photo of a deer killed by Clay Crawfordphoto of a deer killed by Clay Crawfordphoto of a deer killed by Clay Crawford

Hunter: Clay Crawford

Points: 17 (8L, 9R)

County: Early

Season: 2019-2020

Hunt Story

I first got pictures of this deer 2 years ago in the last two weeks of season. I never saw him. In 2018, Hurricane Michael hit our community. I was busy helping others clean up from the storm and didn't put cameras out or get to go deer hunting. After Thanksgiving this year, I decided to put my camera back out on this tract of land. To my surprise, I got pictures of a big deer that looked like the 2017 deer. Wow! He had grown tremendously in two years. On Sunday, Dec 8th, I put out a new Double Bull ground blind. All week I had been waiting for the wind to change out of the north. I finally got a chance to hunt on Thursday, Dec 12, 2019. I was running late and got in the blind at 4:45 p.m. Weather conditions were overcast and light rain with a NE wind. About 5:25, a spike walked out and fed for 15 minutes and left out the back of the shooting lane. It was getting hard to see because of the weather conditions. Not long after the spike left, I saw some deer movement about 100 yards away. I looked through my scope and my heart stopped! I realized it was the deer I had been seeing on my Cuddeback camera. He walked straight towards me. I had been watching him for about 10 minutes when another deer stepped out at the end of the shooting lane. The deer turned giving me a shot I felt comfortable with. I stayed in the blind for 10 minutes after firing my 243 rifle and the rain began to pick up. I walked down the lane to approximately where the deer had been standing. I found hair but it was raining too hard to see blood. I looked from the edge of the shooting lane with my cellphone light and found nothing. To keep from possibly jumping the deer, I decided to go back the next morning to search for him. Over night, we received over 2 inches of rain. On Friday, Dec 13th, I went back to where I found hair. I searched to the right (direction the deer had been facing) for about 20 minutes and found nothing. I decided to go to the truck and get my black lab, Blue, to help me look for the deer. Since I was back at my truck, I decided to make a loop on the left side of the lane. I walked about 20 yards and saw something unusual. I walked to it. It was the deer. It had been covered up with leaves by a bobcat. The only thing exposed was his rack. The bobcat had eaten the back ham of the deer before covering him up. My heart stopped again when I realized it was such a unique deer. The deer had obviously run the opposite direction he was facing. He only ran about 40 yards. The flash from the gun must have blinded me. So never give up looking!
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