Hunter: Joseph Jones
Points: 8 (4L, 4R)
I had not had any big bucks on camera on this particular property, so I was mainly hunting for does. When the cold front pushed through early in the week, I had a nice 8-point come running through the field I was in grunting with his nose to the ground. I decided to change my focus to a more rut style hunting strategy. I decided to start doing some light grunting and light rattling the next few hunts, and I had a pretty good bit of response from that. I had taken a mid-morning walk to put eyes on different parts of the farm on Wednesday, and I walked up through a three-way intersection of some two-track paths that were lined with some big live oaks, and there was a scrape line along the edge of the road and a very heavily used trail going down the path. The property is essentially sitting on a sand ridge so there is a major lack in tall trees (I hunt from a climber). There just so happened to be a tall loblolly about 25 yards from one of the scrapes, so I decided I'd try to sit over those scrapes. I wasn't able to hunt Thursday morning, so I got out there that evening and had a very slow hunt. I ended up seeing a young buck right before dark, but I still had high hopes for this spot. I got up the next morning and climbed the tree and got settled in about 10 minutes before legal shooting light. I sat there from 7 to 8:45 without seeing or hearing a deer. I eventually heard a family group of does coming down the road to my right and right before they came into sight, a small buck met them in the road, and as soon as he saw those does he put his head down and started chasing them all around me for 15-20 minutes. They eventually made their way off, and about 9:20, I heard a deer running in the live oak flat out in front of me. I could see through the low-hanging live oak branches a little bit and I could see deer moving throughout the woods. As I sat there and listened to this deer running, I quickly realized it was a buck chasing a doe. I listened to him grunt for several minutes, and eventually heard several more deer join in on the chase. I heard several different bucks grunting. They all sounded very high pitched, so I assumed they were most likely smaller younger bucks. At 9:30, I heard a very deep guttural grunt about 30 yards in front of me, and this buck came barreling out of the oak limbs coming for a young doe that was standing directly under my stand. I drew as soon as I saw him and followed him with my pin. I almost shot him while he was trotting toward her, but I realized he was not going to stop, so I bleated at him pretty loudly and he froze. As soon as he stopped, I settled the pin over his shoulder and squeezed off. He wheeled around and went back from the direction he came. The arrow buried into his shoulder blade and was sticking out of him as he ran off. I waited about 15-20 minutes and climbed down just to look for blood. I didn't find any, which I had expected, so I just started canvassing the area. I knew that if my arrow had gotten enough penetration, that I would be in a lung, possibly both. I quickly found my arrow and saw that I had 9-10 inches of blood down the shaft. I eventually had to get a dog, as my canvassing efforts proved uneventful. The dog couldn't seem to pick up a scent, and I was starting to lose hope. My buddy had joined me, and he actually walked up on the deer. He had run almost exactly 100 yards. I had walked within 30 yards from him, but he had veered off of his path further than I originally thought. This is my biggest buck ever, and biggest with a bow. I killed two nice bucks with my bow this year, so I'm feeling very blessed.