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A very good year again for the family hunt
I didn't post last year, but my daughter in law scored her first buck on the farm on opening day last year.
A nice little buck.
This year started out like many of my last several seasons here, nothing seen, nothing heard except for shots being fired all around, up and down the valley.
Not even a squirrel or chipmunk stirring until just before sunset, let alone a deer.
Not a good sign for how the season was going to play out based on the past too many years.
So Tuesday morning, I brace myself and head back up to my blind, fire up the little buddy heater and stretch out and start watching and listening, shots fired right after shooting light far away, nothing close.
Light breezes blowing, chilly temps, upper 20's near the top of the mountain.
Then out of nowhere come 6 does along the trail.
They all see the ATV on the trail and stop in a dead panic, the lead doe (and the rest completely oblivious to my existence in the blind. All fixated on the ATV blocking their was around the point, staring at it, stomping their hooves, and bobbing their heads.Turning their heads slowly from left to right, then stomping their hooves at it, trying to get it to move.
Finally, the lead doe decides to go around the ATV, about 20 yards uphill from it and the blind just on the other side of the trail.
One by one, single file, carefully staring down that green and black thing that has absolutely caught their complete and full attention.
The last few seemed less concerned and actually browsed for forage as the ambled by.
About 15-20 minutes later they were out of the area.
another 10 or so minutes go by, me blissfully unaware of the 7th doe that was way back from the rest. She saw me in the blind, started snorting and blowing and did a 180 and ran back in the direction they orginally came from.
Then a few more minutes pass and I hear more rustling of leaves just in front of the blind about 30 yards out. I spied what I thought was a doe making a return to the scene of what befuddled them earlier.
As it came through the thick stuff and out into the open, I spied some antler. I jumped up out of my seat and tried to raise my rifle up and put the scope on it to see just how small the antler growth was.
As I stood up, the camp chair made a rumbling sound on the plywood deck, getting his full attention on me and the blind and he ran up the hill a little way, hiding his chest behind a tree, leaving his stomach & hind end exposed as well as his head as he looked around the tree to see what startled him.
Just enough front leg was showing to allow a marginal shot at his forward chest area ( I thought ) so I took a shot and missed.
Yup, old dead-eye me missed a 35+/- yard shot.
He ran up the hill, then around the point, never to be seen again.
I made out at least a spike on each side, possibly sprouting into a small fork on each end. WIth the brush and small timber around him, it was hard to determine anything other than it had at least legal antler length.
Nothing to brag about or hang on the wall, but would fill the freezer compartment with meat.
I decided on those qualifications alone to take the shot and blew it.
As I sat there for a few minutes beating myself up mentally for blowing yet another shot in my lifetime, I decided to get up and go look for hair or blood.
I walked up and over to where he stood, looked on the ground, looked for a hole in the tree, saw nothing, no hair, no blood, no indication of a hit, good or bad.
I then figured I just got too excited and simply blew the shot. As I stood there, four does ran within 5-6 feet of me from around the point.
They all froze as they spotted me. Below and behind them on the ATV trail, I spotted a 5th deer, nervously twitching it's tail, bobbing it's head up and down trying to get a look at me.
There was no way that deer I had taken a shot at just a few minutes before had enough time to get with these does and start chasing them.
As he tilted his head, I saw antlers, not just "legal" but a decent sized little 6 point rack . I raised the rifle and snapped the safety off and aimed right for the chest. It reared up like a horse getting it's bridle pulled back, flailed it's front two legs and fell over right there.
It was a small rack, but even and tall. He weighed more than I could lift onto the hitch basket on the ATV to haul down by the garage to field dress it and have all of the tools and cleaning gear handy. I got him down off the mountain the hard way by using a strap and towing it down with ratchet straps putting most of the meat off the ground.
We got it dressed and ready, then off to the processor later that afternoon.
The rest of the week proved uneventful until Saturday when my youngest son decided to get an afternoon session in on the mountain.
He went to his stand, saw and heard nothing for a few hours and came around the point, past my stand and then back again when a buck popped up from below the trail onto the trail and stared at him.
My youngest put a round in him and had him on the ground, not 50 yards from where I got mine on Tuesday.
So two bucks and two freezers full of venison later, I am now sharing with anyone that cares to read the tale.
I was pleased with being able to finally put one on the ground and in the freezer. Doubly so when he bagged that 4 point.
It's been a long time since I've got to do that, as I have spent the past 10+ years hunting that same spot in order to be close enough to help my boys if they got one from their stands that are a few hundred yards away from mine once they got old enough to hunt on their own. This time I finally was in the right place at the right time again.
Oddly enough, both of them had gone to other places to hunt on Tuesday and I was up there by myself and I got to see deer again, like I used to before they started hunting. But I'd give up on ever getting another one as long as they were up there and were successful as my youngest has been over the past several years. All I need now is for my oldest to anchor one and my hunting life would be complete.
He gave up the shot at one last year in order to let his wife take the shot and to me that was the most giving thing I've seen him do after the years of scouting, checking cameras, waiting in the cold, the rain and snow from daylight to dark over the years to allow her the moment.