16. March 2009 09:32
Summer 2007 while glassing a bean field I located a nice bachelor group of bucks using a drainage ditch as a travel corridor to exit a swamp that they were using as bedding cover. I didn't have my digital camera with me that day so I went back the next three nights hoping to see them repeat their movements through the ditch. The third night was a success and they made an appearance before night fall. Even with my camera tapped out to it's 10X optical zoom maximum, it just wasn't enough to really see what the bucks were packing. I could tell they were all good bucks and I could see the ones left and right side didn't match. Curiosity was getting to me, I really wanted to know what these guys were packing.
The buck all the way to the left is the "Tank".
Soon after I formulated a plan and set a game camera up to take advantage of this travel pattern they were using. The mission was a success, as I got many photos of each of the bucks. When checking the memory card for the first time my buddy says, "Man that bucks body is a tank!" From there on, he was known as the Tank. He featured a solid typical four points on his right and an odd shaped three point main frame and a kicker on his left.
The Tank in full velvet. Impressive neck and body size for August.
We are now almost into hard antler, a cool photo showing him shedding his velvet.
Finally, hard antler.
Even though he wasn't on my "hit list", I never did see him during hunting season and did not get any more trail camera photos of him once our archery season opened the first Saturday of October. So many times over the years hunting season closes and I have high aspirations to find the sheds of some of the better bucks I located over the previous summer / fall. Sometimes I am lucky enough to locate some of their bone, but most times they just seem to have disappeared. I did find the right side of the biggest buck of this bachelor group last winter, but found nothing of the tank or the "Tall Ten".
While walking a very nasty multi flora thicket today I could see a solid four point side 30-35 yards ahead.... Five minutes later I finally wrestled my way over through the green briar and I immediately recognized the remains as the Tank. I examined the skeletal remains as best I could for a clue to his death but I couldn't find anything to convince me of what happened. It really is bitter sweet finding the remains of a whitetail you have history with. I had always hoped he just moved on to another area, but this just wasn't the case.
Closure has been found on the Tank and the case is now officially closed. I always had a soft spot for this buck because I shot a buck here in 2003 that had similar non-typical growth on his right side (pictured below).