well after 8pm AMD we headed back in with now quite the contraption bike hooked to kid cart and deer cart hooked to kid cart ....it was a sight to see.
It was work and painfull as I am still sore now as i write this I wouldnt change any of it for a minute. And my nephew has a story to tell also the night that uncle jon dragged him out for a long bike ride, threw the marsh and flooded timber a night that either of us wont shortly forget
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby treeroot » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:34 pm

At the opener this year I came down with pneumonia so i had a slow start. Still made it out, but running on empty. The week before i shot my bow buck I was onto a good one. I miss judged and setup on the wrong exit trail from his bed. When I left my spot I saw his tracks and could smell him. The following weekend I was planning on getting back in there on Saturday but I was hurting and didn't want to risk hacking all the time close to his bedding. So I sat an observation on the neighboring property. Right at closing time I heard a gun shot and I was very confused, I didn't realize it was youth weekend. Later that night I got a call to come look at the little girls buck. Once there they informed me they'd be out Sunday moving stands and cutting shooting lanes. So I decided to go in blind to a public piece that just seemed over looked on a map.

Where I hunted was only 200 yards from the parking lot but I took a mile and a half j hook around to keep the wind and deers vision in my favor. It was a slow walk, took me almost 3 hours to cover the ground because I just couldn't breath. Where i ended up was a small finger that stuck out into a tiny swamp surrounded by hills. I figured/ hoped the few trees in the swamp would hold bedding. Once I got onto the little finger there wasn't much for sign, but I could see a faint trail following the edge to the point of the finger. So I climbed up in my saddle around 4:30. In my light headed moment setting up I misplaced once of my ring of steps over a little indent in the tree. So once I stepped on the steps they settled and fell a foot down to my sticks. Back down the tree I went to reset. I was beat by this point, but the area just had to much of a buck feel to jump ship.


View from the tree.

Around 5:15 a decent 8 point follows the script and comes in from my right on the path. I quickly get ready for a shot on my weak side and get drawn. He was to fast and cleared my shooting window so I let down and repulled on my left side. Finger on the release he nears the next shooting lane and I hear a noise back from where he came. I'm not sure why but I looked and here's a bigger buck coming in at a trot. So I wait for him to get into the lane I'm pulled on to stop him while the other buck continues on. I stop him but he takes one extra step putting a sapling covering his vitals. Somehow without a thought I take two steps up the tree fully extended and get a window around the sapling. I shoot and the arrow hits a solid quartering away shot about the same time my feet slip and I land back on my steps.


A few hours later and a short tracking job he piled up just before a bed. Which I'm assuming was the one he was in.


The drag out even with help was awful, 200 yards isn't far unless it's uphill. We had to keep stopping so I could hack and throw up. Not breathing isn't the greatest.


Entry side

Exit hit the elbow.


Took me a few days and another round of antibiotics after that to finally get over it.
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby hcooper84 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:21 am

This year is my first year utilizing the hang and hunt method. I was introduced to this style through The Hunting Public videos. After a couple episodes featuring Dan I decided I wanted to find out more. Some digging lead me to this forum and it has taken off from there. This forum has played a huge role in the buck I took down this year. The people on this site have lead me to be way more confident in myself as a hunter and have gotten me to be a more aggressive hunter, which has had tremendous upside. Before I get to the deer story, a huge shout out to Tennhunter3. He was more than generous with hooking me up with a Lone Wolf hang on stand...for only the shipping cost. The generosity and care for each other on this forum can not be matched.

Land layout:

For this buck I had two encounters with him. The first in the White location and the second in the Yellow location. The yellow squares are the two major bedding areas and deer usually funnel from these to the fields. The west field of the fence row is beans and the east field is corn, standing at the time I shot him. However, the corner of the field was pretty beat up due to deer and raccoons so shooting into the corner of the corn is rather easy. This is private land my good friend owns. He is currently in the military and only gets to hunt a couple days a year on his winter leave, but that is a different story.

Oct. 27:
I initially sat in the Yellow pin location on the map to get a visual on what was coming into the fields in the evening. I face south. The first sit I saw several does and 2.5 year old bucks milling about, coming from both bedding areas I described in the land layout. I had one nice buck cut through the woods south of me where I could not get a shot. Also at dark when I climbed down in the south corner of the west field was what I assume a mature buck.

Nov. 2:
At this point I had only hunted this location on some sort of south wind. However, this evening it was a NW so I decided to sit across the bean field from the fence row on the ground. At 3:30 a GIANT buck steps out from the woods across the field where my hang on is still currently sitting in the fence row. He eats lightly then steps back into the woods then I see him pop out almost underneath my hang on but also up wind of it. I should have been sitting there...I tried stalking parallel with him down the fence row but lost eyes on him and never found him again that evening. For clarification this is not the buck I end up shooting.

Nov. 3:
I now have a SE wind and decide to return to my hang on. However, I move it to the White pin location on the land layout image facing into the woods in hope that they cant bypass me. I see many bucks this evening, they all stay to my west and walk out to a scrape 15 yds from me...however there is too much brush for me to have a shot to this scrape. With 10 minutes left of light a big mature 8 point walks this same path. He then begins to walk up the fence row on the corn side. I have a shot to here but he is walking directly away from me. I try to stop him but he is in a bad position and I only have an EXTREME quartering away shot. I decide to pass the shot. If I wouldnt have moved my stand I could have smoked him at ten yards. Thats two shooter bucks I could have shot out of that spot.

Nov. 9:
I elected to move my stand back to the original yellow pin location due to me having two potential shots at good deer from it. This sit I have a SW wind. Maybe thirty minutes into my hunt I hear something sloshing through the beans to my left (Im facing south). This catches me off guard. The few times I have sat here no deer have come from straight east. Ive had them come from the NE in the morning but everything else has come from the south. There is a tangle of branches between me and the bean field and I cant see him until he is 20 yards away. My heart skips..its the buck from Nov. 3rd. Unfortunately he is walking straight at me and were both clearly visible to each other. At about 10 yards from the field edge he stops. Now my heart sinks, this is the moment I know for sure he will see me or smell me. For some reason he decides to turn south and gives me a perfect 10 yard broadside shot. I make a perfect shot sitting down getting both lungs and slicing the heart. He dies on the opposite edge of the field where he came from. I am ecstatic! I get on my phone and immediately send photos to my friend in the army who owns the land. We are both on cloud nine.


Since then:
I have laid eyes on the GIANT buck again. I watched him in his bed 130 yards away. The plan is to hunt him extremely hard the last few days of season when my friend returns for leave. I hope to get him on this buck and one of us shoot him due to him having history with the buck last year. Hopefully that buck story will make it on here as well.
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby G3s » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:24 pm

This hunt was pretty mundane. The deer activity was very very slow, the timing was right but that was all I had going on this hunt. I hunted long days, going over and over in my mind what to do to get into the deer. I decided to stay true to my thought process and hunted from the food areas and daily moved closer to bedding. I had one stand I was really anxious to hunt but I did not want to skip down into that area to quickly and skip over an area only to regret it later. November 5th I climbed onto the stand early in the area that the deer had no choice but to come by within range of my bow. To my right was a 15’ y’all rock wall and to my left was a holler that was to steep to cross and to wide to jump. If the deer wanted to come through that area they had to come right past the stand. Anticipation was high. After sitting the majority of the day with no sightings I was thinking about my plan for the following day. I figured I better snap back to reality and pay attention or I might miss the sign of a deer approaching. At 5:00 I caught a glimpse off antler below me going through the thickest area of the holler. I hit my grunt call and he was on a string straight for me. Seconds later it was all over as he closed to 15 yards. After the shot he ran about 30 yards, his antlers tangled in the briars and he went over backwards...stone dead.
5 years of history died with him. 5 years of trail cam pictures and countless sightings come to a close. We figure he was 7.5 this season. It was a stroke of luck that it was me that got him. He had not been on camera all year this year until about an hour before I killed him. The size of this deer was mind blowing for me. He had a massive body, he neck was nearly 30” around and he had a dressed weight of over 260lbs. His antler are not enormous but he was a beauty of an 8 point. 21” wide and 6” antler bases. Last year he had a big spike for the right side and put that side back on this year.
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby austin1990 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:37 pm

I seen this deer one afternoon in july browsing in a field while I was hunting hogs. I went in the next day and hung 3 cameras in about 200 yards trying to pinpoint his access routes. It took 3 weeks of checking and moving cameras before I got the first pic of him. I then got a cell camera and put it up in order to keep tabs on him easier. Then it became pretty obvious he really liked this area and came every day, generally in daylight before dark and even a few times in the morning after daylight, so I knew he was bedding close by. I noticed he always came from the same direction so I had a direction of where he was bedding, but wasn't really sure where exactly. About middle of September I actually found his bed, by seeing him in it! I came from a different direction than usual on the 4 wheeler while checking cows and running the cameras and drove by within 20 yards of him bedded. He was in just little wad of trees and briars not 10 foot big in a wooded corner with open pasture on 2 sides. From there he could see me coming for a couple hundred yards from the east, smell anything in the field he liked to graze in thanks to the prevailing winds that time of the year. Also with his back to cover nothing could catch him by surprise. So from there I came up with a plan on how to hunt him, I had to access from a couple different direction than I had ever done while hunting here and had to wait for the time to get right. I generally ran cameras and checked cows on fridays, and on those days he usually didnt show up in daylight but would 15 minutes or so after dark. The next day he'd be back in daylight though, so I didnt want to break the routine and the Friday before season opened I did the same thing, went the same route as usual on the 4 wheeler but stopped and hung my sticks on a tree I knew I could get to and he couldn't see from his bed. Opening day I went there that evening but the wind wasn't exactly right so I left, but went ahead and left my platform in the tree. September 29th, second afternoon of season the wind had switched to southeast which is rare here, but a perfect off wind to catch him slipping through. I slipped in to the tree, it was 85 and hot but I slipped in from the west. Got settled in the saddle about an hour before dark. Saw a couple spikes and smaller bucks but sure enough right at last light I saw him coming. I drew back, got him in an opening at 23 yards and the rest is history. He went about 100 yards or so. He was by far the deer I kept tabs on the most, and used the most strategy to kill. In the past I've always caught the bucks I've killed in rut funnels, or a hot feed tree, where as this one I was very particular on how I done things and planned every little bit of it. Definitely a very rewarding hunt. Included is some pics of him, including a still from the evening I first saw him in july. He was so far and it was so dark my camera couldn't take much of a pic, but you could tell he was big. Definitely a 7 point that would be hard to top. So attached Is a few cam pics and an aerial of my setup.
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:18 am

How I got kilt

I have lived in this marsh for over 3 years, it's a wonderful area with lots of browse, cover and some great places to bed down. On 10/6/2019 some no-good sneaky son-of-a-gun sneaked in and kilt me less than 60 yards from my bed. Surviving this long hasn't been easy, especially when the orange pumpkins invade with their boom sticks. I learned not to wander around in the daylight like all my old dead buddies used to do. The past two years I've had a buddy I send out first. It's worked very well, until it didn't. He's alerted me to danger many times. Recently with the cooler weather my buddy has seemed a little put out and withdrawn, maybe even downright hostile. We had a few minor altercations, I even cracked a few tines, but we worked out our differences (I thought).

The night he betrayed me we had a 15 mph W/SW wind. We bedded in thick cover on the edge of the woods because our cattail bedding was under water. Just after sundown we browsed around a bit and were thinking of heading out of the thick cover. When it was almost dark my buddy eased out of the cover and headed out. Being no fool, I observed him and looked for any signs of trouble. He calmly walked down the trail and then turned to head out of the trees through some thicker brush on the edge of a field. He paused and raised his nose (this slightly concerned me) and began looking up in a tree. After a few minutes he left the woods and headed into the brush. I now knew it was safe to come out, because in the past he would always blow or stomp if there was danger (sneaky bugger).

I eased out of the cover and followed his exact path. I hadn't walked more than 20 yards when I hear a THUMP and a THWACK and felt a slight burn in my ribs. I tore out of there like a bat out of hades, but felt lightheaded after running only 120 yards, then everything began to fade to black. The next thing I know I'm surrounded by my old dead buddies :dance: . They said this place is called the "Happy Hunting Grounds" and it is a very happy place because no one can kill us here.

Amazingly I got to watch the hunter take a picture of a great sunset and climb down from his perch, up high, in a tree. I watched him make his way to the spot where I was walking when I felt the burn in my ribs. He was shinning a light around looking for something on the ground. After looking for a few minutes in the tall grass, he proceeded down the trail I'd taken. He stopped frequently to look in the grass and mark the trail (what a dolt all he had to do is smell my track :lol: ). A couple of times he seemed lost and circled around like a fool. After 45 minutes he eventually found me laying in the grass.

I'm still kind of mad at my 9 point buddy.... but this isn't a bad place. All my old buddies in the "Happy Hunting Grounds" have similar stories of betrayals and foolish mistakes that brought them here. I only have two regrets, trusting my 9 point buddy and I was sooooo close to that glorious time of the year when we get to chase does (and sometimes catch them) ;) .

View from the stand, bucks came in from straight ahead.


As I found him.


Buck in the truck





Thank you to Dewey for helping on the drag out :clap: :clap: :clap: . It wasn't a bad one, but it is SOOOOO much easier with another set of hands. I'm looking forward to helping him drag one out in a week or two.

MN buck 11/5/2019

I tagged a Wisconsin buck in October so decided to hunt Minnesota late October and early November. A buddy (JAB) and I had scouted three different properties over two weekend trips in 2018 and 2019. The cover on most of these properties was phenomenal, and I was planning on hitting the property with the best cover.

I did a few hunts the week of 10/22/2019, there was almost no hunting pressure and I saw a few 4 and 6 pointers, a few does and one two year old. I wasn't discouraged because I was seeing sign of some larger bucks, mainly large tracks in scrapes. I came back to Minnesota the week of 10/28 and continued bouncing around trying to get on something decent. I continued to see small bucks, one two year old buck and very few does.

JAB joined me on 10/31 and hunted the same property, which he had hunted the previous year and had similar results to my current experience. JAB being less patient and possibly more intelligent switched to another property just down the road and on 11/3 killed a buck. I decided to go to a property that had the worst cover, meaning it was the most open. The morning on 11/4 I had a doe track me close to the tree and then around 11:20 had a dandy 10 pointer come in, unfortunately my shot was deflected by an unseen twig :violin: :violin: . My brother was hunting in Iowa and had the EXACT same thing happen, deflected arrow on a good buck :lol: :lol:

On 11/5 I decided to sit the same area, but in a different tree to avoid the offending twig from the previous day. I had nice cool temps and a N/NW wind, as the sun hit the hillside below me I caught movement 80 yards away. I could see a rack and thought he looked like a two year old eight pointer. I gave a quiet bleat and he headed my way. At 25 yards I stopped him, released the arrow and knew immediately I had made a crap shot :angry-banghead: :angry-banghead: :angry-banghead:

I watched the buck run a bit, then slowly work his way to the south east and lost sight of him about 100 yards away. I sat in the stand disgusted with myself for a poor shot and continued glassing the area I last observed the buck. The wind was faint and I did not want to go tromping around for my arrow until the wind speed picked up. About a half hour later I get a text from my brother that he had a buck down :dance: .

I climbed down, quietly tore down the stand and sticks and tiptoed to my arrow. The arrow confirmed what I already knew...liver and gut hit. :angry-banghead: .

I made the long walk of shame back to the truck and drove to help Zonk54 retrieve his buck. It took a couple hours for JAB, Zonk54 and myself to get his buck out. I was planning on giving my buck at least 12 hours, but snow was on the way (supposed to hit around 7 or 8 PM and I decided we couldn't wait. JAB and I arrived at the property and by the time we got to the top of the hill it was 4:30. Went to the arrow hit spot and found very little blood. We split up following trails in the general direction the buck traveled finding no blood. I knew he was walking when I last saw him and should have been leaving a blood trail. We went up and down the hill checking each trail we came across. I glanced to my right and saw something white, walked a little closer and saw that it was my buck :dance: .

We found the buck about 125 yards from my stand, and I was very thankful for that fact. JAB and I had the buck out in an hour or two. Thanks JAB!


I think he is a 1.5 year old.

I'm currently working on canning some venison :dance: :dance:


Overall Minnesota was a fun trip and plan to check out some more properties when I get a chance.

2019 Wisconsin Gun Buck

It’s been a long hard November; I’ve been running like a fool
I can’t really help it; those doe make me drool

Running and chasing; not an ounce of fat on my back
Worn down and weary; but still carry a big rack

The third day of gun season; I was slinking back to bed
I knew I was late; was worried I’d end up dead

I crossed the ravine; with a clatter of rock
Bedding is near; finally some rest for my big swinging ___

Eighty yards to go; I sneak through the brush
Flooded with relief; I’m not in a rush

Thinking about a J-hook; I hear a loud BOOM
A thump in my chest; I know I’m now doomed

Sprint up the hill; it’s instinct I think
Wonder who pulled the trigger? Probably some dink

I fall down twice; painting the ground with my blood
Third time down; it’s all over bud

Staring up to Heaven; everything goes black
Bucks all around me; apparently whacked

Two other bucks; they too ran out of luck
All three of us; killed by the same lucky shmuck

Blood on the trail


As I found him.




Top view


For all you uncouth, dip in the lip, pee off the porch degenerates...

Buck in the truck


A thank you is due to JAB for the brutal ten yard drag to the logging road :lol: . Thanks for tolerating me for 3 fun days of hunting.
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Re: 2019 -'20 Season - Big Buck Contest Essays

Unread postby may21581 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:38 am

For my 2019-2020 season I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. In the years prior I had primarily focused on prerut and rut hunting. Since joining the beast I've read and listened to alot of discussions about early season and this sparked my interest so I thought I would throw everything I had at it.
I glassed alot during the summer and found some great early season food sources. In the later part of july I found a pretty good buck. Not wanting to tip my hat I stayed out and only monitored him from time to time. I ran some trailcams away from this food source but no where near where he fed. I kept tabs on him and he stayed true to his patterns. I went in on october 4th when I had the proper conditions and upon entering I found a big scrape that was fresh and near his feeding area. I knew I had to set up right there asap. I got all set up quietly and was in my stand for 45 minutes and he comes out. What I wasnt expecting was he came in right under my stand. He hit his scrape and made a quartering away turn and I took a shot when he was at like 5 yards. I had rushed the shot and missed his vitals. I never did recover this buck, I hope he survived. After this event it kinda took the wind out of my sails.
Later on in october I was able to get on another mature buck. I would estimate him to be in the 160s. The closest I was able to get was 62 yards at closing time and he never presented me with a closer shot. I had to watch him fade away into the darkness that evening.
Fast forward to the rut and I was getting into some good chasing and bucks but the problem was they were all smaller bucks. I was holding out for something mature. So I hunted hard and was not able to get it done during the peak chase phase.
So now we are getting into gun season. I'm debating with myself on where I want to go. I only have one farm that is private I can hunt, and the rest is all public. The previous year I had gotten onto some good bucks there but wasnt able to close the deal, that another story but totally my fault. So I decided I would go in and hunt first light here. I know there were some big ones around and the gun opener is a great time to catch one off guard. I got in about an hour before sun up and got settled in. About a half hour later I catch a headlight coming down the road to a private parcel that know one has permission to hunt and a spot I am expecting movement from. I block it out and keep my thoughts positive.
About ten minutes later a suv pulls down the farmers drive and parks by an awesome doe bedding area. The guy starts his atv and let's it warm up and proceeds for the next ten minutes to get his jacket and boots on while leaving his car run and lights on. Now it's getting close to sunrise and this is just about the time to catch a big buck moving. The guy then gets on his atv and peels off into another area. So now I'm starting to get frustrated, I know my odds are diminishing quickly in front of me. This awesome hunting sanctuary that I remembered and had success on the year prior had turned into a zoo without me knowing it prior to that sit. I rode it out and hunted till 9 am. I saw a few does but not to my surprise no big bucks or any for that matter. I knew I had to make a move and my season was teetering on what choice I made in the next few moments. I decided it was time to go back to public!
I knew of one buck bedding spot that I was not able to hunt with a bow due to how it set up. It was an overlooked spot in the area where other hunters did not go. It was kinda like a hollow within a hollow. You had to go down one hollow up that ridge and back into another hollow. I passed one or two other hunters that were hunting the tops of the hills in climber stands where they could see the whole valley below, all except this hidden bedding area.
I proceeded in and knew I wanted to get close. I got about 200 yards passed those others hunters and hit fresh sign. I found fresh scrapes, rubs, and most importantly several does that were about 50 yards up on the opposite ridge. I knew what I had to do, I heard about it and now I was about to perform it myself. I proceeded with the "bump and dump". I climbed the ridge and got within 20 yards above where I seen those doe traveling. From this vantage I could see the scrapes and rubs, I was above the does main trail, and i had a perfect view of the valley below. The wind was also perfect for this bedding area and i had entered from the down wind side. I found the best seat in the woods which was a cherry tree that grew deformed in the shape of a "u" and sat in it. By 1015 a mature buck was rolling out of the bedding area and traveled exactly where the does were. I let him drop to the bottom where the scrapes were and I made a 50 yard shot dropping him in his tracks.
Lessons learned. The bump and dump is a great tool for the . Hunt fresh sign when you find it. Dont be afraid to make a move when things go south. Most importantly dont ever stop believing in yourself and never give up! My spring scouting told me where the bedding was, the fresh sign and scouting on my way in told me where I needed to be. The decision I made at the farm determined how my season was going to end. I believe I made the right choice.
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