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The third chapter. (The 4 Beam Buck)

by Scott Abbott 13. March 2009 15:22
Scott Abbott

Chapter One.  09/17/2008

Set up on the North end of a standing corn field facing South back toward the field my game camera snapped a series of 24 photos on September 17th, 2008 starting at 11:02 PM and ending at 11:25 PM.  This was my first "encounter" with the buck that I have come to know as "The 4 Beam Buck".  I never got another picture of him other than from this series, even while running two cameras on the property.  I hoped to catch him on my other camera as it takes much nicer photos but I had no such luck. 

Two photos from that night.

Chapter Two.  11/16/2008

November 16th, 2008 found me sitting in a lock on that has been kind to me over the years.  Not long after first light I can hear it....  The tell tale sound of chasing.  A yearling buck ran a doe right underneath my stand with a big buck and numerous younger bucks lagging behind.  I at first did not get a good look at the "big buck" because so many deer were converging on my location at once.  I didn't want to get caught glassing any of them and have a good buck come in range with my attention else where. 

I was then able to start glassing the bucks I went from dink to dink to respectable 2.5 year olds than BAM.... It's the "4 Beam Buck"!  It was an outstanding experience watching all the chasing and dominance displays he put on over the next couple hours fending off these bucks from courting his bedded doe.  Once all of the activity slowed and I was able to look around, I had seven bucks and one doe all within 60 yards of my setup.  The encounter wasn't meant to turn into a big buck and "hero" photos though as they left my area for good a few hours after they arrived.

Chapter Three.  03/13/2008

Over 40 hours into my Ohio shed season I had yet to find a shed antler.  I found some in IL and OK, but just couldn't get on any here at home.  Around 4:00 PM I put an end to the shed-less streak by picking up a yearling shed.  It sure felt good to finally pick one up.

A couple hours later found me in an area I would not have expected to find a shed.  It is an area that is full of young maple trees with absolutely no ground cover or browse to speak of....  Just tall skinny maple trees.  I was griding the area out East-West then back West-East.  I was about 3/4's through the area when I see the curl of a main beam sticking up 30 feet ahead....  I walk up to see the right side of the "4 Beam Buck"!  Darkness fell fast and I was not able to locate the other side.  I will be back out there in the morning trying my best to find the other side. 

As it lied when I found it.

Another view once I got home.

I hope to add a couple more chapters to this story over this spring / summer going into next fall.  Even if this story doesn't end with the whitetail and I making a trip to my taxidermist, I have throughly enjoyed the ride thus far.

The four main beam buck: A story of Almost.

by Scott Abbott 20. November 2008 08:30
Scott Abbott

Sunday November, 16th started no differently than any other morning.  I got settled into my stand 15 minutes prior to legal shooting light, bundled up to fight off the below freezing temps.  Roughly a half hour later I hear it; the tell tale sign of deer chasing.  Although the ground was wet and quiet, it is a sound I have come to know all to well in the month of November.  This was the kind of chasing you just know will fly right past your stand with no shot opportunity, it was fast and aggressive.  Just as I suspected, right past me they went with a half rack three point leading the chase with a good buck lagging 30 yards behind.  The big buck couldn't keep the pace with the yearling buck and doe. 

After I "knew" I had no chance to stop them in my shooting lanes at their pace, 50 yards later they stopped chasing....  I could then hear more running behind me, I saw two more bucks flying into the area.  Then another buck comes in.  Again, I can hear deer running.... Another buck and finally the final buck to the party showed up.  In the mist of all the activity converging on my stand at once I lost track of the doe, I figured she kept going.  I then took my attention back to the big buck to get my first good look, HOLY CRAP! That's the four main beam buck!  As I attempt to formulate a plan to try to call him to me, he bedded down 60 yards from my stand.  It was a sigh of relief at the time having him bed as I knew better to attempt to call to him with now 6 other bucks, all yearlings and 2.5's all within 30 yards of my stand.

 

I only got one set of photos of him all summer, all in one night.  I never saw him

again until last Sunday morning.

For the next hour I was really unable to move as the bucks were still all around me.  The young ones were rubbing and sparring like they had nothing better to do.  Movement from the big buck caught my eye so I slowly raised my binos up on him.  He took a few steps to the south and bedded back down, THERE'S THE DOE!  It was all starting to make sense now, he was on lock down with this doe.  The doe stood up walked a few steps and browsed on some green brier then bedded back down next to the big buck.  This got the attention of the younger bucks and gave them the courage to attempt to approach her.  The dominate buck would not have this, he bluffed charged them when ever they would get with in 40 or so yards of he and his does location.  A couple times he would stand up and show his dominance to the younger bucks by thrashing some of the saplings and pawing at the ground as if to make a scrape, although he did not urinate in the fresh dirt.  While he was on his feet I attempted a couple doe calls, he snapped his head staring intently in my direction but would no commit.  I then tried a series of aggressive grunts followed by a couple snort wheezes.  He acted as he never heard them.  My best guess is he figured the grunting and snort wheezing was from one of his subordinates he had been fending off all morning.

Again the doe rose from her bed and started to walk from their bedding location, I needed them to come 20 yards East to my location for a possible opportunity for a shot but they traveled around 50 yards to the South and bedded again.  I could now feel the opportunity slipping away.  Once the doe and dominate buck cleared the old bedding site, each of the small bucks cautiously worked their way over there and spent a while sniffing and flemming the two areas she had bed down.

 

Rather than brow tines, he seemed to grow double main beams in their place.

 

The morning had flown by, I checked the time and it was already after 10.  The next hour and a half they were still bedding in the location around 100 yards from my set.  This is when I see it.  A trespasser from later to find out from Michigan who has permission on the neighboring property was trespassing.  Little does he know what he did from his trespassing escapade, all of the deer scattered to the North.  He never heard or saw them. 

I was furious.  I waited until he hit an area I knew I could catch up to him on as it is rather thick on this property and I have lost trespassers in the past getting down to soon losing them in the under brush. With him finally on an old skidder trail, I got down and made my approach.  I am not getting into the conversation we had, but I made it clear to him he was trespassing. At first he denied it only to admit a few minutes later he crossed the posted signs to "see where the buck he had saw that morning had come from". 

I did not tell him that he had ran those deer off me, when he asked had I saw anything I told him no. 

Looking at the encounter in hind sight, there is no telling where that doe would have went after she rose from her bed.  What were the odds that she would have brought the big buck back to my set?  What would have happened had another buck busting them from their beds? Which way would they have ran?  Would it have ended in a big buck for me? I really do not have the answers.   All I know is I would have liked to have the opportunity to play it out to see how it would have ended. 

He would have been a welcome addition had the opportunity arose.

What Happened to This Years Rut?

by John Mueller 19. November 2008 13:45
John Mueller

This has been one of the strangest years for the rut that I can remember. It seems like I have been seeing bucks chasing does for the last month. But never did see that frenzied few days when if a doe walked by, there were 4 or 5 bucks dogging her. Or you drive past an open field and there were deer chasing one another all over it. This usually happens around the 10th of November. Almost everyone I talk to has a similar story this year. Not really sure of the reason, but I have a few theories.

 

My first theory has to do with the amount of standing corn still in the fields. With all of the rain we had this spring and early summer the farmers got the corn in really late this year. Especially in the creek bottoms near my farm, it was just too wet to get on the ground to plant. That made the harvest really late and we have had a wet fall too. So there are thousands of acres of unpicked corn in the bottoms around my hunting property. This allows the deer to hide in the corn and the only reason they need to leave it is to get a drink. They have all the cover they need and food is everywhere around them. Much of the breeding may have taken place right in the corn fields where the does were living, and we never would have seen it.

 

My second theory has to do with the weather. I started seeing bucks chasing does during a cold snap on the weekend of Oct. 25th. I think the cold weather really got the bucks moving and in the mood. But then after a few days it warmed up again to near 80* temps. This shut down a lot of the activity or moved it until after dark when it was a little cooler. My buck sightings really took a hit after the weather warmed up. Then we had another cold snap, but along with the colder temps came very strong winds. The wind blew for many days in a row without letting up. I believe the deer head for heavy cover during strong winds because their defenses are somewhat useless during windy days. Everything in the woods is moving, making it hard for them to pick out danger with their eyes. Their hearing is not what it would be in a still woods. And they cannot trust their noses with the swirling winds. So where do they go? Back to the corn fields. 

 

I also feel this weather stretched out the breeding longer than it normally would have been, eliminating the frenzied chasing of the peak of the breeding period. Some of the does may have come into estrous during the first cold snap and got bred then. Then a few were still coming in during the warm weather, but most of the chasing and activity was going on at night, when the temps. were cooler and more comfortable for the does. Then another round of does came into heat during the second cold snap, but since it was so windy those days, most of the activity took place in very thick cover or in the standing corn.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I did see rut activity. Just not the kind I am used to seeing in that area. This year there would be one buck chasing a doe or a small buck in the food plot checking them out by himself. Heck I would even see does in the food plots for long periods of time without a buck even coming to check them out. There is usually a few days where the deer are running around all day long chasing and breeding, and packs of bucks chasing the hot does. I hunted a lot of days the past few weeks and it just did not happen.

 

Bowhunting Pine Ridge Archery Style

by Todd Graf 12. November 2008 15:06
Todd Graf

I recently had the opportunity to spend 6 days with Jim Broberg, owner of Pine Ridge Archery, and several of his family members and friends at their home in Jo Daviess County, IL. All I can say is WOW, what a great time! Jim's wife prepared a outstanding meals for everyone after some long days on stand and I can't thank her enough for the hospitality. Marie is totally organized and the meals were fantastic - nobody went hungry, that's for sure.

The first three days of hunting were tough as the warm weather set in during the beginning of the rut. I decided after not seeing much activity those first few days that I would head home for awhile and wait until some colder weather to move in before heading back out.  Sure enough, after going home for 3 days colder weather finally moved in and I was back and ready for action.

 
Our bows and arrows were ready to perform, but were we??

 
Here is some of the great food prepared by Marie, we were fed very well!!

 
Ron and his son David Bakken talking deer hunting. David just got back from the Campbell Outdoor Challenge where Team Pine Ridge took 2nd place with the largest archery harvest ever filmed in the history of the event.  Watch for them on Versus starting in January 2009, you won't want to miss this! 

 
Brian Bychowski and Arnie getting back from a hunt talking about what was seen and already working on a plan where to hunt the next morning.

 
Jim and his daughter Kristen. Guys let me tell you -  this girl can hunt! I have to say I had a blast with her & Scott tracking the buck that I shot on the last night out. (I am saving that story for a few days - I will post soon)

I had to save the best for last - here is a photo of Scott's new outfit that he plans of wearing to pick up chicks! :) - Of course I am kidding.

Over the course of the week we managed to harvest two does and 1 buck despite the adverse weather conditions. We had many sightings of good bucks and some really close encoutners but just couldn't quite pull it together. All of us had a great time.  The rut is still in full swing here in Illinois so if you can get out in the woods now is the time! 

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