Kayaking under the stars

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Jonny
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Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Jonny » Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:10 am

Haven't gotten out to hunt at all this year. Lady and I bought a vacation place this summer and she wanted to spend every weekend up there until they shut the water off (october 15th). Took some friends and family up there with us most weekends so usually I was preoccupied being the camp chef, fishing guide, boat driver, wallet opener. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't make getting out and hunting that much easier. Probably could have prioritized it more but I think she appreciated that I put it on the back burner for her.

Anyways we winterized our place last weekend. No running water and the closest bathroom is a 15 minute car ride, or the porta potty my neighbor puts on his site in the fall. Needless to say, the chick was done coming up. Came up thursday but didn't get out of work in time to hunt, so I got a lot of yard work done. Friday morning I passed on hunting to get more tasks done around the site, and keep my head above water on work tasks. Come noon, I was itching to get out.

Put the kayak in the water around 2pm, and signed in to a conference call for work. Wonder if my boss could hear the water splashing from my paddle as I kayaked while presenting something that shouldve waited until next week. Finally got down to where I wanted to park the kayak, hopped out, dragged it up on shore and behind some brush, and sat and waited for the call to be done. Finally I texted another guy asking if could fill in for me for the remainder of the call, and I hung up. Texted my boss and said I had connection issues :liar:. It was 2:45 and I needed to get going.

Stand all loaded up on the kayak.
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Waiting for the conference call to end.
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Haven't scouted this property intimately, but I walked it earlier in the year with my dad and once this fall already so I knew where I wanted to go, just hoped there was some good sign to tell me exactly where to be. Walked about 10 yards into the woods and then the wind started. Perfect, plenty of cover noise. Then the rain started, and just as fast it switched to hail. Walked back where I wanted to go, and couldn't even hear myself walking it was that loud. Got back onto the point I wanted to sit and just slowly zigzagged my way down it looking for any sign. I came in from the north and there was a west to southwest wind. The point tapers down as you go south, but about 200 yards from the end of the point, a huge storm a few years back uprooted a bunch of trees so its thicker than snot. A couple lone oaks here and there and a bigger cluster right on the tip, but I have no idea on how I could physically get there. Also with how little hunting pressure there is, I didn't think being that far from the tip would hurt my chances, and thought that they might even be bedding in the thickets right in front of me. Finally picked a tree I liked that had some decent cover, and could cover a majority of what I wanted to cover. Sign wasn't what I was hoping for, couple fresh rubs, but my gut said it was the spot to be. Got the first 2 sticks hung on the tree then the heavens opened up and the blizzard moved in. Quickly got the stand hung and situated so I would be ready when the storm quit since I could see sunlight to the west already.

View from the stand. Buck came right out of the thicket behind that first big tree.
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Once the storm was done and I was soaked to the bone, it took maybe 20 minutes for me to catch a glimpse of movement in the thicket. Saw a flash of antler with a couple tines and immediately said I was gonna shoot him if I got a chance. Got the bow in hand, hooked the release on, and waited. Watched him eat in front of me for a good half hour. Had 2 iffy shot windows that I didn't like after drawing back. Finally he ate enough browse and started walking down a trail that would have given me a 10 yard shot. Gets about 3 steps away from the window, and he decides to turn around and go back. Went back to where he was eating, had a couple more bites, then started walking down a different trail that would give me about a 30 yard shot. I drew back and saw a couple small branches just barely covering his vitals. I figured he was a couple yards back from the brush and knew the arrow trajectory would let me miss the brush but hit him. Settled the pin and let er rip. Took off on a bulldozer death run and flopped over 30 yards away. Could just barely see him from the tree if I swung around to the backside. As soon as he made his death groan and last kicks, the woods erupted and deer were all over the place in the swamp he ran to. Saw a doe and fawn but it sounded like a train went through the area. Could see trees moving all over.

Waited about a half hour and got down to go look for the arrow, couldn't find it. Didn't find any blood either. Started walking towards where he laid and then the blood showed up. Think he was a little farther away than I thought at first. Backtracked my way to where I shot him and found a broken half an arrow with the broadhead on it. Shooting grim reaper mechanicals. Snapped one blade off and bent the ferrule. Not sure if I hit a rock in the ground or what.

Went back to take a look at the buck and he definitely gained some size. Rack was a lot thicker and the body was much bigger than expected. Needed to move him about 10' to get him in a better spot to gut and man was that a chore.
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Went back to the tree to tear down my set up while it was still light. Got a phone call from the lady first, then my dad who is having some health issues and probably won't be able to hunt this year. Think it really killed him that he wasn't there with me for it. Had just enough daylight to gut it out. First time gutting one solo, and man does that suck compared to having someone else who can hold the legs. Used my linemans belt to strap a leg to a tree. Then this is where the fun begins. Had a half mile drag, didn't have a sled back at my place and didn't want to leave the deer either. Way too many nights listening to the coyotes for me to feel comfortable leaving a deer in the woods. Leap frogged my way back to the river 100' at a time. First the stand and bow, then the buck. Eventually made it back to the river and wasted 15 minutes trying to find my kayak. Hid it real well I guess.

Got him loaded up in the front of the kayak, and put my bow and stand/sticks behind my seat. Hopped in and pushed myself out into the river to start paddling upstream. Aside from being pretty chilly, it was an absolutely beautiful night. River was calm, stars were out. Couldn't have been any better.

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Got about halfway back and took a 10 minute breather to just enjoy the moment (probably drifted back past where I started). Nice to just sit there in the peace and quiet and enjoy the star light and slight ripple on the water. Have had a lot of memorable hunts, especially with my dad, but this one was really remarkable. Only downside is nobody was around to see it. Got back to the campground and only 2-3 sites had people there and they were all up at the bar. Sucked because I was really hoping I could get someone's help to lift the buck into my truck. After 15 minutes of swearing loudly, I got him loaded up solo.

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Took the deer and kayak up towards town, dropped the now blood covered kayak off in the storage shed and went to kwik trip. Got 2 bags of ice to stuff in the chest cavity and between the hams, a pizza for dinner, and a $1 point special tall boy to celebrate. Had a couple guys stop by in the parking lot to check it out while I waited for my pizza and congratulate me. Got my dinner and headed back to the camper to eat and get a quick powernap. Laid in bed for about 2 hours just cramping up a storm.

Back up the next day at 3am to drive home and get it hung up and cut up. Spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday processing. Did manage to get one picture taken where I was in it. Didn't have a scale but I'd guess he was around 150-160lbs dressed, 3.5 y/o. Just guessing based on my other kills. Lots of meat on him.

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Easily one the most exciting hunting experiences I've ever had. Biggest buck to date, first one using the kayak, and first one going back to hunt a property I haven't hunted in probably 10+ years when I could just walk to it. Looking forward to chasing does the rest of bow season and spending a lot of time really learning this piece of public, and a couple others. Nice to have that pressure off my shoulders knowing I got one tag filled and plenty of venison for my family. Thought about getting a shoulder mount but with a wedding coming up next summer, I decided I will put the antlers on a plaque and hang in the camper. Only a couple hundred yards from where I shot the buck. Don't really have much room in there for a shoulder mount anyways.


I do have to say thanks to Dan and everybody else who makes this site great. Without you guys I never would have thought about even trying to do something like this, or knowing where to start.
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muddy
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby muddy » Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:14 am

That's awesome
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Crazinamatese » Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:22 am

Didnt read the story yet but congrats thats a good buck!
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thwack16
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby thwack16 » Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:30 am

Great job Jonny! Awesome buck!
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Net Guy
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Net Guy » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:19 am

Awesome hunt, Jonny! Congratulations again! :clap: :dance: :clap: :dance:
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Nocturnal
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Nocturnal » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:28 am

Awesome Jonny! Followed your hunt in the livehunt thread! Congrats!!!
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greenhorndave
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby greenhorndave » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:28 am

Great hunt man! :clap:
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RidgeGhost
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby RidgeGhost » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:30 am

Nice job. That was a super cool hunt!
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oldrank
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby oldrank » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:13 am

nice buck man !!!
Rich M
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Rich M » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:28 am

Good job - nice buck!
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rfickes87
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby rfickes87 » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:44 am

Way to go buddy! Always wanted to kayak a buck out.
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seazofcheeze
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby seazofcheeze » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:47 am

Congrats man, sounds like a fun hunt and a great buck!
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Tsom
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Tsom » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:59 am

Congrats jonny!
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hunter_mike
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby hunter_mike » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:41 am

:clap: Congrats Jonny :character-beavisbutthead:
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Dewey
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Re: Kayaking under the stars

Unread postby Dewey » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:56 am

Good job Jonny. :clap:

Now you need to tell the little woman since your WI buck tag is filled you now need to hunt another state. ;)


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