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The buck the Jumped in the River

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The buck the Jumped in the River

Old 01-29-2008, 09:58 PM
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ReneWCadene's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 13
Default The buck the Jumped in the River

Here is a story I wrote a few years back.

I have lived in Northwestern Ontario most of my life and have been an avid outdoorsman as long as I can remember. My passion for the outdoors was passed on to me from my father Rene Sr. and grandfather Ralph Showalter. Big game hunting was not something I got into until recently as I was content to hunt upland and migratory game birds. That was until I harvested my first whitetailed deer, a fine 8 point buck on Nov 4, 2001. I’m not sure what happened but since then I have not hunted migratory game and only occasionally take grouse. Now I hunt black bear, moose and deer in Ontario and have started to hunt a bit outside the province as well. My favourite hunting is without a doubt chasing the elusive whitetailed deer. A whitetail’s survival instinct is well honed; a mature buck rarely makes any mistakes outside of the rut. To harvest a mature buck is an accomplishment no matter what the size. I don’t consider myself a highly skilled hunter, but I am learning. What I don’t bring to the table in hunter prowess I make up for in time and effort. I love the challenges that harvesting one of these majestic animals presents. I enjoy the friendships I have made as a result of hunting and all the little things you learn from hunting which forces you to really look around you and see, reflect, ponder and dream. I have been hunting northwest of Thunder Bay every year since 2001 and have harvested decent bucks there 3 out of four years. I also hunt in the Rainey River and Kenora districts and last fall hunted and scouted a bit in the Dryden area. One thing that all these areas have in common is vast acreages of crown land, which have deer populations in varying degrees. These deer are big bodied and have the potential to grow massive headgear. With deer expanding their range and numbers in the northwest I think there will be a good number of record book deer taken here in the next decade. In 2003, I came into the November deer hunting season with high hopes. I hunted around Kenora during the muzzleloader season and passed on some nice bucks; some in the 140 range, I didn’t want to burn my one and only buck tag yet. I still had the entire rifle season and that included the rut. November saw me back in familiar territory west of Thunder Bay. I hunted for 7 straight days and only saw 6-7 deer. Only two of those were bucks; a spike and a small 6 pointer. My hunting wasn’t done however, I was off to Manitoba for my first out of province whitetail hunt with Cam and Leroy White from Winnipeg. I met Cam on an internet hunting forum. Cam and Leroy know their hunting and have harvested many fine animals. I harvested a small 8 pointer on the last day about 10 minutes before dark. It was only the 3rd buck I’d seen that I could have harvested cleanly and I wanted a "Manitoba deer". In hindsight I should have chosen a doe.

To this point I was still hopeful for a trophy but I was beginning to realize that the big bucks you see in magazines and hear stories about are not that common. I really wanted to have a buck worthy of a wall mount. After the Manitoba hunt I headed straight home to Marathon, my wife Deb had enough of the hunting and wanted me to start spending some time at home. I started to catch up on neglected duties and chores but where I really wanted to be was back in the whitetail woods. Deb could see that I was itching to do some more hunting and after a few days told me to "go get a booner". It was now getting on in the season, the rut winding down and the days getting noticeably colder and shorter. I chose to spend what little hunting time I had left back in familiar territory west of Thunder Bay. I drive out about two hours before dark from my Mom’s house each day and return well after dark. This is becoming a ritual with me. On the first day out I saw a decent buck at high noon while I was heading back to my truck and he busted me and bounded away. That evening I saw my first real trophy buck just before dark about 300-400 yards away in thick brush, he had what looked to be a 6x6 mainframe in my binoculars. I knew the area from many previous still hunts and set up a stand in a funnel between two large cutover areas. The next day, Nov 23rd, I hunted the clear cut nearby in the morning watching a large area and penetrating the woods as best I could with binoculars. It wasn’t long before a doe in heat came by with her tail straight out and twitching. Soon after I heard a buck grunting continuously downwind of her but he would not break the cover and security of the bush line. The doe eventually followed. He grunted continuously for about 15 minutes without pause and very loudly with a low guttural almost urgent need. I stayed put 250 yards away for a few more hours and then decided to go set up a stand. After 2-3 hours of putting in tree steps and setting up the stand I was ready for lunch. I wasn’t going to use the stand that night and would wait for the right wind anyway. Little did I know that my season was soon going to end.

I decided that I would drive toward Thunder Bay and have a bite to eat on the highway. I am always looking and scanning and taking my time even when I’m driving my vehicle. You just never know when or where you might see deer. While I was still on logging roads still a long way from the highway I came over a rise in the road and there was a huge buck in the middle of the road. It was about 11:30 am. I immediately came to a stop and started to fumble for my rifle and clip. The first thing that went through my mind was that he was a good sized ten pointer. A few flicks of the tail and a lick of the lips and the buck was into dense old growth in two bounds. I decided to follow him. After about half an hour of floundering in the thick bush and even trying some calling I found my way back to the road and my truck. Sitting in the truck I thought about going for lunch, figuring this deer is gone. I kind of mumbled to myself "Damn it I know the where-abouts of two big bucks, I’m not taking a break till I get one". With new determination I drove back down the road and parked by a hydro line about 3/4 of a mile from where I first spotted the buck. I decided to walk down it, if that buck was still heading in the same general direction he may be around somewhere and cross the hydro line. I stopped periodically to listen and made a few calls. I tried a few doe bleats. I heard some rustling and movement and immediately tensed up. After about 45 minutes I ended up at a high ridge overlooking the Dog river. I had never been there before and found I had a great view of the far side of the river and the valley stretching out below me. I sat on a rock to relax for a bit. I wasn’t thinking about the buck I had seen almost two hours previously. After a while I decided to make one grunt call. Just after the call I heard a loud splash almost directly below me but couldn’t see what made the noise. Then there he was, a large 10 point buck that I didn’t need binoculars to identify. The brute was swimming to the opposite side of the river, the perfect defense, but not against a man with a rifle. I took some deep breaths and broke some branches off tag alders and willows that may deflect a shot. I would nail him as soon as he set foot on solid ground. I couldn’t give him any more room because thick bush was only one leap away from the shore. I watched him through the scope as he cut across the water effortlessly. Once he got to shallow water he wriggled his body like a mangy dog. I’ll never forget the image of his rack whipping back and forth during this awesome display. Meanwhile, I was about 150 yards from my target taking a standing shot with no rest. My 30-06 Remington 700 Sporter shooting my 165gr Hornady SST hand loads is a very comfortable and steady gun and would soon prove it’s accuracy. As soon as the buck got his footing on shore he presented me with a perfect broadside shot and I fired. He ran along the bank and I fired two more quick shots. He stood still with his head bowed. He was quartering away and I let my breath out slow and fired my last round. He stood there unmoving. I watched for 30 seconds or so though it felt like 10 minutes and he was still standing there so I fumbled in my pockets and realized I was out of shells. So I left the deer and ran back down the hydro line to my truck to get more shells. I jogged all the way there, remembered to grab my GPS and ran back. It was just under one kilometre each way. When I got back to the high ridge I couldn’t see the buck. I looked around all the while my heart started to race as thoughts of losing this buck crept into my head. Using the binoculars I saw a bit of antler, and what looked like deer hide. He was down, I let out a loud whoop. I knew I had my wall mount. Now the fun part was navigating the roads with my GPS so that I could get to the deer on the other side. After driving about 15-20 km I finally got to a point on the other side of the river closest to where I believed the buck should be. I walked in and to my amazement I walked right up on my buck with the aid from the satellites above. I held the rack in my hands and patted the deer and smiled. I was thankful. I knew I had to get field shots and I was alone so I went back to the truck and drove up the road to where I heard chainsaws and heavy equipment. I managed to locate a local logger who was more than happy to hop in my truck and walk through the bush to my deer. Once there he said the buck was the biggest he had ever seen. He snapped about ten pictures of me on the riverbank and said his farewells leaving me to the task of field dressing this huge bodied deer. I had to take the deer out in quarters and was at it until dark. I vowed then that I must learn how to de-bone properly. I’m guessing the deer weighed 260-280lbs and was heavier earlier in the season. The rack grosses a bit over 174 3/8 and net’s 168 5/8. It is a big buck and I was lucky to connect. In 2004 I harvested a nice tall tined 8 pointer about 5 miles from where I got the big guy. I mounted him since I find him to be a gorgeous buck too. He came in to a single grunt on a morning still hunt.

I love hunting Ontario deer. I love the northern woods. I am thankful to my parents and grandparents for giving me the opportunity to explore and learn in the northern forests. I just wish my grandfather was around to share in these special moments.

By Rene W Cadene 2005 [/align]
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:53 PM
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Default RE: The buck the Jumped in the River

great story rene,
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