Friday, October 21st was just one of those magical feeling days of Autumn. We were at the tail end of a cold front with overcast skies and moderate winds from the SW. I knew the weather could not have been any more perfectly suited for big buck movement. My experiences over the years have taught me that the third week of October in my area to setup on traditional scrape areas and acorns that lie near preferred bedding areas. I had just the place in mind.
I called my long time friend Chuck and we decided to make the 2 hour trek South to some public land strip mines we have hunted for many years. After our arrival, "good lucks" were shared between us and off I set on my 40 minute walk to my stand site. I found this particular setup this past winter scouting, this would be my first hunt in this area and I couldn't wait to get in there.
My hunt did not exactly start as planned though as I was busted by a doe and fawn as I was pulling my Mathews Z7 up to my stand. The wind was blowing hard enough to mask their sound, I never heard them. As bad as it is to get busted... I knew it was a good sign that deer were on their feet three hours before dark. I was anxious to see if I would get any more action.
After the doe and fawn scampered off I was able to get my bow up to my stand.
Hardly an hour had passed and I could see a deer briskly moving my direction across the same scrape line I located last winter. A brief flash of antlers through the foliage confirmed it was a buck. I grabbed my bow and readied for a shot in case it was a good buck, and a good buck he was. I could see mass and lot's of it. At this point I was very thankful for the compact 30" axle to axle length of my Mathews Z7, as the buck stopped just two yards from the base of my tree. I drew back, quickly settled in and off I sent the razor sharp 2-blade BloodRunner tipped arrow toward him. I could see the impact and hear the loud crack of the arrow meeting it's target, the buck whirled around and ran back the same way he came. I was 100% confident in my shot placement, although I could see I did not get a complete passthrough. I could tell the broadhead punched an exit hole though.
I lowered my bow to the ground, then took down and packed up my stand and climbing sticks to help pass time before I went onto the blood trail. With out knowing if there were suitable trees, I would not have had the confidence to hike that deep without my Lone Wolf Assault and sticks. It doesn't matter what kind of trees you happen upon once you reach your destination, the Assault and sticks have always worked perfectly for me. I have yet to find a tree I could not use as my perch with this setup.
Here you can see just how close the buck was to my tree, this is a shot I have practiced many times over the years and it paid off.
Not only was it an excellent blood trail, I could easily see the fresh dirt and leaves he kicked up with each bound. After a few minutes of following the blood trail I could easily see the all white vanes and wrap of my NAP Quikfletch just ahead. I am a huge fan of their ease of use and durability. I will never fletch another arrow again!
I bent over to pick up my arrow only to find out it was only the back half of it, not the whole thing. I then continued on another 50-75 yards and I saw something over across the ravine.... Buck down!
The white belly was the give away, buck down!! He is just above the red foliage in this photo.
I am not going to lie, I abandoned the rest of the blood trail and made a bee line to the buck. Once there I made a discovery, the other half of my arrow! The slightly quartering to shot took out both lungs and the liver. The arrow entered a few inches below the spine and exited the sternum.
I must say, I am extremely proud of this whitetail. This buck looks like an old warrior. Grey face and ears, with white hair speckled all throughout his coat. He field dressed at 186 pounds, although I have to say this buck felt three times that trying to get him out of that strip mine topography though. We spent over two and a half hours dragging him out last night... Although those drags are a lot of exhausting work that can leave some very sore muscles, they make some great memories... I guarantee neither Chuck or I will ever forget it!
The first photo of my 2011 Ohio whitetail!
This photo shows off this bucks nice mass.