wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

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wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  wihunter24 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:53 pm

This will be longer than it needs to be, but I'll try to condense 3 yrs of history.  


Every year my goal is the same:  shoot a nice buck with a bow and shoot another nice one with rifle / muzzleloader.  I've only been able to accomplish this once.  After tagging out relatively early on a nice buck during bow season, the first part of the goal was taken care of.  Now all I needed was a nice buck to cooperate a little during gun or muzzleloader season that started in late November and continued into early December.  Total, I'd have 9 days with a rifle and 10 days with a muzzleloader to get it done.  During the week leading up to gun season, I had either seen or gotten daylight pics of 5 of my target bucks in daylight hours.  Confidence was high.


I'd first gotten pics of this buck back in the fall of 2012.   He was fairly wide but didn't have a lot of tine length or mass.  I figured he was a 3 yr old with some decent potential for the future, but not one I wanted to shoot that year.  As the season wore on, he became a regular on the cameras.  It seemed like he was everywhere on my farm.  I never acutally laid eyes on him until the night before gun season, when I was out doing some scouting from my truck.  I passed him up during gun season and he made it into the winter where he continued to be a regular on the cameras until he shed his antlers.  The spring turned up no sheds off this buck.  


Fast forward to early fall of 2013, and a familiar face shows up on my camera.  Same wide frame and short brow tines but he'd added a little bit of tine length on his G3's and his body was considerably bigger.  He was on the hitlist going into the 2013 hunting season.  His range really shrunk compared to 2012 and I only had pics of him in and around a 40 acre area on my farm's north end.  I got pictures of him through out the fall on the pretty consistent basis with a fair number of them being in daylight.  It just seemed that between work and other obligations, I couldn't get the time to sit in a stand.  I laid eyes on him once last year and that was during gun season.  He was a long ways away and following after a doe on a steady pace.  He'd snapped off his G3, but all in all, he still looked good and I would have happily shot him if given the chance.  Again he made it through the season and into the winter.  Spring came and I couldn't locate his sheds (or any othe sheds for that matter).


The summer of 2014 rolled around, and with it came pics of several good bucks.  In late August, a familiar face showed up again.  He was in the same area he'd been the year before.  His rack hadn't grown much, if at all and actually might have gotten smaller.  At any rate, I figured he was 5 yrs old this year and there was no way he was going to get a free pass just because his rack wasn't all that great.  I got pictures of him through out bow season but it wasn't consistent.  It was 2 or 3 pics here and there but nothing you'd call a pattern.   I saw him one morning in mid October and then not again until mid November just before gun season started.  Over the course of 5 days I saw him 3 times- each time in the evening about 40 mins before dark and following a doe.


During gun season I saw him twice and had him in range both times.  Just like the days leading up to gun season, it was about 40 mins before dark and he was following a doe.  However, both times that I saw him I couldn't shoot.  The first time was on opening night and he just appeared at 70 yds- no idea where he came from.  Before I could even grab the gun he was walking straight away from me following a doe.  A couple nights later on Thanksgiving, he was a little over 200 yds away following a doe.  He was broadside but either trotting or walking at a steady pace, not to mention I had my neighbor's house and sheds in the background of my scope as well as several of their cars as they were hosting Thanksgiving.  I eventually ran out of daylight with no safe shot being offered.


Gun season ended and muzzleloader season started the very next day.  On Tuesday night my boss called me and asked if I'd work on Wednesday.  I didn't really want to, but said I would after remembering that he and his wife had pretty much bent over backwards for me when it came me quitting my old job and them offering me a new one.  I got done with work about 2:30 and sped home.  After a quick shower and a brisk power walk, I was in a homemade square bale blind that I'd sat on the gun opener and seen this buck out of.  It's on the edge of a picked corn field and about 100 yards away from a small ditch that comes into the corn field and is covered with cedars and big oaks.  It's one of those stupid overlooked spots, but the wind doesn't hit it, and there always deer bedded in there.  I was set up for about 15 minutes when a tiny fawn walked out of this ditch and into the corn field.  It was about 4:15 and she'd been out in the field feeding for a good 30 minutes or so.  All of sudden she turned her head back towards the little ditch she'd come from.  After a couple minutes I saw legs coming under a cedar tree.  A good sized doe popped out and started walking out into the cornfield.  The fawn kept looking back into the ditch, and then I saw another deer coming.  When he got to the edge of the woods, I finally got a good look at him and immediately recognized what deer it was.  I quickly grabbed my muzzleloader, leaned across one of the square bales and settled the crosshairs on him.  As if it was meant to be, he stopped at about 110 yards quartering away.  Next thing I know theres a big clould of smoke and there are deer running everywhere.  After waiting 20 minutes or so, I went to investigate.  No blood, no hair.  Nothing.  At this point, I'm thinking I blew an easy shot.  I set down my backpack as a reference point and walked around the corner of the field / woods towards where I'd seen deer running in an effort to find something that indicated a hit.  Nothing.  I walked back to where he was when I shot and still couldn't find anything.  I walked back to where I'd seen the deer running and I heard footsteps in the crunchy snow.  I looked up and was greeted by a nice wide set of antlers running away from me, tail in the air and looking perfectly fine.  Wonderful.  Just freaking awesome.  My hunting buddies will never let me hear the end of this.  I saw where the buck ran into the woods (maybe 40 yards from where the buck was at when I'd shot), so I went to investigate to see if by some small chance there was blood or hair or anything.  I'm walking back and forth essentially doing a grid search of a small 15 yard area when I happen to look up and to my right.  20 yards away is my deer laying against a tree! cheers  He'd went 60-65 yards.  I smoked him in the heart and the only blood I could find was the little bit that was right next to him when I walked up to him- figure that out?   scratch


He's not the biggest racked deer in the woods, but I'm happy.  3 yrs of history more than made up that, along with the fact that he's my first muzzleloader buck. cheers   He apparently was still in love and thought he was going to get lucky, but the rut is long gone here.  He weighed in at 191 lbs dressed and had an 18" spread.   Yes, I'm well aware that I look like a large basketball.  No, I don't care.  It was 10 degrees with a stiff north wind- sit in that for awhile and see how many clothes you need. lol!


2012





2013





2014







Last edited by wihunter24 on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  soil on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:48 am

Congrats zach!  Crazy how you can hit one so well sometimes and they barely bleed at all
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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  Boss Gobbler on Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:01 am

Congrats Zach! Thats a great buck. That is what it's all about, working hard, watching them grow up and then closing the deal. It doesnt get any better than that.
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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  bowGal on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:29 pm

Boss Gobbler wrote:Congrats Zach! Thats a great buck. That is what it's all about, working hard, watching them grow up and then closing the deal. It doesnt get any better than that.
X's  2,  Way to go Zach,
 LOl  had to Laugh when you said you looked like a big ole basketball I was thinking  you looked more like a big ole pumpkin Wink

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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  wihunter24 on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:36 pm

bowGal wrote:
Boss Gobbler wrote:Congrats Zach! Thats a great buck. That is what it's all about, working hard, watching them grow up and then closing the deal. It doesnt get any better than that.
X's  2,  Way to go Zach,
 LOl  had to Laugh when you said you looked like a big ole basketball I was thinking  you looked more like a big ole pumpkin Wink

I only had about 5 layers of shirts on with a down vest and down jacket over top of that..... lol!  I hate being cold.
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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  TheCReW on Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:19 pm

Congrats! Great buck and the history makes it that much sweeter

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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  BlueID_LDS on Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:31 pm

Awesome story and a great buck. Congrats!
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Re: wihunter24 2014 Muzzleloader Buck

Post  Mountainman Vic on Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:32 pm

I finally got a chance to read your story Zack. Congrats on a great buck buck.

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