chasing a ghost

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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ghoasthunter
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chasing a ghost

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:35 am

hes alive im shocked! well last year i located a giant buck up in the mountains i pursued him all season, and never even was close too him or so i thought.


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during the summer i like running mineral for pics for taking inventory for the next season. well one day i check the camera and get a buck that drops my jaw. The Hunt is on. from the pics i determined the buck was using a east facing point when i had him on camera. what i didn't know was the journey this buck would take me on. I hunted for this deer at least once a week all season. I found one big rub from the buck all season and was starting to think he was not in the area i hunt much at all. i ran cameras on rub lines down the ridge i ran them over scrapes i tried every spot. I never got another pic of the buck and gave up mid November and switched over to the biggest buck i knew was around and had him on the ground in 3 days.

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after the season i decided i have to find this deer and see if hes still alive. i spent a month in the mountains scouting every day after the season. lucky for me we did not get snow till late. I managed to locate 4 beds one on the east point half way down off the front below all the other buck bedding. the bed was worn too dirt and covered in hair and there was big poo every place. above the bed was a wall of laurel 300 yards thick and close too fifty other buck beds. below him was heavily hunted private land and wide open woods all of it was one gigantic drainage that goes for close too half a mile. I noticed something special in this bed, the buck can see six giant boxed in permanent tree fort sized stands and the atv trail coming off the hill. this buck had these poor guys made in the dark before they even headed up. the buck was not using wind too his back in this bed, but he had the cover and other deer too his back. he also had 3 different thermals a major sight advantage and hearing the sounds from below seam too echo up the drainage from the bottom over a mile away. this spot is crazy! i figured out the buck is just skirting the elevation lines too enter the bed the front is almost vertical rock.

on too the next bed i traced out the bucks entry and exit trails buy terrain threw the mountains buy finding small clues along the way mostly buy giant dropping the size of grapes. i figured out the buck travels along cliff edges about halfway down the mountain so around 1000 foot elevation line. at this elevation hes not doing the normal hes not on upper one third using the wind why o why? one day running the cliffs i walked myself into a pinch in the rocks there were 100 foot cliffs above me and 100 foot cliffs below me but i was still finding deer sign the ledge was about 100 yards wide at the mouth and i started finding small buck bedding every place on the flat spots above trees on the uneven terrain. i thought to myself well these deer are dump they are trapped in hear. then it happened again i get all the way too the back and locate a giant rub next too a huge tree and a huge bed. next too a giant 200 year old red oak.

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why would this buck bed hear? i walked behind his bed and found this.

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Im scratching my head this does not make sense for a big buck. Then i noticed the rubs in the boulder fields, and a faint trail this buck is now a goat!

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i concluded the buck is using the deer and line of sight too use this bed he can see anything coming for 170 yards. i followed the trail threw the boulders and traced it up the hill and ver the top and back down the back side straight too this bed buried in the thickest patch of laurel ive ever been threw its more than 500 acers of impenetrable fortress. safe from deer drives and anything else. i located 2 more big beds in there that are strictly setup for sound alone nothing can touch this buck.

now fast forward too yesterday morning i cant get in on this buck without blowing it out in afternoons. so i hunted the point bed on entry exit trails on the down wind end 30 yards from the bed in a tree on the edge of a cliff. when daylight came i noticed something glowing white in a laurel bush ten feet from the bed. holy smokes a shed!

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at least now i know he made it threw the season and that im not crazy chasing a deer that does not even exist. so the hunt is on! I learned alot about this buck all the trails this deer uses avoids other deer trails and is always down hill so thermals play this buck is full nocturnal almost all the time. he avoided all my areas with cameras and normal places you would expect to find deer hes literally been under my nose all this time. some of my setups last year i was under 200 yards from this deer but hunting the wrong sign. the bases on the shed have almost no sign of wear so he does not rub trees. the rubs he does make are very subtle a couple swipes with deep gouges thats it. almost looks like a bear scratched a tree but its not at a angle its vertical. the best way too tell the difference is on a buck you will notice light marks higher up from the tines. i still have a lot too figure out but at least im headed in the right direction. i started approaching his beds twice this year but opted to back out because i didnt think i could make the wind sight and hearing work for me. but one day everything will be right to make a move i hope... here is a pic of me holding his shed too another buck shed i found couple years ago of equal size for perspective.

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backstraps
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby backstraps » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:07 am

Thats good stuff there ghosthunter!! Man I hope you can close the chapter on him. Good Luck
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby KLEMZ » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:36 am

Very detailed observations ghosthunter. You never mentioned tracks, is that because they are hard to find in the rocky mountain terrain? I too am a believer in dropping size being important sign when hunting an exceptionally mature buck. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby Brandonkinchen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:50 am

I hope you get him.
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby brancher147 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:53 am

Good luck. I know what it’s like to chase one of those ghost like old mountain bucks around...
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby Josh_S » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:39 am

Awesome history with this buck, I hope you get a crack at him. I would bet there's more than one shooter buck bedding on the edge of that 500 acre laurel thicket. It would be extremely difficult to bow hunt. What's your plan? Morning or evening?
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby Deerslayer31 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:24 pm

Ghost you have definitely done your homework. I hope that you post a picture with him. I see you are from NJ we definitely have a long season here if you wait for all the right conditions your stars will all line up good luck.
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ghoasthunter
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:30 pm

KLEMZ wrote:Very detailed observations ghosthunter. You never mentioned tracks, is that because they are hard to find in the rocky mountain terrain? I too am a believer in dropping size being important sign when hunting an exceptionally mature buck. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

yea its hard too find a track from this deer or any deer where i hunt its just too rocky but he does have a big foot prob close too 3 wide and 3.5 long. most of the areas in mountains its just hard without snow sometimes you can get a print in deep wet leaves or moss or the occasional stream crossing. but with the low deer density's prob around 3 or 4 deer per square mile and the lack of mature age structure when you find big droppings your really on too something. this deer has a narrow but long like 2 mile long core area i find his sign. he mainly walks the edges of cliffs in rocks where people normally dont hunt. most of the hunters stay high up in the elevations so the buck just avoids that terrain and stays in the bushy edges of cliffs and threw boulder Fields. when he does cross over its threw drainage's where he can get a lot of scent threw dropping thermals. i have a theory that hes moving mostly at night and using thermals so im going to try hunting him on low pressure days closer to rut when he might feel safer to move early. that way i can close in tighter too his bedding. the only thing i need to avoid is spooking other deer near him i dont think hes going to tolerate that. of course that might also make him move into the bedding in the thick laurel where i will have a different problem. even when wet laurel is noisy but if i can wait till the wind is blowing hard after a rain i might have a chance.
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby Mossyhorns » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:37 pm

good luck when you kill him it will be and awesome story im sure to
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby matt1336 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:38 pm

Very detailed oriented. You’re one heck of a hunter.
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ghoasthunter
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:52 pm

Josh_S wrote:Awesome history with this buck, I hope you get a crack at him. I would bet there's more than one shooter buck bedding on the edge of that 500 acre laurel thicket. It would be extremely difficult to bow hunt. What's your plan? Morning or evening?

its funny i actually dont get a lot of big bucks using the area there are a just a handful of 2.5 3.5 but those bucks are following more of the typical buck patterns. i dont think this buck likes too follow the rules. only time i see other deer use the thicket is when the gun season gets going. one thing i do notice is hes got one heck of a scare on his back. i wonder if he got shot before and decided hes going too avoid other deer. any how hes a survivor thats for sure and id love too know his age because he really does things differently.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL A HUNTER HAS IS BETWEEN HIS SHOULDERS
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby PAbowhunter » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:53 pm

Great story and attention to detail. I hope it comes together for you. Good luck
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ghoasthunter
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:56 pm

ghoasthunter wrote:
Josh_S wrote:Awesome history with this buck, I hope you get a crack at him. I would bet there's more than one shooter buck bedding on the edge of that 500 acre laurel thicket. It would be extremely difficult to bow hunt. What's your plan? Morning or evening?

its funny i actually dont get a lot of big bucks using the area there are a just a handful of 2.5 3.5 but those bucks are following more of the typical buck patterns. i dont think this buck likes too follow the rules. only time i see other deer use the thicket is when the gun season gets going. one thing i do notice is hes got one heck of a scare on his back. i wonder if he got shot before and decided hes going too avoid other deer. any how hes a survivor thats for sure and id love too know his age because he really does things differently.

one thing too if your not finding alot of rubs your not going to find alot of bucks. bucks lay alot of sign when they compete over bedding and im just not seeing this. i could be the king of the mountain scenario nobody is going to try and compete with this deer over bedding.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL A HUNTER HAS IS BETWEEN HIS SHOULDERS
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby bh bowhunter » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:15 pm

Awesome sheds! Hopefully you can add more pieces of the puzzle and tighten the noose on him. I also have a ghost buck I'm chasing that lives on a north facing mountain, covered with thick aspen and spruce. Good luck!
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Re: chasing a ghost

Unread postby bowfreak8 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:05 am

Awesome story and Pics to go along! Good luck and I hope you stick him.


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