End of the line

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End of the line

Unread postby hcooper84 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:25 pm

I have spoken about the following buck a few times. I mentioned him in my big buck contest essay. I do not post alot though so I'll give a shorthand story to speed everyone up.


These are sheds from the 2018 season. My best friend, an Army MP, was home for christmas that season. We were hunting together on the ground and I was able to experience the joy of him shooting this buck. Unfortunately, we believe he hit the shoulder and he was using expandables so theyre was likely little impact. It was last light it was hard to tell. We tracked him for probably 1.5 miles the next morning but we never found him or the arrow.

My good friend had to return to duty. In mid February of 2018 my younger brother and I decided to shed hunt the ground. That is when we found the sheds laying right next to each other. AWESOME! The buck had survived!

The summer before the 2019 season I found this forum and instantly bought in. So I decided to be more aggressive this 2019 season and I was lucky enough to have a hang on stand given to me and I got some sticks for cheap as well. I began the 2019 season by hunting a section of timber that no one had hunted in years. It is thick and nasty and intimidating to most hunters who dont know about the beast way.

On my third hunt of this area I had my first encounter with this same buck that my friend had shot the year before. He snuck up behind me towards last light. He was in the wide open and already close enough that it was difficult for me to turn around. I have had multiple encounters with mature bucks but never had I seen a deer so cautious and calculated with each step. He moved so slow.

I spotted him at around 20 yards and he was walking inline towards me. I was able to turn around by the time he got to 10 yards but unfortunately I had a big limb in my way and it was difficult for me to lean around it. I was shooting mechanicals and was not confident in a quartering to shot. I plan to up my set to some adult arrows (ranch fairy) so I do not have to worry about this anymore. (Im also very tall and pulling 70 lbs so I should be able to blow through about anything if I up my FOC). He ends up catching my scent pooling around the tree and bounds off to 30 yds away. Still no shot, end of first encounter.

I went on to see him two more times this season. Once around the rut and the final time in the middle of december. I actually spotted him bedded and watched him for a couple hours in his bed and feeding in a corn field. My friend was coming home from the army in a few weeks so I decided not to pursue him. I believe I could have gotten close enough for a shot, the wind was strong and in my favor. But, I also didnt want to spook him and ruin our chances of getting a shot at him when my friend returned home. In hindsight this was a poor choice.

My friend comes home we never see the buck. The season ends the buck is nowhere to be found.

This past Saturday, Feb. 15th, I took my brothers shed hunting at this property again. And look at what we find...


My little brother coyote hunt this property a week ago and found a dead deer. It is very decomposed already as you can see.


You can also see that this skeleton is a shed buck and a rather large one at that. To clear my head I decide to put the sheds on the dead buck just to make sure it wasn't his carcass there dead. To my horror it was. The base of the antlers matched up perfectly with the dead buck.

We went on scouting and shed hunting and found another old antler. After comparing them I believe we have 4 different years of sheds of this buck.


I measured the 2018 season sheds with a 20" spread and it scored 172. I believe this years sheds score somewhere around that as well. I plan to reattach the sheds to the dead skull, then I will give a final number for what he scored this year. I believe he died within a week or two after I last saw him.

An interesting fact, we found this years full set within 50 yards of where we found the set last year. And the antler I believe to be from 2 seasons ago was found within 100 yards of these full sets.

I dont regret not putting a move on him when I saw him bedded. I was very much looking forward to my friend and I hunting him down together. However, going forward I will not pass up an opportunity like that again. There are too many other variables in play.

*Additionally this weekend we found a few dead bucks and another buck that had died after shedding. I couldnt find any signs of death due to them being decomposed, but it seems odd for disease to be going around in the middle of winter. Has this occurred with anyone else?
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Re: End of the line

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:32 pm

That was one heck of a buck. It's a bummer you didn't get an arrow in him, but you have a great story to tell with all the sheds. Impressive.
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Re: End of the line

Unread postby muddy » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:02 am

Bummer. But at least you have closure
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Re: End of the line

Unread postby EllieTheChubb » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:05 am

That is an amazing collection of sheds! Its really cool to see that progression.
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Re: End of the line

Unread postby may21581 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:14 am

That's one heck of a story and sad to see it end that way. He was a big buck for sure and was good sized. Atleast you know what happened and the story has ended. Not the way you wanted it to but it did. Sounds like one heck of a chase to me.
"Failure is the price for entry for achieving something great"

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