Well....its sure as heck not one of the 2 bucks I was after and following an acute case of 'ground shrink' and self butt chewing for being impulsive, I finally got a buck. First one in 5 years but then, I haven't hunted the last four.
So, we(my 8 yo daughter and I) went out last night and caught a bare glimpse of the beast we've seen on the trail cam. He's a sly one, that buck, only ever pausing in front of the camera once. I came out in some tall grass, looked this way and that and trotted off. We had wind on him and were well concealed. Meh, anyhow, we watched a doe later and packed it in at dark.
Well, off to try again this morning, right? Wrong. Flat tire on the truck. NASCAR called, they said my application for pit crew guy has been rejected. It was chilly and having to dig through all the junk to get the tools out set me back. We got on to the ranch right as it became shooting light so we parked and snuck up on my stand. Nothing. We backed out, circled around and set up in a stand of small oaks for a bit, rattled and grunted to no avail.
Hrmmm...well, I have a couple new spots picked out to hunt next season so we went around to the back side of the ranch and crept up into one of those areas. We set up again in the brush, rattled and grunted and nothing bit. I think we got a return grunt once but it was from a direction I was not expecting and he had wind on us. Dang. Oh well, there's always the evening hunt.
So we headed in. From where we were, we had to cross the whole ranch, so I left my gear out in case something popped up. We rounded a little cry creek crossing and came up on one of my dad's tower blinds. I didn't notice him at first because he was standing still looking at us. He moved, started trotting away and I pulled the truck around, looking through the binoculars. He took a few steps and stopped to look again. Does this deer have a deathwish? Apparently. I turned the wheel and eased the truck up some more and he ran a few yards and incredibly stopped again. I got the rifle up and painted him with the cross hairs. He stood there and dared me to pull the trigger. Erm....ok.
Hit him right where I wanted and he went down in a heap. He struggled and got up and took off. My daughter was up in her seat cheering and we sat back to wait on him a bit. I called my wife to let her know we'd be late.
He ended up running about 40 yds is all. I misjudged his direction at first and we spent some time following a dead end. We went back to the blood, turned the other way and he was right there at the edge of the brush.
Well, to be honest, I feel a little dirty. I never 'road' hunt even on my own ranch. Its just not ....right. As recently as yesterday I was talking about my dad doing it on these forums. Had I been watching the buck, I'd have never shot him. He's an 8pt at his ears but not near as big as the others I've been hunting.
That said, with all the other difficulties I've had this season and the long layoff, I was happy to make a solid shot and bring home some meat. I went to great lengths to explain to my daughter that this isn't how we normally do it but with a buck standing there daring me to shoot him, well, I caved. /shrug. Anyhow, here's my hunting buddy with our buck.