2021 Ohio bow hunt

Shooter Buck

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A friend and I decided to make the trip out to Ohio and try some bow hunting on public lands in the midwest. We both got saddle hunting gear and practiced in the back yard all summer waiting on the last week of October. We arrived at our Air B&B on saturday after noon and got to drive around a little to check out the area. It definatly was different than back in new england. We talked with our host and he told us about a spot close by that we would check out in the morning. We decided to scout/hunt from the ground the first morning. I went up a hill and got to the ridge and thought I head heard something up there but shortly after a squirrel ran off. So of course I moved up and bumped two does from where I had heard the sound. I moved slowly and sat a few different spots and eventually found a good line of rubs and scrapes. My friend also had some does come close by but he never was able to get off a shot.

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We scouted out some other areas mid day and found a lot of the area was very thick low brush. The kind of stuff you have to crawl through. There was plenty of food and plenty of cover just no where you could see more than 10 yards. It was set to rain in the afternoon so we took a drive to check out some open pasture land. We sat in the truck and glassed a few areas in the rain and ended up seeing 5-6 deer in private field right on the edge of public. They never ended up coming close to us before the dark and lightning came in.

Day 2
We went back into the same area we scouted the first morning. I set up my saddle on the scrape line I had found the day before and my buddy set up on another ridge. We sat all morning with nothing to show for it. After a quick lunch we decided to head back to where we saw the deer in the pasture the day before. We glassed around for a bit . My friend went up one ridge to check out another valley while I looked the other way. We met back after a little while as we both had seen deer. We decided to go after the one he saw first. It was heading across the valley towards some trees and we were about 2 mins too late beating him to the tree line.

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We walked back to where I had spotted some deer go into some bushes at the end of a valley about 800 yards away. We couldn't see anything as we worked our way in and while moving up the bottom of the valley a doe blew at me up on the hill. My friend was behind me a little ways and the doe couldn't see him, She was far enough away that she didnt really spook. I moved away from her while my buddy was able to stalk up her side of the valley. I watched as a another doe appeared and he moved up to their level. Right when he got to the top he bumped another deer out that I didnt see. The original doe moved off to the left and the other doe fed in the middle. I did my best to give hand signals to steer him in but they all moved off before he could get close. The moved into some brush at the end of the valley so i moved up my side. As i got close I spotted a doe heading my way. I hid by a bush and waited for her to walk out. She was just about to clear and I started to draw when she spotted me. We had a long stare down before she took off.

Cell phone pic of me and the deer from across the valley.
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We ended blowing out a bunch of does but when we met back up he said he saw a buck up another area the other direction and he said it had it head down following a doe into some trees. I said we needed to go over there. We moved over and he stayed down in the valley and I moved up into the trees and ended up coming out into a hidden feild on top of a hill. I slowly moved up but not slow enough. A huge buck jumped out 40 yards in front of me and ran across to my left. I sure wish I had my 7600 in my hands. There was a cliff edge on the left side so I knew he couldnt go to far that way so i moved up some more. Then I saw him at about 80 yards on the edge of the woods. His rack looked enormous. Easily the biggest rack I have ever seen. I fumbled for my camera and got a quick shot before he moved off. I continued down the field when I spotted two smaller bucks at the end of it. I started trying to move up on them when I saw the big buck and the doe skyline on the ridge behind them. I took a quick video as they were too far. I ended up getting to 40 yards on the smaller fork horn that was in there at last light. I needed him to take two more steps and I would have had a clear lane but no luck.

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Shooter Buck

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Day 3
We went to where we had seen the bucks with the hot doe. There was one doe out in the open when we got there. My friend was going to watch her and I went back up into the field. I ended up seeing a doe at 40 yards but didnt have to to get a shot. I moved up the field and found tons of sign. As i got closer to the end I was looking down into the woods and saw a buck right on the field edge. He almost walked in the woods and gave me a shot but ended up turning around and heading the other way. I tried to loop around and get in front of him but no luck. We scouted some more back in there and up higher on a ridge and found some good sign and bumped a few does.

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We had been in these cow pastures crawling through the electric fences a bunch of times at this point. We could step on the lower line and sneak through or crawl under. I had crossed the top fence two times already that day. I even touched the top line with the back of my hand and nothing. I was pretty sure this fence was off at this point as there were no cows in this pasture. That's when I stepped on the lower line and ducked through and while standing on the lower line my arrow hit the upper one. I got a nice shock through the arm as I dove through. I texted my buddy and told him not to touch both wires at the same time haha.

We headed back to the other area we saw the deer yesterday and I went on one side of the valley and he went on the other. He got to the tree line where we almost got a chance the day before. I went up on a plateau on the other side. Deer ended up coming out in the valley but I was cliffed out and couldn't get back down to get close to them. I ended up going the other direction and came down through another field and bumped a deer and some turkeys at last light.

Day 4
Back into the valley of the big bucks. We had kinda figured out this valley and knew our way around. Our plan was to glass and then make a move depending on the wind. As we got set up we saw a hunter at the other end so that threw a wrench in our plans. He moved into the woods and we started heading the other way. We were watching a doe out in the valley towards the hunter when all of a sudden two bucks run out of the woods and right in our direction. They hit our scent trail and stopped on a dime. One buck stopped at 60 yards in the open and the other was probably 40 but behind some bushes. I scrambled to get an arrow knocked but they never got close enough for a shot. We headed back to the truck and went to check out another area. As we were in there I looked across the road and saw a big buck in a field on private land. He was standing there just staring at a doe that was feeding in front of him. We watched for a while as we were in a good spot if they ended up crossing to public land. Two coyotes ended up chasing them around and split them up. They actually chased them closer to us. The buck ended up coming out of some brush and we watched him back track and find his doe again. As we watch the hillside we saw a few more doe groups and then two other bucks. One of the other ones was following a doe as well. They didn't seem like they were going to come to us so we took off for our last evening hunt.

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Back to where we were the last evening. This time we both went on the right side of the valley. I looped around further to where some of the deer had gone and my buddy stayed down the bottom where the brook went into the trees. I waited a while and then moved in to the top of this field where the deer had exited the night before. I couldn't see anything out there so I thought the field was empty. Then I caught a tail flick off to my right at about 60 yards. A spike was feeding his way towards me. He stopped broad side at 36 yards. I ranged him and adjusted my pin. Just before I could lean out for the shot he turned towards me. I figured I would just let him come in closer but I knew my wind was a little sketchy so I had to be ready. Just as I was thinking that he threw his nose up in the air and took off. I decided to push back to where he ran as time was running out. I ended up seeing him and other deer run out the back of a small valley. I worked my way back there and saw a buck sky lined in the fading light. He was too far but then I heard a grunt closer to me. I had like 5 mins of light so I made some grunts and used a few bushed to head towards the grunt i heard. I got to 20 yards of where I heard it but couldn't see anything. Then the buck blew at me and ran off. He was right there it was just too dark for me to see him. Along walk back in the dark closed out our trip.

We didn't plan on going to Ohio to do more of a spot and stalk style hunt but it was super fun and we saw a ton of deer doing it. We might have killed a deer if we sat in our saddles everyday but I have no regrets. I feel like if we had a few more days we would definitely have gotten something. It might have just been more sore knees and trench foot for all the miles in wet boots though. All in all it was an awesome experience. We saw 10 plus deer everyday while out hunting and many more while driving around. I have never hunted outside of new england or the Adirondacks and this was a different world. Might just have to do it again sometime.

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JDK

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Great write-up and very interesting country. Always nice to get away and see something new.
 

Pine-lock

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I had a sneak peak at most of this story. It's "almost" enough action to make me consider dusting off the bow to bow hunt again.
 

SportsmanNH

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You guys didn't bring back a deer . But you sure did bring back some memories . Lots of great action in an unknown place to boot. I have to call that a successful trip .
 

VTHunter08

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Always loved going to Ohio bow hunting. A successful hunt doesn't always end in punched tags. sounds like you guys had a great time, thanks for sharing
 




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