I went to my blind before daybreak. We hadn't been seeing many deer and today I didn't think would be an exception. I only sat in the blind for about an hour and decided to walk the runways.
After going to the trail that I was watching I checked the buck scrape for evidence that he had been around. The buck seemed to be renewing the scrape every 2-3 days. He wasn't here last night.
I moved on down the runway into the wind. After going about 100 yards I lit a cigarette and looked around. In front of me a deer was moving across the wind. It raised its head and I saw the antlers. I knew it was at least a 6 pointer.
He was moving across the wind checking a number of trails for doe scent. As he was walking I picked a spot, leveled the cross hairs on his shoulder and fired.
I saw the back end flinch but he stood there, wondering where the noise had come from. He started walking again. I picked another spot between 2 trees and fired again. The buck stopped and looked around, again wondering where the noise came from. He began walking again.
I was wondering what was wrong with my scope. He moved between two trees again and I fired. Again he stopped to figure out where the noise was coming from.
All of a sudden he vanished behind a large oak. I reloaded my rifle thinking he was coming toward me. Wrong. He walked on down a hill out of my sight. I went to his track and found some hair but no blood.
I decided to go after him but I spooked him and he was on the run. It started snowing hard and I figured that this hunt would be over. It was only a couple of hundred yards to my brothers (Gary ) blind. The buck crossed the trail within 50 feet of the blind. My brother thought it was a spike and only saw it for a second.
When I got to the trail it was snowing so hard that the tracks were almost completely covered. I told Gary that I had hair but no blood and that with the snow coming down so hard, it would be foolish to continue.
Gary said we should go a little further since it was only 9:00 a.m. It was agreed that we would go as far as the swamp which was only 1/4 mile away. Normally I wouldn't walk on the tracks but today it made no difference.
We walked with Gary about twenty feet behind me. Gary would dig snow out of my foot prints, spread it out on his hand and find tiny drops of blood. So now we knew the deer was hit.
When we reached the swamp the tracks were barely visible. I wanted to go back to camp and maybe try to find the deer later. Gary convinced me that we should continue.
Off through the swamp we go. Gary checking the snow for blood as we kept after the deer. We came across a spot where the buck had laid down and it was smeared with blood but no puddling. I thought that to be strange.
Then we jumped the buck again. He was back on the run. We continued our vigil with me in the lead and Gary checking for blood to make sure we had the right track.
Finally we made it through the swamp and into the hardwoods. I felt sure we were close. All of a sudden we were crossing the highway about one mile from the camp. I told Gary we should quit but again he prodded me on.
The deer was heading south from the time i took the first shot. With a good knowledge of the area and where we were I wasn't to worried about getting mixed up in the bush so off we went again. Through the hardwood and another swamp.
The tracks were hard to follow and the only blood to be found was in the palm of Gary's hand. We managed to stay on the track without getting mixed up by other tracks. The buck was still headed south.
The area had been logged and walking at times was pretty rough. Finally we came across a spot where the buck had laid down again. There were three spots within 25 feet that he laid down. I figured we were darn close now.
I took about 5 steps and heard a crash. Off to my left the buck was jumping over brush. I put the cross hairs on his hind quarter but didn't want to ruin the meat with a bullet. I kept the buck in my sights and finally after about 4 jumps he turned, giving me a shot at his neck. I fired and he went down.
The deer must have moved on my first shot or I may have nicked a branch causing the bullet to deflect. The bullet split his belly skin open. The intestines were hanging from the hole. Certainly the coyotes would have got him if we didn't.
It was now 2:00 in the afternoon. Five hours after I took the first shot. We had no idea where we were but after dragging the buck for a while we came across a hunters blind. I followed the trail to a camp. The guys inside were willing to give us a ride ( with the deer in tow ) out to the main road which was about a mile from where we were at.
Gary came back with a truck and we loaded the buck and went back to camp. I checked a plat book and figured we had tracked that buck over 3.5 miles. I owe my success to Gary for pushing me. It's the first time we've had to track a deer so far. Usually they drop in thier tracks. It was a very worth while experience.