2013 Bow Buck

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2013 Bow Buck

Post  wihunter24 on Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:14 pm

I wish there was some elaborate story to this deer, but it was simply being in the right place at the right time and a very bittersweet ending.  This will be more rambling than it needs to be, but oh well......

I first encountered this deer last year in the fall of 2012.  I had a couple pictures of him earlier in the year on the northern end of my parents farm, but never laid eyes on him until I was on vacation in late October and he followed a couple does past my stand one morning on the complete opposite end of the farm.   He was a nice buck then, but I had my heart set on several others that were running around, so I elected to pass.  I continued to get pictures of him on the south end of the farm into late January when I finally pulled my cameras.   I figured if he could make it through the remaining winter months, he'd be a stud this year at 4 years old.



The spring months of 2013 yielded a couple shed antlers for me, but nothing belonging to this buck.  Like the last several years, shed hunting season transitioned into turkey season and then foodplots and then a very busy work season.  This year was busier than normal at work due to us buying out the competetion and the whole merger situation.  I was beyond stressed and ready to quit and tell my boss to pound sand several times.  To add to that, it was a ridiculously slow velvet season and then we got caught in a drought.  It was August, and although I had a couple decent bucks (and only 1 "big" one) located, I couldn't develop any sort of pattern and / or gameplan.  I'd get pictures for 7-10 days and then my farm would be a ghost town for 2 weeks.  I was getting desperate to find a good buck when my best friend suggested I put out a mineral block in front of a camera that I had on the northern end of the farm.  I was reluctant because I pride myself on being able to locate good deer naturally and not have "bait" camera locations just to get pictures.  After a week of pressure from my friend, I relented and put out a mineral block.  When I checked the camera 10 days later it was loaded with pictures, including several good bucks, one of which was this buck.  However, once again there was no consistency in any deer's pattern and I was left guessing. 



For the first time in a long time I went into bow season without a gameplan at all and a very limited hitlist of bucks.  To say this was the toughest and slowest bow season I've ever had, is an understatement.  I hunted every chance I could and was lucky if I even saw a 2 yr old buck.  I had several bears move onto the farm and when they weren't knocking down corn, destroying 2 of my ground blinds, eating my seats, knocking down my cameras or bending fence posts I think they were really negatively affecting deer movement.  Late October and early November came and went with the rut being pretty much non-existant.  Sure, I saw some rut activity but it was all little bucks. Going into this weekend, I'd only seen 1 buck that I would have shot and my confidence was not overly high as gun season opens next weekend.

Saturday morning dawned overcast and rainy with fairly strong winds.  I felt more like a human kite than a bowhunter.  After a relatively uneventful morning hunt, I went and checked my trail cameras and moved a couple to what I felt were better locations.  I drove the ATV down an old logging road and parked when I got within 50 yards of one of my cameras that I planned on moving.  I walked up the camera, switched cards and then realized I'd left my scissors sitting on the ATV seat (the camera was zip tied to a tree).  I retrieved the scissors, cut the camera loose and went to move it.  I got it set up about 100 yards away and was on my way back to the ATV when I looked downhill and saw branches moving and a flash of antler about 35 yards from the original camera position.  I figured I'd just gotten lucky and a nice buck had walked out of the overgrown CRP field and was in the process of making a rub / scrape.  I could see it was a decent buck but didn't have binoculars or my bow with me, so I leaned against the tree and enjoyed the show.  After several minutes, something just didn't seem right.  The buck was 80 yards away and it appeared to be tangled up in something.  I was very confused as there wasn't a barb wire fence anywhere within 400 yards of where I was.  I got a little closer then he started blowing like he smelled me, but he didn't run away.  I thought "what the hell is going on here?".  I got within 45 yards and the buck was looking over his shoulder at me with a look of dispair.  I then saw what the issue was.  He was wounded and paralyzed in the entire back half of his body and couldn't move.  I walked to the ATV, called my dad and told him to meet me at the house ASAP as we had an emergency on our hands.  After relaying the story, we both returned 20 minutes later with bows in hand.  Dad went one way and I went another and the plan was whoever had the first clear shot was going to take it.  Dad wasn't sure of the deer's exact location and as a result I got into position first.  I made it to within 10 yards and the deer seemed to know it was over.  He was trying to run but couldn't and after a brief glance at me, just laid down and put his head down.  I quickly put an arrow in him and ended his misery and suffering.

A closer examination revealed some sort of wound in his spine about 8" behind the last rib.  It had some puss and was a little swollen, but wasn't scabbed over.  The hole looked somewhat triangular so I was thinking someone was trespassing and spined him with a 3 blade broadhead.  However, there was no broadhead or arrow to be found.  He was 100 yards off a rural gravel road and I'm starting to think that someone may have taken a shot with a small caliber gun like a .22.  Or there's the possibility of him getting into a fight with another buck and getting gored?  There was an area of bare dirt about 50 yards away from where I shot him that was covered in deer crap, which would suggest he'd been there for several days.  After skinning him out, I still couldn't find a broadhead, bullet or anything.  I honestly have no idea what happened to him.  

It could have been a spike and I would have done the same thing and happily put my tag on him.  This was a buck I had some history with and one I wanted to take, but didn't want to have to do it this way. No No No  I'm just glad I was able to end his pain and suffering before he got ate alive by coyotes.  He's the kind of buck you want to take - a massive beamed 4 yr old 9pt with a 17 1/2" spread, but definetly not under these circumstances.



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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  DMW97 on Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:32 pm

Congrats, Heck of a deer!!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  buckeyehunter on Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:00 pm

Congrats on a great buck, Zack!! Probably not the way you'd expected to get your first buck of the year but at least you ended up with him and like ya said hate to see him ate alive and just left to rot.

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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  soil on Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:04 pm

Love the mass on the beams. Congrats!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  Mountainman Vic on Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:08 pm

Congrats on a heck of a buck Zack. There's no shame in putting a tag on a deer like that. It will be a memorable hunt for sure and thought it's not the way we typically do it, it sounds like a great experience. I can't believe he'd have been there for very long with out turning to coyote food.

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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  shedder on Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:50 pm

Amazing read and great buck!  Congrats!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  bow_dad on Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:19 pm

Great buck,  after all the history with him it will be great to give him a place on the wall, no matter how he got there.  Congratulations on a heck of a buck.Cool
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  bowGal on Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:15 am

Great buck  Zack,  story and photo's  and  thumb's up- bud for   doing what was right   putting that  buck out of his misery,    That is a beautiful buck!


Last edited by bowGal on Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  impactarcher on Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:53 am

Wild story Zach!  Beautiful buck!

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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  OH Arrow Flinger on Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:55 am

That is a heck of a deer buddy!!! Glad you ran across him and were able to put him out of his misery.
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  Godfather on Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:41 am

impactarcher wrote:Wild story Zach!  Beautiful buck!
X2!!! Congrats!!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  MEhunter on Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:44 am

Awesome buck! Congrats

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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  Willy on Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:27 pm

Great story Zach, and some super pictures. Congratulations on another awesome buck!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  lungbuster on Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:25 pm

Awesome buck and a great story! I know it's not the way anyone wants it to happen, but I'm so glad you were there to end his misery. Hats off to you! Congrats
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  Maniac Outdoors on Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:36 pm

What a Great buck and story Zack cheers  And next time you send me a pic with a bloody arrow tell me at least what you shot, sitting waiting on a damn her pic! lol!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  BuckRubIL on Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:46 pm

Great buck Zack, you did the right thing! Congrats...
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  BBinPA on Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:03 pm

Great buck, congrats!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  wihunter24 on Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:19 pm

Mountainman Vic wrote:Congrats on a heck of a buck Zack. There's no shame in putting a tag on a deer like that. It will be a memorable hunt for sure and thought it's not the way we typically do it, it sounds like a great experience. I can't believe he'd have been there for very long with out turning to coyote food.
I'm thinking he was there at least a couple days due to the amount of disturbance and deer crap in the area.  Not to mention how run down his body was- lots of extra hide around his shoulder area, skinny neck and his hind end was also pretty thin.  There were thin spots of hair around his back hips / butt and the skin was very calloused and leathery in spots.  But bottom line is, he's not suffering any more and being eaten alive.

Harry- I thought I sent I sent you a text saying I shot a deer.....lol!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  TheCReW on Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:02 am

Congrats on a great buck! Glad you were able to tag him.

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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  Hoosiernavy on Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:58 am

Great Buck Zach, was able to see the pictures while up in Indiana, Great write up and history with him.
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  Boss Gobbler on Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:57 pm

Awesome Buck man! Its always nice to close to book on a buck you have history with.
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  lungbuster on Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:42 am

Awesome buck! Way to get it done!
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Re: 2013 Bow Buck

Post  AlexHastings on Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:56 am

Congrats on a great buck, maybe not the way you wanted to harvest him but you did the right thing.
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