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WallyGator12000

I missed him

35 posts in this topic

I have permission to hunt about 10 acres in Ham Lake. I have been hunting pretty hard the last few weeks, as this is my "back up" metro spot, the place I go after the firearms season pressures my other spot. I have seen a spike, a half-racked six up to tonight on the property, plus a half-dozen does and fawns. There is an impressive rub line on the property though, and I was sure that the six (actually a three) was not the deer leaving the rubs. Well now I know who he is...

Tonight I sat in the stand with my back to a field clearing in the woods, set up in a transition area. To my left was the field edge and some scrub brush, a great doe bedding area. About 4 pm I see a doe come out of the brush and work her way out into the field. Then she turns and comes right at me, quartering toward me and gets within 15 yards. I was going to take her, but she never gave me quite the right shot, when I should have taken her I hesitated, and then she was walking away from me down the other wood line on my right. Feeling a little bummed, I quickly forget about her when I hear something moving around in the same area she entered the field. I look and see a small tree shaking. Then out into the field comes a monster 8, grunting the whole way. He follows the doe's trail like a bloodhound, his nose to the ground. I had my grunt call in my mouth to try and stop him, but when I draw back as he is at 20 yards, I decide I won't need it and let it drop to the string around my neck. Big Mistake. He follows the doe perfectly, and stops at the exact same point she did, but this time I am ready to shoot. I let the arrow go, and immediately know that something is wrong, my call is ripped from my neck and snaps in half. The arrow sails over the buck's back and he runs away to 80 yards and looks back, trying to figure out what happened. After he runs away, I get down and find the arrow, confirming what I already know, there is no blood on the arrow, I watched it sail over him. I had the deer I have been hunting and not seeing on this property for 3 weeks within 15 yards and I make a stupid mistake.

The only points of optimism I have about it are: The buck was clearly still rutting, and this doe was definitely in heat, meaning I still have a shot at this buck making a mistake in the daylight. The area of woods/grass clearings I hunt is only about 20 acres big, and I can hunt the 10 acres with the best bedding cover on it, giving me hope that he will be back around. I know from experience that big bucks like him have a relatively small core area, and his rub-line runs right through the 10 acres. I am going to let him rest for a day, and will be back to hunt him Weds afternoon. Your thoughts and condolences are welcome crazy.gif

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That is one thing I find so very satisfying about archery hunting, I learn so many new things every year whether it is about the deer or my equipment or me. You learned a good lesson tonight! I learned that some time ago as my grunt call is always kept tucked inside my jacket now, even when blowing it, it is in my coat unless I really need some volume.

I dont think you spooked him too bad and it sounds as if you have one of the very few unpressured areas left after gun season. There may be a few does in heat yet, but those that weren't bred first time around will be coming do again in a couple weeks. Go get him!

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I also hunt the Ham Lake area. Two nights prior to this deer, I saw a larger one. If they are still rutting he will be there. Can you move to a different tree? He may be conditioned to check the tree that you were in. By simply moving a few trees away he may walk right back in. Best of luck. Oh yeah, if you need help my email is...J/K

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You should not of gotten out of your stand until it was too dark to shoot (legal time). By getting out of your stand and getting your arrow you spooked that deer off even farther. That deer could of easily come back if he was as hot on that trail as you say he was. The other night I had a buck come in 4 different ways on me. I had some scent out and imagine that is the only reason he wanted in my area. I was having horrible luck and he was so on to me but he kept coming. Heck, you could of tried letting out a couple bleats or anything but getting down and ruining the last half hour or howver much time you had left.

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There has been a lot of talk on another thread about grunt calls. So much that I ran out and bought a True Talker. However, the one thing that I won't go in the field without is my lohman grunt call that straps to my forearm. It is always out of the way when I shoot and I can give it a blow while I'm at full draw. It would have really helped you in this situation. I used the True Talker to blind call but always tuck it back in my coat when I'm done. Good lesson learned. Hard to be thankful, but at least it was a clean miss and not a poor shot.

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My call does nto ahve a string on it for that very reason.. I either put it in a pocket or in my backpack.. never around my neck.

Bummer on the lesson learned.

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Thanks for the feedback guys, I actually did buy a true talker later last night, and needless to say it won't ever be around my neck again. The reason I did get down to check the arrow, and it was only after he had ran into the woods and was out of sight for 5 minutes 80 yards away, was that I wanted to be sure that I didn't hit him, I could see the arrow shoot over his back, but you can't ever be too certain, and I didn't want to continue hunting if I had wounded or hit this buck. I did call with my can call to him while he waited at 80 yards still trying to figure out what had spooked him, but he wasn't interested. Like I said before though too, he wasn't too spooked, he paused at 80 yards for a 20 or so seconds to try and figure out what had happened to him, so I still have some hope for getting him. I am going to go back out Weds, I want to give him a day to rest and forget about me.

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Could you imagine the pain if you had your call in your mouth and somehow your landyard got caught on the string. OUCH!!!! Dental appointment needed??? I always keep mine in my pocket or my pack as well.

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Well you wouldn't want your season to be over with just yet would you??? Another great experience in the woods providing yet another story to tell! Normally I'd say good move on letting things calm down a few days but like previously mentioned - if that bucks geared up he'll stick tight on that doe and you want to be there before it's lockdown time. I missed a buck a few years back on a scrape site... he ran off 30 yds looked back for awhile and walked off. Next morning he was on the same scrape and this time he took an arrow. Point being as long as the deer doesn't associate the noise with danger/human they will return to the area. Otherwise if conditions are right(windy or fresh snow) you could move your stand 50 yds or make a homemade groundblind but a 10 acre woodlot's pretty small to be tromping around. Best of luck to you - I hope you connect on Wednesday!

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One thing you may want to try is to sew a small elastic band onto your shooting glove (by wrist) and I have a small grunt call that I put into it. This way it's right there by your mouth when you need it and out of the way when shooting. Also works well for turkey hunting to.

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So here's a quick update...I did go out yesterday because I felt the weather conditions warranted it, and I spooked a nice buck as I was making my way to the stand. I'm not sure if it was the same deer, I only got the side profile of his horns, and they looked like they had too much mass and were much whiter than the deer I missed, but his rack seemed smaller overall, especially in width. Anyway, on stand I saw a yearling doe with a fawn that couldn't have been more than 40 pounds, just a tiny thing. I had a scent wick out with some golden estrous, and while I was watching the yearling behind me I heard a grunt. As I slowly turned, it was the half-racked six I have seen multiple times on the property, and he came right in to the scent wick grunting, and then chased the doe around, no doubt assuming it was her that was in heat. It was fun to watch and I could have shot him, but I would like a few more cracks at the big boy first. I am going back out today for the evening, I don't like how it is going to be so windy, though out of the NW is perfect for my stand.

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I feel like I may be carrying on a conversation with myself, but I saw him again tonight...I sat through the wind and around 4:15 I saw him working a field edge away from me, about 100 yards. He spooked a doe out into the field in front of him and while she crossed the field I never saw him again...I think he wasn't too spooked by me earlier, and he's still rutting which is a good sign. If the wind's right I'll see if I can't get him tomorrow...

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Sit and watch where he's coming out. If he comes out in teh same spot, move the stand and go get him.

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Hey Wallygator,

I have been following your posts closely because I'm in the same situation. My only concern is that you window of oppertunity is shrinking and fast to get him IF he is still in the rut. Once he "partners" up with a doe you might be out of luck. I have been trying to pattern a huge bruiser in my woods for almost two weeks with nothing but nocternal activity. So just be happy your getting day light movement. From what I have experienced so far is that you have less than 72 hours to get him in bow range. You might be down a day already so If I was you I would make an agressive move and get closer to where he is coming out generally and take that risk and move your stand TODAY!!! If I knew how to post a picture I would. This is haunting me because I didn't move my stand that same day and now I have is just cuddyback pictures and the sound of him grunting and chasing does under my stand long before sunrise. crazy.gifcrazy.gif

Your time is now and you need to move to him asap. I'm not sure if I would rattle because I don't know what your buck to doe ratio is but I would defintely get a estrus scent trail start when you go in. IF he really is in the rut he'll come looking.

Good luck and keep us posted.

mr

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Any idea where the deer are bedding? Can you hunt mornings? On your next evening hunt if he passes out of range again and goes out into the field... get down and go hang a stand close to the bedding area as you can... use a good headlamp and safety harness and get back in there well before pink light... Your opportunity is passing quickly. Make it happen!

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If you have vacation time to burn I would use it today and get out there in morning and evenings. If you do move your stand middle of the day is best because they should be bedded down.

I have been adjusting my stands about once a week during my lunch break. Not sure if you have that luxury but again thats maybe why there so nocturnal in my woods.

mr

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I have been mulling over a move as well, actually I have a blind set up close to where he came out last night, but the issue is where he comes out is across the fence for me. It's 40 yards through thick cover into private property. I am set up on the SE side of the bedding cover where I know the does bed during the day (having spooked them a few times before I got wise). My stand is in an excellent funnel area between two fields, leading away from the bedding cover. Plus I see does near my stand, and I have seen the buck on both sides of the field. I am worried about getting to my blind because it is so close to the bedding area I usually spook deer getting to it. The wind is right for my SE corner stand again tonight too...

On a side note I can't really hunt mornings, I work at a high school and have to be there by 7, but am off by 2:15 which makes for great evening hunts. I am also going to be out of town this weekend, chasing roosters in South Dakota, when we made the plans for the trip I didn't plan on having this small of a window at a buck right before...

All this to say that I think my shot at him rutting will be tonight, and that will be it until Monday, when he will probably be off of this rutting pattern...but who knows...I'll post after my evening hunt

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I almost forgot to say thanks for all the advice guys!

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I can keep your stand warm this weekend cool.gif

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Would you let me come over and see him hanging on your wall from time to time? wink.gif

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I'll have a replica set of antlers made for you along with a blown-up 8x10 with the deer and I. Something to show your buddies when they ask what happened to that big one last fall! grin.gif

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LOL...I'll consider it if I feel like I can't stand the cold anymore...here's tonights update...I SAW HIM AGAIN! 30 yards, he is a great 8 pointer. He was hot on a doe in the thickest cover near my stand. He didn't let her go 10 feet without following, and she never ran away (he did chase another doe away at one point) I just never had a shot that was safe because of how thick the cover was, I just wasn't going to risk it. She was clearly letting him stay, so I think he is locked in to her for at least the next few days. It might not be the end of the world that I can't hunt him again until Monday night, maybe he will be cruising for one last doe then, after spending the last few days with this girl. I also saw another half racked buck! I know it wasn't the half rack six I have been seeing, because he was out too! This one is a half racked 8, and not a bad 2.5 year old deer. I am going to bring a buddy's climber and move about 20 feet to a tree that I would have been able to shoot him out of if I had been in it tonight...next update then!

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Amazing... this deer needs to be killed. He just doesn't know it quite yet! You're very lucky to be witnessing everything that has been going on. I'd venture a guess at some breeding happening within eyesight of your stand this weekend. I bought a videocam this past spring to capture all the activtiy you're experiencing right now but it just never materialized this year in the woods I hunt. It adds a new element of difficulty that's for sure but it makes it all worthwhile in the end. You got any pics of this buck? What's up with all the half-racks? Too early to be dropping - main beams busted off? A coworker shot a "doe" this fall with both main beams busted off an inch from the skull. Crazy. Have fun chasing roosters this weekend and if you want some help next week -- you lemme know! Keep us updated

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Great updates, the only thing that would make it better were pics of the deer after you shoot it. If you've been seeing him that regularly, I'd be out there every night (if I could), until I got a shot at him or quit seeing him. Good luck.

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I want a picture!!!

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