Last day luck

Mattb

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Thanks to Longbow for prodding me to post something.

This year was an anomaly for me - normally I hunt hard in the expanded zone early and switch gears to ducks and birds once the freezer is full. A new baby this summer meant I didn't do as much scouting as I normally do (OK, I didn't do any scouting) and when the season rolled around I realized my spots were all devoid of acorns, and with no acorns, there were no deer. I'd had cams out all summer, and saw that the deer had more or less moved on. I have pics of a bunch of does and couple nice 8's right up until late August, then nothing.

I kept at it, and had one close call in October - two deer passing under the stand at 10 yards 10 minutes before legal shooting, but it was starting to look like I'd need to be gun hunting this year for the first time in quite a while.
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All my expanded spots were in a no discharge zone, so I was really starting from scratch at this point. I'd seen some decent sign while duck hunting, so I hung a couple cams and eventually hung a couple stands. By the time gun season rolls around, it's pretty tough to get much of a hunt in before work, but I was doing what I could - an hour here and an hour there plus a few hours on Saturdays but I wasn't seeing anything. On the 10th I had few guys come through under my stand about an hour before the end of legal shooting, and when one of them set up within view, I decided to climb down and go for a walk. I explored an area I hadn't been through yet this year and came up on some smoking fresh buck sign almost immediately- a line of fresh scrapes - 5 or 6 of them, set down 20-30 yards apart and obviously brand new. I slowed down and started scanning, but 10 minutes later I heard a single shot close by and figured that was that. I walked over to where the shot had come from and found out that a guy hunting a field nearby had seen a nice buck on the edge of the field and took a long-ish shot at with with some 00 buckshot. We looked around a while and it seemed like it'd been a clean miss - I left him to keep searching and went on my way.

Friday the 16th it was snowing hard, but let up after lunch, so I took the afternoon off and headed for the woods. I did a lot of walking before I got on fresh sign, but eventually found a track I wanted to follow. After half an hour or so, I looked up to see another hunter at 50 yards, also obviously on a track (that's hunting in York County for ya). I gave him a low whistle to let him know I was there, then left him to it and headed off the other way. 10 minutes later, I jumped a small buck and spent the next hour tracking him without ever catching up.

The next morning, I was hunting with my dad, so I put him on the best of the sign I'd seen from Friday and went up to sit on the edge of a field, figuring I'd sit for a little while and then get up and try to get on a fresh track early in the day. I was in my seat half an hour before legal shooting, and had someone come into the field with a flashlight 15 minutes later, headed right for me - I dug out my headlamp and gave them a few quick flashes, and they turned around and headed back the way they came. 45 minutes later it was fully light out, and I heard crunching snow and breaking ice coming through the woods at me. It sounded like 2, maybe 3 guys, and they weren't really trying to be quiet. I was getting ready to pack up and go find a track when a nice buck trotted out of the woods instead. It was so far from what I was expecting that it actually took me a second to process what was happening. I recovered (sort of) quickly, and got the gun up. It seemed like he was just coming out into the field to check for does, as he'd already turned and was starting back towards the woods. I put the scope on the base of his neck and let one go. I lost him for a second in the recoil, and when I got the gun back on him, he was piled up where he'd stood.

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I sent my dad a text to let him know I had one down and walked over to get a better look. I knew it was a good buck, but I was still surprised when I got there.
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We'd driven my small SUV, and there was no way this deer was going to fit in the back, so my dad left to get his truck while I dressed the deer. I got it dressed and started dragging before he got back with the truck, but I quickly decided that I'd be better off waiting for a second set of hands. Thankfully, it wasn't too long a drag, and we had him out and loaded into the back of the truck in short order - I'd have eventually got him out on my own, but getting that deer into the back of the truck solo would've been a good trick, I'm glad I had my dad there to help.

He wound up weighing 213lbs on the scale at La Flamme's. My first 200lber and 20lbs better than my previous biggest deer.
 

Mainewoods

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Damn dude, nice buck and congrats on reaching the 200lb club! Just did it myself this year with a 213lber with 8 points!
 

Davey

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Yep, I would head to the taxidermist with that one too, congrats on a great deer.
 

Mattb

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Awesome! In the wide open with plenty of sun light!
That's part of what I meant by 'luck' - Beyond the fact that this was a buck that I hadn't really scouted much, a deer doesn't get that big by spending much time in wide open fields in broad daylight. Right place, right time for me, and if I hadn't been hunting with my dad I definitely would've sat where I put him, as I thought it was a much better spot.
 


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