Way to stay after him. This late in the season any buck is a trophy in my mind!Yesterday I hiked up in where I left this buck track on Sunday, mostly in the dark. When I got there, there were two tracks coming down off the hill that they had been on. One was small, and one was bigger. I assumed it was the same two deer, but it was hard to tell because they were melted out a bit. I decided to take the buck track.
The deer zig-zagged through the hardwoods, feeding and bedding along the way. He eventually made his way up a 3,000 foot ridge. I kicked him up when we got to the very top.
I gave him a half hour, and then started my pursuit. This deer was a runner. He went a long ways before slowing down to a walk, and then bedded in some thick pines. We did this 3 times, eventually we circled the 3,000' ridge, and crossed my boot tracks from the morning.
By noon, I had realized that this was not the giant buck I had tracked on Sunday. I decided to keep going. I hadn't seen another deer track all day. I kicked him up at noon. At 1:15, he made an abrupt turn in to a stand of pines on the side of a ridge. I knew he would be in there, so I went really slow through them. An hour later, I could hear a deer walking through the crusty snow ahead, but I couldn't see him because the pines were so thick.
I followed the track to an empty bed with walking tracks leaving it. He continued up the ridge, feeding. It was now 2:30. I felt I was close. I followed slowly. Every time he fed, I'd gain on him. Eventually, I heard a stick snap above me. A short while later, he started bounding again. He took me over the top of the ridge. The other side was a beautiful mix of hardwood and softwoods. He kept zig zagging through the patches of softwood.
At around 3:00, I came over a knob, and 50 yards in front of me was a deer feeding. I pulled up, saw the bow of a main beam in my scope, and fired. The deer jumped in the air and took off. I reloaded, and went over to the shot site. No blood.
I started following and found a few little specs of blood. I went on him as fast as I could because I wanted to finish the job before dark. He went over a mile, all down hill, towards my truck. As we went I was seeing more and more blood. I kicked him out of a bed, and there was a lot of blood in it. When he took off, it looked like he only had horns on one side. I didn't see a shed along the way. At 4:05, I caught up to him, and was able to get one into the pump house. He had a nice rack on one side, and a straight antler on the other, with a fork at the top.
I cleaned him out, and started dragging. I ended up getting him to the truck at 6:30. He is technically a 5 pointer, and he weighed in at 138 fully cleaned out.
I'm happy I was able to take a buck tracking, but part of me is upset with myself for not holding out for that giant I missed on Sunday.
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