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Story for Deitz

15 posts in this topic

Please forgive me if this is a bit long...

My father was never really a hunter, he went pheasant hunting a couple times with his brother, but after he died... that was about it. He was more of an avid fisherman, and I use the term loosely, because he fished alot, but he really wasn't that good at it. But at least he took us to the BWCA alot, and got the outdoors in my blood.

My son, several years ago, got tired of his friends talking about deer hunting all the time, and talked me into gun safety and taking him on his first hunt. I'VE BEEN HOOKED EVER SINCE! Thanks to him, I've gone every year now for the last several years.

The first couple years I was really raw, and just found a spot on public land south of Mille Lacs with little success. The deer around there seemed like they received alot of pressure, and rarely grew bigger than spikers (although, now I know there are some really big deer harvested near mille lacs). I eventually read more, learned more, and networked until I found a farmer who would let us hunt his land in Lanesboro.

There are essentially 4 areas we hunt. Area #1, I call the fingers. The fingers look like turning your left hand to the right, palm down, so that your thumb is closest to your stomach. The thumb is a dirt road, and the first 3 fingers represent "fingers" of woods that are about 75 yards long and 40-50 yards wide. The Knuckles are a trail through the woods that connect the fingers. Surrounding the fingers, and in-between is corn crops, and across the road (between your thumb and stomach) is more woods and more corn. To the left of your knuckles, towards your wrist, is open pasture.

As you travel north (towards your little finger) up the knuckle trail past the fingers you come to more corn. There is a fence line running north from the fingers, between fields of corn, and 400 yards north it comes to area #2.

Area #2 I call the mitten. It is about 2 acres of woods shaped roughly like a mitten (this time like your hand is straight out, with the thumb pointing away from you and to the right. It is surrounded by corn, with another fence row, running away from the thumb, NE.

The farm house is 1/3 of a mile directly east of the mitten.

South and east of the farm house, across hwy 250, about a mile away, is the dairy farm. Area #3.

Area #3, I call the valley. It is a valley in a cow pasture, which runs north and south,in-between 2 hills, that have cedar trees on their perimeter. The cow pasture butts up against corn on the north, and heavy woods on the east (Toms land). Across the road to the south and west is Dahlmans land (as far as I know, no one hunts dahlmans). Dahlmans has a large corn field adjacent to the road, and the only water source in the area for the deer. A pond about 30 yds in diameter. He also has the thickest, nastiest, patch of woods around, but it is only a few acres. To the south of Tom's land, across the road, and immediately east of dahlmans land, is area #4.

Area #4, We call Barbs land, cuz it's barbs land, or it least it was last year (I think she sold it). It is a scattering of cedars, crp, one apple tree and butts up to corn on the east and south.

The first couple years, I wasn't aware that we could hunt the valley, or barbs, so I focused on the fingers and the mitten. Year one, we saw a few does between finger number 1 and the thumb, and a couple more between finger 1 and 2. I also could hear a buck scraping around and grunting a few yards away in some cedars on the knuckles. I didn't see anything in the mitten at all.

Year 2, I put my son in a tree between finger 1 and 2, on the knuckle trail, and because I hadn't seen any bucks, I hunted public land. He said he had activity in the first finger but couldn't see what it was.

So I set him up in the same tree stand, and I put up a blind, where the finger nail is on finger #1 for the evening hunt.

Here's where it starts to get interesting. I put this blind up, and I'm sitting in it facing the knuckles. To my left is the tree line closest to the road, to my right is the tree line that basically my son can cover from his tree stand. Behind me is the end of the finger, and it's so cluttered with heavy brush, I can't see crap. In front of me, should be a view of the entire finger, but I screwed up. I put the blind on the wrong side of a berm, and I can only see 20 yards down the finger. Well, it was deer thirty, and there was no way I was going to move this blind right now. So I thought I'd just pick burrs off my jacket and pants, and let my son hunt, as I'm not gonna see sh.t.

I'm picking burrs for about 20 minutes, and I hear this crack. The finger runs east and west, I'm at the east end, facing southwest, from the NE corner of the blind. If you can picture that. It gave me a good shot at the south side of that finger, and an OK shot down the finger (but the berm is in the way) and only a goofy left handed shot at anything on the north side. I've got each window in the blind, folded down about 4 inches, and they're roughly 3 feet wide. So this "crack/crunch" in the leaves/sticks comes from my right (murphy's law). I'm sitting there with my gun in my lap, muzzle facing left. So I turn my head to look right, and walking slowly towards me, with it's head near the ground, not more than 20 yards away, is a trophy buck. My heart almost stops. I think he saw my head jerk to the right, but not really sure. He still has his head near the ground, but he's LOOKING RIGHT AT ME! I take a glance at his rack, and it's outside the ears, and he's clearly a shooter... my heart starts to race. I'm thinking about my position, and the position of the gun, and know I'm screwed right now. The monster buck is creeping slowly at me, and WONT LOOK AWAY. I'm afraid he can see me, although, I don't know if he's looking at me, or the blind. So I very slowly lean forward so that my head is behind the corner of the blind and out of view. NOW with my hear pounding, I slowly slide off my chair, thinking I can spin on my knees, and bring the gun up to a right-handed position. As I'm half off the chair, it creaks... SH.T.!!!... to be continued.

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So there I am, half off my chair, leaning forward awkwardly, off balance, almost falling to the ground, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE BUCK IS... so without, moving anything else, still off balance, I slowly lean backwards enough to see where the buck is. HE'S RIGHT THERE!!! He's only 5 yards out the window, all low and stretched out as far as he can stretch his neck, peeking in the blind!!! OMG, WHAT A RACK!

In an instant, I give up the idea of shooting right handed, and raise my gun to try a left handed shot, but the muzzle of the gun, slips out the opening of the window, and the frozen buck leaps to life and bolts out of the woods. In a moment of shear panic, I let fly a shot, that misses badly.

I can't believe what just transpired, my dream buck, frozen 5 yards from me, and I can't get a decent shot on him.

My son comes running over(despite the fact, that I told him if we shoot anything, to stay put for a couple hours)... He's yelling "did you get him, did you get him, man that thing was huge"... he stopped mid sentence and looked at me funny. "Dad, you're bleeding!"

In my moment of panic, I had rushed to get a shot off, and guess where the butt of my gun was, when I pulled the trigger. I hadn't really shot left or right handed... kinda middle. The butt of the gun was right in front of my mouth when I pulled the trigger. It made hamburger of my lower lip.

Well, I told my son that was probably the dominant buck in the area, and he won't be back this way, anytime soon. So why don't we pick up the blind, and move it to the north end of the fingers.

He said no, he wanted to hunt some more, and told me that buck was probably responding to his doe-bleat, and circling down wind to pick up a 2nd opinion.

So I conceded, and sat back in my blind, despite the fact there was only 20 minutes of shooting light left...

So as to save time, not 5 minutes later, my son had bleated in another buck, this time a smaller 6 pointer, who traveled down the exact same trail as the one before, only this time I was paying attention, and dropped him at 40 yards. He just tipped over, and passed in less than a minute. His head was down, I shot through his neck, took out his tracea, main artery, and got lung with it as it passed through his body... that was my first deer, not quite the monster that had passed through a few minutes earlier, but certainly made the swollen lip and bloody mouth a little easier to swallow.

Year 3.

I set up my sons blind, in the same location I saw those 2 bucks the prior year, and set up my blind in the second finger, close to the knuckles.

Btw, the night before opener, right off the road, by the fingers, we saw a nice basket 8. I told my son, I wouldn't shoot him, but he could.

Well, first light, 5 minutes after shooting hours, that basket 8 came right down the south side of the 2nd finger, and walked into the knuckle trail maybe 20 feet from me. After some hesitation, I decided to pass, hoping he would meander over by my son. Well, he didn't, and 3 hours later, not seeing anything else, I had huge regrets. I couldn't believe I just past on a nice 8 pointer, thinking I might not see another buck the rest of the weekend.

Discouraged and bored, about 1030 I took a walk towards the mitten. I walked through the 3rd finger, looking for sign, and followed the fence to the mitten.

There in the middle of the mitten is an old, deer stand, maybe 15 ft high. It has a nice wide platform, but is kinda tilty and doesn't look safe. Leaving my gun on the ground, I climbed the unstable deer stand to check it out. It was fine, and I sat there a few minutes checking out the forest below, and various shooting lanes.

As it was a warm 50 or 60 degree day, and I hadn't had much sleep... who can sleep the night before opener... facing left, sitting in the chair, I put my head on my hand and dozed off. Who knows how much later, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, I woke up, and decided it would be better if at least I had my gun in the stand. It would suck if a big buck walked by, and I was gunless.

I turned to my right to climb down, looked down, and there he was!

The biggest buck I've ever seen. Yeah Yeah I know, but it was. Including magazines. To be correct, I might say the heaviest buck I've ever seen. It was more cow than deer. Despite my gunless frustration, in some ways it was kinda cool, because I wasn't worried about trying to get off a shot... and could focus on looking at a beautiful animal.

In between my internal "f@ck, f@ck, F#ck", I looked at his mass in amazement. He was really really wide. He couldn't even get his front legs together as he stood there facing me, looking directly at me. His front legs must have been 20 inches apart. His nose and face were very grey. I assumed he was quite old. He looked really old. But then I looked at his massive rack. The one side was as thick as your wrist, with a very nice curvature, and 5 footlong tines. The other side of his rack, was a whole nother story. I couldn't believe it, and double checked it when he turned. His other side, was like you cut it out of a 1/2 inch sheet of ply wood. It was flat, no curvature, and came straight up from his head. Probably 1/2 thick left to right, but 3 or 4 inches wide, front to back... and about 8 inches from his head, it forked, and was maybe 12 inches tall altogether. I guess you could say it was palmated at the bottom, but very strange. Even with the malformation, I would've loved to have put him on the wall.. would've made a great conversation piece. And I really wanted to weigh him... I wouldn't be surprised if he was around 300 lbs. I know deer get bigger than that, but I've never seen one.

Well, there was nothing to do, but pout, and watch. He stood there for quiet a while. Eventually he determined I wasn't much of a threat, and slowly walked away. I was screaming inside, especially as he stopped 25 yards away, turned broadside, and looked at me for another 30 or 40 seconds. ugggggg... and then he was gone. To be continued.

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So, I dejectedly go find my son, and go to lunch, back at the farm house. I can't quit swearing. I told the farmer and his friend, I'll never see another like that.

The farmers friend said, "yeah, until tonight".

That evening, my son chose to go back to the blinds, I headed over to the tilty deer stand in the mitten...

I got in the stand about 3 o'clock, and had about an hour to think of the missed opportunity I had had in the morning. I thought it was interesting that he had come by 1100 am. And that prior years, I wasn't even hunting at 1100am. I guess they're right, you do miss big bucks, not hunting mid day.

So I'm sitting there facing left, watching the thumb portion of the mitten... and there, coming down the tree line, towards the tip of the thumb... is a VERY BIG 10 POINT BUCK.

He was crusing along at a pretty good clip, so I really didn't have to wait long for him to hop the fence and come into shooting range. This time, unlike the morning, where my gun was on the ground, unlike the year before, when I was out of position, and not ready... This time I was ready.

My gun was in shoot position, and I had him all the way. He approached the trail that ran parallel to my position, maybe 40 yards away, and slowed to a walk. I glanced at his rack, and realized, HE WAS THE BUCK I HAD MISSED THE YEAR BEFORE! Same rack formation, same tines, just a little thicker and a bit longer... and he had put on a few pounds. His neck was thick and you could smell him, even from where I was at. He was ready for business. I quit looking at his rack, cuz I didn't want to get nervous, calmly (well, more calm than last year), placed the bead behind his shoulder, counted to 3, and let her rip. He jumped, turned, and ran back the direction he came from. Stunned, I watched him jump the fence and run back down the tree line, like he had not been hit at all. F@#%#@%@#%@#%@#%K.

How could I have missed that shot? I couldn't possibly have missed. He was standing broadside, as still as the drunk at the bar. (Contact Us Please). I had to have hit him.

Every ounce of my sole wanted to go look, but I forced myself to sit there. Then it happened.

It started to rain. "oh, no", I thought, as the rain splattered on my hat, and I thought about the blood trail washing away. I couldn't stand it, I had to go look.

I got down and went over where he stood. There were white hairs everywhere, but no blood. I must have hit him, but where's the blood.

Figuring the rain would kill my trailing opportunities, and with acres of corn around, I felt I had no choice but to pursue immediately.

I walked the tree line where I last saw him, and about 75 yards from where I shot him, I picked up the first sign of blood. It wasn't alot, but seemed good.

I quickly picked up the trail and advanced along the grassy line between two huge fields of corn. The trees, dissappear, but the grass line continues, sort of NE where it hits a corner, and turns due north.

I got to that corner and looked up, and there he stood some 60 yards away, on top of the hill... to be continued.

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I didn['t think I had much time, he was looking at me, and I figured he was going to jump into the corn, and be gone. Even though he was more-or-less facing me, I fired off a round at his lower chest... He didn't bolt into the corn.

He CHARGED RIGHT AT ME! That big buck, put his head down, like the moose in the video section of this forum, and charged right at me. It seemed like he cut that 60 yards in half in one heart beat. Forgetting that I have a gun, my first instinct was to turn and run. LOL. I quartered away, and took half a step, and went "oh, yeah, I have more slugs!!" I turned back to let him have a piece of lead or two, and he turned and bolted into the corn.

Now What?

I walked up to where he was standing, and I could see that he had layed down. I could also see that, there were 2 bloody spots about 20 inches apart. Heavy dark blood, and small chunks of meat. I was convinced he was going down. But it was still raining.

I decided to retake the chase. For the next 2 hours I followed his winding trail through the corn. Although, he really only traveled about 1/2 mile (ironically to within 50 yards of the farm house i was staying in), it was difficult to follow, whenever he ran with the corn rows. When he cut across it was ez, as he knocked down stalks, but each time he turned with the rows, I had to walk one way and then the other to re-find his trail. His running seemed random. I thought sure sooner or later I would find him... but soon it got dark and I was forced to give it up. It had quit raining, and the blood trail, wasn't going away, so after a conversation with the others, we decided to wait until morning.

I picked up where I had left off, followed him through several hundred more yards of corn, until he came to the edge. One thing that had desturbed me, he hadn't been dripping. Whenever his left side brushed a corn stalk, he'd leave blood, but he really wasn't dripping. Once he left the corn, for the open pasture, I had nothing. I crawled around on my knees for hours, and couldn't find anything. I spent the next two days checking every wooded patch in the area, nothing. With thousands of acres of corn in the area, I had no choice but to give up.

I have never been so sick in my life. Sick for the deer, sick for me. I played the whole thing over and over in my head. I went back to the stand, and shot trees at 40 yards. It was clear I was shooting left and down, and probably got stomach, hence the white hair, but the blood was dark, and there were no stomach contents. It looked more like a liver shot, but perhaps was just low stomach muscle.

I read and re-read Dr. Ken Nordburgs book in the section on wounded deer and tracking. Nothing helped.

I ventured south the next two weekends, hoping the corn would be down, and at least I could see my buck. Even if the coyotes got to him, I wanted to see what happened to him, and where I shot him, and how big his rack was. I can't imagine being the parent of a lost child. The questions must haunt you for an eternity.

I checked with every farmer within miles, checked every wooded patch, looked for any sign. NOTHING. I'm am still haunted... two trophy wall hangers in the same day. One that I thought I put a good shot on, and had nothing to show for it... to be continued.

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Year 4.

Last year my son started UMD, so he couldn't get away. My good friend chris was tired of shooting german shepards (well, the deer are the size of german shepards) in florida, so he came up to join me. Btw, I've seen two trophy deer on my friends wall in florida. They're little basket 8's on what looks like 1 1/2 year old does. Even the restaurant in that area has these little forkies and basket 6's... You'd pass on those deer.

Anyway, this year I gained permission to hunt the cow pasture with the valley and the cedars, and also gained permission to hunt barbs land. With this new territory and a buddy paying flight money to come, there was pressure to be a good scout.

I had been severanced from my job last year, and had all the time I wanted to truly scout out the area. I grabbed areal photos and surveyed the area, to try and determine their possible paterns. I went down several times in the fall to watch deer feed in the evenings and scout blind locations.

The first evening I sat on barbs land, in the sparse cedars, near the apple tree to see what passed.

2 cars, 3 trucks, and 2 sparrows later, I decided that was not quite what I was looking for. That evening, I shined the miracle mile, as I call it. It's legal to shine deer before 10 pm. There's a 2 mile stretch of road, running east and south from Barbs, that has some truly monster bucks along it. Many times we've seen 150-180 class bucks along that stretch. There are about a dozen home owners/farmers, and they have all signed agreements to shoot does, and wall-hangers only. There is a $100 fine for non-compliance.

So I'm coming back from my entertaining trip along the miracle mile, and shine barbs, and toms, and Dalmans, and look to my right up the valley, and there is a very large 8 pointer standing right there. WOW. I had my buck.

The next day, I walked the valley up to the woods, and the barb wire fence that separates tom's and the cow pasture. I figured that buck must be crossing from toms into the pasture and then over to dahlmans corn and water source.

So I walked the entire 3/4 mile length barb wire fence looking for the crossing. There, at the north east end of the valley, below a big tree, was a little dip in the barb wire fence, a trail, and...

Deer Hair.

BINGO.

I set up one blind about 40 yards from the dip in the fence, under some cedars, set up another between finger 1 and 2, and set up a tree stand in the mitten (they had torn down old tilty, somebody probably fell and broke their neck in the 3b season) J.K.

The day arrived and my friend and I set up the hunt. We woke up saturday morning (yea, like anyone really sleeps night before), to a light drizzle. Because of the drizzle we decided to hunt the blinds and pass on the deer stand. I gave chris first choice. He took the cedar valley blind. I took the finger blind.

I had a pretty uneventful morning, with only what I thought might have been a grunt behind me, behind some cedars, and what sounded like something pawing at the ground. I know there's a scrape in the there, so it was possible a buck was doing his thing. But I couldn't see anything.

I was thinking about the monsters I had seen the year before, and the rain had stopped, so mid morning i made the walk to the mitten.

2 hours of mitten sitten, and I was ready for lunch. I made sure I stayed till noon, and headed back.

Chris' day was a little more entertaining. First thing, he saw a mid size buck, on the far hill make it's way south towards DAhlmans, that was enough to get his blood flowing. Soon after, he saw a coyote on almost the exact same path as the deer. In fact, he saw 3 coyotes that week, 2 that opening morning!

But then his day took a turn for the worst. to be continued

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Remember I had said, that he was sitting in a "cow" pasture. Well, the thing about cow pastures is...

They have cows.

About 30 cows, more-or-less, surrounded my friend chris in his blind. They slowly crept closer and closer, until he could no longer see, anything, but cows.

It didn't really get better. Soon #4 and #24 (they had numbers on their ears) was pushing at his blind. Eventually #4 actually stuck his head IN THE BLIND. LOL. So as chris is holding #4 back with his left hand, and trying to hold #24 back with his right lower leg on the other side, soon #24, is sticking his long tongue, under the blind. You really can't quit laughing when he is telling this story. They're threatening to collapse the flimsy blind (It's one of those ameristep doghouse blinds, there will be a picture at the end of this thread). After a while, the cowband had discovered enough and went about business. So chris decides to try out his canned doe bleat that I bought for him. He gives her, two bleats and....

back come the cows.

That was about enough for chris. He spent about 2 hours fighting those (Contact Us Please) things, and decided it was time for lunch.

We got a little carried away with the backgammon game, and didn't get back out till 3:30.

Chris wanted no part of the cow-blind experience, so he decided to take a stool and go sit on barbs land under the apple tree.

I proceeded to fix the stakes on the blind. Hung up a couple scented wicks, one on a clump of plowed over trees to the east, and one on the tree closest to the dip-n-the-fence (see picture at the end of the thread). I also checked an old deer-salt-lick I put out on that clump of trees... I think the cows laid waste to that, I put it there 10 days prior to hunting, and there was nothing left (I know now, mineral licks are basically worthless to deer in the fall).

So I get settled in the blind, check my sight lines, take off my coat,as it was getting warm. Pull out my tru-talker, my doe bleat can, and my rattling rack (horns from the six pointer I shot 2 years prior), and did a little grunt grunt grunt, rattle rattle grunt doe bleat...

and entertained myself watching "squirrels-on-crack". That's what chris called em. Besides the coyotes and the cows, he said there were some squirrels going absolutely bonkers... he called em "squirrels-on-crack"... I told em, I prefer "girls-on-crack"

So, I'm watching these squirrels, and if you look at the picture I haven't posted yet, there is really thick gnarly woods on the other side of the barb wire, these squirrels are running up and down a tree about 10 yards on the other side of the fence. I'm watching, and laughing, when...

SOMETHING WHITE CATCHES THE CORNER OF MY EYE!!!

was that a tine?

to be continued

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The old heart flickered a bit... I studied intently on the spot to the left of the squirrels on crack, where I had thought I saw movement... I thought it was something white, maybe about the width of a pencil, maybe 10 inches tall, moving right to left... I thought it might be, part of the rack of a deer...

I kept watching, wondering if I was seeing things... IT's really thick. I may have watched for 30 or 40 seconds, which is longer when you're sitting there... about the time I started to question my vision... I saw it.

Now I could see almost the whole rack, making it's way slowly towards the fence. It was a few feet off the ground, walking through the brush, but I couldn't see it's maker. Just the rack. Within seconds, the big boy appeared at the fence line. I was ready.

Do you remember when I shot the last buck and I lost him? Do you remember how I said, I was so frustrated, I went back and sat in the stand and fired practice shots at trees 40 yards away, and determined I was low and left?

Well, that wasn't going to happen again. I went to fleet farm and picked up a rifled barrel and scope combo, for my 870 remmington express. I spent some time at the Oakdale Gun Club sighting that baby in. I shot some with the open sight I still had on my sons 870, and the grouping at 50 yards was not acceptable. With the rifled barrel and scope, I had a nice 2 inch grouping... next buck is going down.

So, as this boy was walking through the brush, I had my gun in shooting position, scope on my trophy. The heart is going nuts. I started thinking about how, I don't get nervous playing QB, I don't even get nervous shooting pheasants...(Contact Us Please) do I shake like the first time I asked a pretty girl out on a date?

The big boy was standing on TOM's side of the fence. I could see his front shoulder, his head and neck. It was very tempting to let him have it right there. But I didn't have permission to hunt on tom's. It wasn't posted, but I'm not like that.

So I waited.

and waited.

kept shaking and waiting.

That sucker must have stood there and did the rookie dance for 3 minutes. BTW I have a golden retriever named rookie. He likes to sleep on my couch, but has some arthritis. He takes about 2 minutes to get up the gumption to jump on the couch. We call it the rookie dance.

My heart was racing to a fevered pitch, I thought my heart was going to pop through my chest. I thought about all the mistakes I had made last year, and the year before. Poorly placed shots, over eager premature tracking I shouldv'e started 2 hours later, and the inexperience that kept me from filling him with another dose of lead.

He's standing there at the fence for what seemed like an eternity, staring my direction. What was he waiting for? Could he smell me? Should I shoot him now? You wouldn't believe how bad I was shaking, like 6 or 7 inches. I couldn't help but laugh at myself. Alot of good that gunclub 2 inch grouping was doing now.

He finally did it, with one quick movement, he was over the fence, standing below that tree, AND FACING ME! I didn't think it was possible, but my excitement reached another level. I know he was facing me, and it wasn't the best of shots, but no way I was waiting any longer. I felt sure he could see me shaking, and he was one bound away from that fence and safety.

As best as possible, I was shaking badly, I placed the cross hairs between his shoulders, where his neck met his chest, and squeezed the trigger.

continued

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The big buck stood up on his hind feet, like one of those calvary dudes, when they're leading the charge, and nearly fell over backward in slow motion. I desperately tried to pump him with another shot, but the first cartridge lodged in the action, and just like that he was over the fence.

I took a deep breath, exhaled... and thought of losing another one. "what if I lose this one too?"

I walked back to the road (I had parked my truck in barbs driveway), and started back to barbs. I could see chris in the trees, and he had his binoculars on me. So I held up 10 fingers. He got up to join me.

We went over to tom's and secured permission to go on his land... he sent his grandson around with the 4 wheeler. Tom's son was not happy. He'd been trying to get that boy for 2 years.

I don't think he had much to worry about. The miracle mile had 4 deer bigger than mine the night before.

Chris and I went back to the crime scene. We climbed over the fence, and after a good shock from the electric fence I didn't see, and a good chuckle from chris, we tried to pick up the trail.

There was no blood under the tree, and we didn't immediately find any on the other side of the fence either. Thoughts of last years futility raced through my head. I was quietly swearing to myself. Wondering how I didn't get off another shot, especially with the 2 or 3 seconds it took for the buck to recompose himself.

But soon, to my relief, chris picked up the trail, and it got heavier as we went. After 20 yards, it was bleeding profusely, and another 20 yards away, in a dense little thicket, laying on his left side. Was my first trophy deer. A 140 class 9 1/2 pointer, with 9 inch tines, and a big hole in it's lower neck... the slug, near as we could tell, never exit the body. It took out his major artery, wind pipe, and ripped into the upper core of his vitals. (I was shooting downhill)

Unfortunately, my adrenaline was working harder than my brain, and I never took pictures at the kill sight. But I had all week to take pictures of the area, as Chris never did get his. Although, I saw that big 8, 3 times that week. I was just scouting and sitting, and didn't try to fill chris' tag... and that big ol'8 kept walking by me wherever I stood.

The next reply will have pictures of the deer, the blind, the tree, the woods, and take a good look at the one inside the blind. This rookie hunter, could see out the scope at the deer, but didnt think for a minute about the fact that the muzzle was still behind the fabric. Oh, and the window was folded over, so I actually shot through 2 layers of fabric. LOL.

I can't wait for Saturday. My sons coming with this time again. I sure hope he get one.

Garrett

Special thanks to Gary (farm owner), Tom and Barb.

Gary, I couldn't get that buck without you.

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wow great story, thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for that.. Very fun read!!!!!

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    • Rick
      Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will remain closed until Aug. 11 to protect the walleye fishery, and ensure its long-term health and sustainability into the future To extend the walleye fishing season through Labor Day, the state will allow for an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye harvest on Mille Lacs New solutions are being sought to rebuild and sustain a healthy Mille Lacs walleye fishery New fisheries data collected by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources show the total safe harvest allocation for walleyes on Mille Lacs Lake (44,800 pounds) has already been exceeded this season. To protect the fishery and ensure the long-term sustainability of Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye population, the DNR announced today that walleye fishing will remain closed until Friday, Aug. 11. In order to extend the walleye fishing season through Labor Day, the state will allow for an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye harvest. Catch-and-release walleye fishing will run from Friday, Aug. 11, through Monday, Sept. 4, for the Labor Day weekend. Walleye fishing will then be closed from Tuesday, Sept. 5, through Thursday, Nov. 30. As these regulation changes were announced, Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr reiterated the state’s commitment to rebuilding and sustaining a healthy walleye fishery in Mille Lacs Lake. “Improving the walleye population in Mille Lacs is a top priority for the DNR,” Landwehr said. “We deeply regret the hardships these new regulations will cause for anglers and business owners. But they are essential to protect and enhance the future of walleye fishing in the lake for future generations. We will continue doing everything we can to understand the challenges facing the walleye fishery, and take whatever actions we can to resolve this very difficult situation.” Landwehr and DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira noted that allowing for additional catch-and-release fishing in August is essential for area anglers, businesses, and Mille Lacs area communities. The decision to allow for this additional harvest was made with input from the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee. “We want to allow as much walleye fishing on Mille Lacs as possible,” Pereira said. “So even though state anglers already have caught their quota of fish, the DNR will dip into the allowed conservation overage to reopen the season on Aug. 11.” Through the closure, anglers on Mille Lacs Lake may fish for all other species in the lake including bass, muskellunge and northern pike. When fishing for other species, only artificial baits and lures will be allowed in possession, except for anglers targeting northern pike or muskie, who may fish with sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. A prohibition on night fishing will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30. However, anglers may fish for muskie and northern pike at night, but may only use artificial lures longer than 8 inches or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Bowfishing for rough fish also is allowed at night but possession of angling equipment is not allowed and only rough fish may be in possession. Understanding walleye fishing quotas on Mille Lacs this year, and why that quota was reached earlier than predicted
      The DNR and the Chippewa bands that cooperatively manage Mille Lacs Lake agreed this year to harvest quotas of 44,800 pounds for state anglers and 19,200 pounds for tribal fishing. They also agreed that up to 75,000 pounds of walleye could be harvested from the lake from Dec. 1, 2016 to Nov. 30, 2017. That agreement allows the state to use a built-in buffer – the 11,000 pounds difference between the 75,000 pounds conservation cap and the 64,000 pounds combined harvest quotas – in an attempt to allow catch-and-release walleye fishing through Labor Day, following the mid-summer closure. Bi-weekly creel surveys show that state anglers already have reached their quota. “The DNR is using its full allotment to maximize opportunities to fish for walleye on Mille Lacs without violating our agreement,” Pereira said. “The DNR, just like area businesses, would greatly prefer to not have fishing restrictions in place. But sustaining and stabilizing Mille Lacs’ walleye population is our primary obligation and public responsibility.” Continuing the walleye fishing closure will reduce the number of fish that die after being caught and released, a condition known as hooking mortality. The likelihood of fish suffering hooking mortality increases as water temperatures warm. High walleye catch rates on Mille Lacs have increased DNR fishing projections. A hot walleye bite attracted more anglers to the lake, resulting in angler effort that is about double what it was in 2016. “Cooler than normal temperatures kept hooking mortality rates low, but more anglers fished Mille Lacs, particularly catching walleye longer than 20 inches,” Pereira said. “That increased the poundage of fish caught and put us over our walleye quota.” According to the DNR, bigger fish are biting, in part, because there is a shortage of food for larger walleye. Last fall’s assessment showed that larger walleye were thinner than average. Mille Lacs’ hot bite also reflects the findings of studies done in many other fisheries that show catchability actually increases when fish population drops. In Mille Lacs, walleye congregate in preferred spots rather than disperse evenly throughout the lake. Fewer fish in the lake means there is more room in the preferred spots for fish to gather, creating a situation where a larger percentage of the population is in position to be caught rather than gathering in a less preferred but less fished area. More information about Mille Lacs Lake, the regulation adjustments and management of the fishery is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake. New solutions are being sought to improve and sustain a healthy walleye fishery
      The DNR announced in June that a new external review team of scientists will take a fresh look at Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye fishery, using all of the best science available to gain a better understanding of the lake. This new review, led by walleye expert Dr. Chris Vandergoot of the U.S. Geological Survey, will provide additional recommendations to improve fisheries management of the lake, and contribute to a long-term solution to improving and sustaining a healthy walleye fishery for future generations. The group’s report is expected in time to help guide and inform fisheries management decisions for the 2018 season. DNR encourages Minnesotans to fish for other abundant species on Mille Lacs Lake
      As today’s walleye fishing regulation changes were announced, the DNR encouraged all Minnesotans to visit Mille Lacs Lake to fish the other abundant species that the lake has to offer. Mille Lacs Lake’s other opportunities for top-notch fishing will not be affected by the regulation adjustment. Bassmaster Magazine named Mille Lacs the nation’s best bass lake in June and will send 50 of the country’s best anglers to the lake In September for its Angler of the Year tournament. Northern pike abound in Mille Lacs, along with muskellunge. In early July, a woman from southern Minnesota caught and released in Mille Lacs what may have been Minnesota’s largest-ever muskellunge. To learn more about Mille Lacs Lake and its many great fishing opportunities, visit the DNR website. To plan visit to the Mille Lacs area, visit the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council website. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Q: What is happening with the walleye season this summer on Mille Lacs Lake? A: The closure that began July 8 and was set to end July 28 is being extended by two weeks. That means walleye fishing will reopen at 6:01 a.m. on Aug. 11 for catch-and-release only through Labor Day. A night fishing closure also will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30. Q: How does this affect fishing for other species? A: Fishing regulations for other species such as smallmouth bass, muskie and northern pike remain the same. During the night closure, there is an exception for muskie and northern pike anglers using artificial lures and sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Q: Why did the DNR extend the closure? A: While the DNR wants to allow as much walleye fishing on Mille Lacs as possible, the state is also required to abide by cooperative agreements made with eight American Indian Chippewa bands. The two weeks of additional closure allows the state to abide by a harvest quota set earlier this year with the bands. The DNR and the bands agreed to harvest quotas of 44,800 pounds for state anglers and 19,200 pounds for tribal fishing. They also agreed that up to 75,000 pounds of walleye could be sustainably harvested from the lake from Dec. 1, 2016 to Nov. 30, 2017 in order to conserve the population That agreement allows the state to use a built-in buffer – the 11,000 pounds difference between the conservation cap of 75,000 pounds and the combined harvest quota of 64,000 pounds – in an attempt to allow catch-and-release walleye fishing through Labor Day, following the mid-summer closure. The latest creel survey data shows that state anglers reached their quota of 44,800 pounds of walleye caught from Mille Lacs in early July. Even though state anglers already have caught their quota of fish, the DNR is dipping into the allowed conservation reserve in order to reopen the season on Aug. 11. Q: Why has the walleye population in Mille Lacs declined? What is the DNR doing in the long-term to try to conserve the population? A: The vast majority of walleye that hatch do not survive to their third autumn in the lake. Walleye numbers have declined to the point that it has become important to protect spawning-sized walleye, particularly the class of walleye that hatched in 2013. It is important to protect the large 2013 year class to replenish aging spawning stock. Most males from the 2013 class are now mature, but females will not start to contribute in large numbers until next spring. The state is committed to conserving the population of walleyes born in 2013 to improve and rebuild a sustainable population for the future. Q: Why do we count hooking mortality during a closed walleye season? A: The amount that state anglers can kill (as spelled out in state-bands agreements) also must include fish that die as a result of hooking mortality, the fish that die after being caught and then released back into the water. During the closure, some anglers still catch walleye incidentally and some of those fish die after being released. Under the state-band agreements, those dead fish must be calculated and counted against the state’s allocation. Q: How did this cooperative management between the state and the bands of Mille Lacs Lake come to be? A: Recall that in 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld lower-court decisions that allowed the Mille Lacs band and seven other Chippewa bands to exercise off-reservation fishing and hunting rights. The lower federal court also set up guidelines, known as stipulations and protocols, for both sides to follow. These stipulations and protocols provide a framework for how the bands and the state must work cooperatively to manage shared natural resources, including Mille Lacs fish. In their agreements, the DNR and the bands are required to annually establish the number of walleye that can safely be harvested from Mille Lacs while ensuring sufficient remaining walleye in the lake for a healthy fishery. Q: If the walleye population is in decline, why are anglers catching so many? A: Fish are biting for two reasons. First, there is a shortage of food for larger walleye. Last fall’s assessment showed that larger walleye were thinner than average. Second, studies in many fisheries show that catchability actually increases when fish population decline. In Mille Lacs, walleye congregate in preferred spots rather than disperse evenly throughout the lake. Fewer fish in the lake means there’s more room in the preferred spots for fish to gather, and anglers find these spots where they can catch a larger portion of fish. Finally, while the walleye population has decreased considerably (by half or more), the amount of fishing pressure has declined by a lot more. This means that there are more walleye per angler fishing Mille Lacs today. Q: How is the DNR using science and research to help the walleye population? A: Mille Lacs Lake is the most studied lake in Minnesota. It is also a complex and changing system. The agency conducts a large number of surveys on the lake annually. These surveys include assessing the abundance of young walleye; setting 52 nets to assess adult abundance; using fine-mesh nets each summer to determine abundance of food (prey fish) for walleye; and using interviews with anglers around the lake (called creel surveys) to estimate the number of fish anglers are catching. The DNR also periodically tags walleye and other species to provide actual population estimates. We are tagging bass this year in cooperation with angling groups, and will be tagging walleye in 2018 and 2019 when the 2013 year class will be reaching full maturity. Q: What is the purpose of the external review the DNR has initiated? A: The DNR has asked Dr. Chris Vandergoot to lead an independent review of the DNR’s scientific approaches to manage Mille Lacs Lake. Vandergoot is a key member of the international team that co-manages a very significant walleye fishery in Lake Erie. He works for the U.S. Geological Survey in the Sandusky Lake Erie Biological station in Ohio. His review report will be available to the public in early 2018 and will help inform fisheries management decisions for the 2018 season. Q: What does the future look like for Mille Lacs walleye? A: It is unlikely that Mille Lacs walleye production will return to the levels that state anglers enjoyed over 20 years ago. The ecosystem of Mille Lacs is going through extreme change, starting with increased water clarity in the mid-1990s, to impacts today from aquatic invasive species such as spiny water flea and zebra mussels. Longer growing seasons are also helping some species such as smallmouth bass but may be hurting others. While walleye will still be abundant, the future fishery will be more diverse, offering angling opportunities for a greater variety of fish. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • bucketmouth64
      Thanks for the suggestions. I believe I'll be going with the 150 hp. My next question is trolling motor, 24/36 volt? I have a 24 volt now with a MK maxxum. I would like to get the MK Ultrex, but that has a 80lb thrust and the 36 volt comes at 112 lb. Is there a noticeable difference between the two? I noticed they come in ipilot and ipilot link. What's the difference? Not sure if I would utilize ipilot since I don't walleye fish. I use the trolling motor a lot while fishing.
    • guideman
      Maybe you need some new spots. Raised 9 fish last night in 3 hours. Hooked two boated one.   "Ace" "It's just fishing man"
    • ANYFISH2
      7/19 Day 5   Day 5 was spent celebrating my Isaacs 11th birthday!  Lots of cake and catering to him.  The exciting typical swimmimg and paddling ruled the day.  Grandma and grandpa DeZurik came up to celebrate his birthday as well.  Always nice to get both sets of grandparents together at the same time.   Fishing continued slow even more.  Still a successful night though. The birthday boy conceded his seat in the boat so grandma and grandpa cpuld join me for the evening fish trip.  My folks in all truth haven't been fishing for 2 years or more.  It was just nice to get them in the boat.   I struggled as the acting to put them on a consistent bite.  Mom as able to scratch out the biggest walleye at 17".  Dad brought home the honors of most fish caught landing a 14" and 15" walleye, 8.5" bluegill, and 2 perch as big aa his leech! I mustered up 1 small pumpkinseed.
    • ANYFISH2
      no doubt aboit the hooks, they are lottle stickers.
    • DLD24
      I like drifting with them and snap jigging them with a controlled fall...Almost every time you'll feel that tick just as it's hitting bottom... Last time I was on mille lacs that's all I could get them to go on. As far as colors I'd just match the forage Tullies in the lake use blue,purples,silvers....Perch use perch colors.. I think the jiggin rap is my new favorite way to fish, but it gets scary with them little hooks when you got a big eye on lol.
    • DLD24
      Fished Big Sandy from 8-2 today and got 10 eyes (no keepers) keeper crappie and perch.... Marked tons of fish, but it was tough to get them to go, Lindy rig with a half crawler was the best by far. I tried leeches,jigging rap, jig n plastic. Points and reefs were the spots, later in the day a lot of fish were off the edges of the reefs... Just one day this year I'd like a happy medium weather wise, either I'm in 4ft rollers or 90 degrees with zero wind haha.
    • Garmandu
      According to Al Linder you can do it all with them...on his video that I watched a while back he was in deeper water throwing into 15 feet and working it back to the boat.  I have not tried it yet but will have to sometime this year.  Sand or gravel bottom would be the best.
    • ANYFISH2
      Just started playing with these this week as a friend has been have goos luck all summer with them on the Cass lake chain. I have not any success yet but not real sure on the best way to use them with my set this week.  My friend searches pods of fish out with electronics then spot locks and vertical jigs. I have no electronics or spot lock so I have been control drifting and jigging.   My questions...   Is there a depth they work better in, shallow vs. deeper?   Better vertically jigged vs trolled vs casted and jigged?   prime colors? of course my be lake dependent.   typically, aggressive jigging vs subtle jigging?   Thanks for tips