2021 Last Day Vermont Buck

802-603hunter

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Normally I would be up north at camp for the last weekend of our Vermont season. In general I hunted up north less this year than in past years, partly waiting for good snow conditions and partly due to ongoing projects at work. When I did make it north the conditions were not favorable with crunchy snow and leaves coupled with only marginal deer sign and seemingly higher hunter densities than years past. We hunted in the wind and snow on Saturday and made the call to head home and hunt around the house on Sunday. Normally I would have stuck around knowing the day after a storm is usually best but due to having to reschedule an eye appointment until after my moose hunt I wasn't feeling all that confident in my abilities. My vision in my right eye is greatly diminished right now and has me shooting lefty for the most part. I didn't feel real confident in my chances of tracking down a buck and being able to make a quick shot in the moment. I had also been seeing quite a few bucks back home, albeit most of them sub-legal spikes.

My father was down for the holiday so we made plans the night before with he and my father-in-law, who was tagged out, to time some soft pushes. There was about an inch of snow on the ground with frozen leaves beneath making it relatively noisy. I positioned up on the top of the ridge in order to see both sides for the first part of the morning. I had seen a good amount of natural movement on the west side the week before and the east side was a possible path for any bumped deer to pass through. It didn't take long before I had a doe come through followed by what I could make out as a legal buck. Unfortunately they stayed behind a stand of hemlocks and didn't afford any clear importunity. They were quickly followed by a spike that did pass through some solid openings as he abandoned the pursuit of the doe and headed his own way. It wasn't long before my father-in-law radioed to let us know he was swinging around the opposite end of the ridge and would make his way along the west side. With that I decided to abandon my view to the east and move down the slope a bit to the west to get a better view of that side. I picked my way down trying to stay on the exposed ledge to reduce noise and using soft steps in the frozen leaves. When I was about 40 yards from my desired spot I noticed a small movement as far out as I could see along the shelf I was on. I raised my scope half expecting to see one of the seemingly thousands of gray squirrels that inhabit the hillside only to be pleasantly surprised to see the head, neck, and antler bases of a buck fill my scope. He turned his head and I made out the necessary legal point. I quickly realize he is bedded and grooming himself. He toggles between grooming and looking in my direction, so during one of his grooming sessions I take the opportunity to slip up a few more yards to brace myself on a small yellow birch tree. He is about 125 yards distant through a small opening. I take careful aim with my unfamiliar left eye and when I feel solid, touch off the pump gun. The report of the rifle is followed by silence. Assuming that is a good thing I re-level the gun and only see the top inch or two of his back where he lay dead. I cut the distance between us in half before the doe bounds away, having been bedded nearby. While waiting for my father-in law to make his way towards my father and I, the opportunity is taken to call down to the house to see if my kids want to come partake in the recovery, which they excitedly did. Fun times for the whole family.

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I was standing as far away as you can see in this picture, just to the immediate left of the maple tree.
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Seven points, 135 pounds.
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My daughter has an eye for photography and takes some really great photos.
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NH Hunter

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Sounds like a nice family hunt, and congrats on the deer. What do you think is up with your peeper? Did you get something in it at work? Hope you can get it mended up quickly.
 

sneaky_pete000

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Another awesome thread with great pics. You could fill a magazine with these posts and it would be the only mag I'd subscribe to.

Thats a great last day VT buck. I pass up most everything in VT...until the end....
 

NH Hunter

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I have an appointment for tests tomorrow at the eye surgeon that should tell more. The eye doctor I went to for the initial exam thought it was a cataract, which is uncommon for someone of my vintage.
Hope you received promising news, and they've got you headed in the right direction.
 

NH Hunter

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Cataract surgery in the spring. Guess I’ll hold off on switching my pumps over to lefty safeties until I see how it goes.😁
Wow, no kidding? Good luck. Are they able to give you anything to reduce the growth? Did they put you on the devils lettuce?🤣
 

Browseline

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Wow, no kidding? Good luck. Are they able to give you anything to reduce the growth? Did they put you on the devils lettuce?🤣
I have had an eye exam every year for the last 30 plus years. About 15 years ago they noticed a small cataract in my left eye. I am right eye dominant. It has gotten a little worse every year. This years exam in August the doctor said it still wasn't bad enough to operate on, but it is slightly cloudy. I don't notice it unless I close my right eye. If I shot using my left eye I would be in trouble, I think. Eventually I'll probably have to have it fixed if I don't tip over first.
 




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