Cotty's 2013-14 season

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Yesterday morning I sat at the private property over the annual scrape location. I have a camera over the scrapes and annually this spot livens up during the first two weeks of November. This is also on Jagger's usual travel route. Over the last few years we have gotten pictures of him making a giant loop on a daily basis, mostly at night. He is truly a challenge and in my opinion, almost unkillable. He's not a giant now, but the fact that he's mature and I have such a history with him, I'd love to harvest him.
Here is the first pic we have gotten of him since late July and I was wondering where he had been. I'm not 100% sure this is him, but it sure resembles him. Low-wide rack and sneaky nighttime movement.

So, I hunted the stand over the scrapes yesterday morning. From daybreak until 11:00 I saw a mother and baby and that was it. So, I texted my dad and told him I'd be picking him up soon to relocate a stand at the crack pasture to a more strategic location.

The past few nights we have been witnessing deer coming from about 100 yards west of us and included in that bunch was the 10 point that we have had close encounters with. We arrived at 11:30 and by 1:00 we had successfully moved the buddy stand and did it without disturbing too much.

Here is the view to the north: It is a large flat with bedding all through it and on the other side where it rolls down into a pond. It is basically thick rabbit habitat.
Henry's north.jpg

Here is the view to the West: more of the same that runs into a county road.
henry's west.jpg

Here is the view to the south: some pasture and the owner's house, but the deer just feed around the house like nothing.
henry's south.jpg

Kody and I arrived back at the stand after he got off the bus. we sat down around 3:30. When we approached the stand there were already 3 doe right by it. They ran off, but would be seen later circling around the upper field and out of range as they fed. Around 4:45 we had a 6 point and a 4 point come in together. They put on a little show for us as they matched strength and sparred for a bit. I videoed it, but they were at 60 yards and the phone doesn't zoom so it's hard to see them at all.

After they finished with their pissing match, the 6 walked right in front of us and offered a 20 yard shot. Kody passed as he is wanting a doe or a nice buck for his first compound kill. God bless him because at 13 years old and using a bow for the first time, I would've shot that little feller.
henry's 6pt.jpg

Darkness rolled in and we didn't see anything else, but at least the stand move almost paid off. As of right now, both boys want to go again this evening. Klay, my 11 year old, has been tied up with football practice so he's itching to go. He wants to sit in the tent with my dad and Kody will be in the stand with me.

Part of me really wants more solo time, but I love the fact that my boys want to hunt so I am going to enjoy every moment of it. I'll still get my solo time as well... I just need to be patient.

Total Hours: 31
Hunts with Kody: 6
Hunts with Klay: 3
Solo Hunts: 7
Doe seen: 70 (distorted by "crack" pasture)
Bucks seen: 14
Shooters seen: 3
Coyotes seen: 0
Fox Seen: 1
Skunked Hunts: 4
Shots Taken: 1 (Kody)
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This is going to sound a little repetitive, but it was another good night at the Crack Pasture... for the most part.

Kody and I sat in the stand while my dad and Klay sat in the tent. Walking in, we jumped 3 doe bedded right by our ladder.

4:30 I receive a text that there is a buck down by Klay. I look over my left shoulder and standing directly between him and us is a beautiful chocolate horned 10 point that made me say "oh yeah". He was a definite shooter for all of us. He stood frozen for about 5 minutes just looking around. All of a sudden I see him whip his head around to look in Klay's direction. My dad had hit the grunt call and got his attention. He began walking in circles not knowing what to do and then all of sudden turned and bounded back where he came from. Damn...

4:45 Kody I look back down in that direction and see another niuce buck, this time a solid 8 pointer walking from us down to the tent. Where did he come from??? He must've been bedded above Kody and I and snuck past the backdoor into the field. The 8 makes his way behind the tent where Klay can't see him and then disappears. Damn...

5:00 Kody nudges me that a doe is walking to our right. I turn and just see a body behind a briar patch. When the body emerges it's another 8 point! The smallest of the day, but still a good 110" for Kody. He is on a steady walk form our right to left, but it is apparent that he is not going to turn down our way. I tried everything... rattling, gruntin, snort wheezing. All the calls did was stop him briefly and he'd move on. Eventually he snuck out of sight. Damn...

5:20 I get a text. Klay shot and hit a doe at 25 yards. By the time I got everything rounded up and down to them it was about 20 minutes and was dark. Now we have to find blood or an arrow. My dad was unsure of the shot placement because his view was blocked by the tent window frame. We eventually find blood and Klay finds his arrow. I examine the arrow good and see white hair and about 8" of penetration. White hair not good. Penetration not bad.

We start to follow the trail as the coyotes are howling all around us. I kept saying we should back out and wait, but the yotes were telling us we better find her before they do. We follow good blood, then spotty, then good, then spotty for about 300 yards in a straight line. No doubt she was on a sprint thorugh the field. When she approached the woodline she took a hard right down a quad trial through more field. There the blood became scarce and then we lost it. We heard running and decided to back out and wait until the morning. There was nothing else we could do at that point.

My dad went back out with Klay this morning and found nothing else. I was anxiously awaiting the message that they found her, but no luck. So, they gave up the search and he dropped Klay off at school. We are all sick over this. Our only hope is that he only got a little penetration in the brisket and she will survive. However, there was no fat on the arrow to signal a brisket shot. White hair, no fat. I think it will be a mystery that will never be solved.

Klay just kept saying all night that "I don't want to lose my first bow deer". I know buddy, I hate to lose any deer.

Total Hours: 33
Hunts with Kody: 7
Hunts with Klay: 4
Solo Hunts: 7
Doe seen: 74 (distorted by "crack" pasture)
Bucks seen: 17
Shooters seen: 5
Coyotes seen: 0
Fox Seen: 1
Skunked Hunts: 4
Shots Taken: 1 (Kody), 1 (Klay)
Oh so close... again!

Well, this time it was closer. After sitting yesterday morning and not seeing anything in range, I decided to move the stand one more time across the top shelf/field (about 200 yards wide) to where I've been watching deer travel pretty steady. Then, I took yesterday evening off with family stuff going on. I also skipped this morning because of the wind and a hangover. So, around noon I left the house and was settled in the new location by 12:45.

As soon as I sat down I noticed 3 doe to my left (downwind) moving pretty quick out of the area. They didn't run, but moved hot to trot. Not sure if it was me or if a buck was pestering them. No buck showed, but he may have stayed in the thick stuff.

Around 4:30 I'm watching two doe feed to my right about 120 yards off (according to the rangefinder). They have my attention as I'm hoping to see a buck appear. After awhile I look left and here comes a tall tined buck in my direction. The new stand location is nestled back in a finger woodlot about 20 yards. this buck has two options, stay on a trail through the field that will bring him by at 40 yards or make a slight right and move through my shooting lane anywhere from 10-30 yards. Of course, he stays left. He makes his way in front of me and I get a real good look at him. He's a 130"-140" 9 point. That's my best guess, but I'm positive he's at least 130" Not a giant, but a solid buck with nice brows.

After confirming that he's a shooter, he stops under an oak and starts pawing the ground like he wants to make a scrape. I hit him with the range finder... 45 yards. As he looks around, oblivious to me, I draw. I try to settle the pins on his vitals, but there is one branch perfectly in the way. "One step..." I think to myself. He takes 3! Too far. Now he's completely blocked by the oak and the hanging branches. He starts to walk dead away from me and I grunt. He looks back and turns to face the way he came. I then catch movement out of the corner of my eye. A doe stands up out of a briar patch and starts walking away from me. I had no idea she was there. He sees her and starts after her. Game over...

I'm shaking, smiling, shaking my head... you know all the emotions you feel when you were so clos and are just enjoying the hunt. I sit down and put a chew in to calm down.

10 minutes later I hear leaves behind me. I peek around the tree and see a body moving in the thicket about 40 yards away. I stand slowly and turn to put the binos on him. Sniffing the ground is a chocolate horned 10 even bigger than the 9 that was just here. In fact, he was much bigger! I can't estimate inches because he never looked my way, but judging his right side, he dwarfed the 9 point. I get the bow ready and watch him. He is starting to sniff his way through the thicket and over the hill. I grunt, no response. Grunt... no response.

A doe appears in the thicket. She walks past at 30 yards offering a great shot. All he has to do is follow her lead. However, he never came out. She walks by and goes down the hill. I assume he hooked back up with her in the woods because I never seen him again. So close!!!

Things really heated up on this farm the last few days. I'll be hitting it again tomorrow evening and all day Tuesday. I'm optimistic to say the least.

Total Hours: 53
Hunts with Kody: 7
Hunts with Klay: 4
Solo Hunts: 11
Doe seen: 90 (distorted by "crack" pasture)
Bucks seen: 22
Shooters seen: 7
Coyotes seen: 2
Fox Seen: 1
Skunked Hunts: 4
Shots Taken: 1 (Kody), 1 (Klay)
Full Draw (no shot): 1 (Klay), 1 (Me)
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Wow! It's been a long time since I updated. Well, in retrospect, it's been a great deer season. My youngest son, Klay, shot his first deer with a compound bow. A very nice mainframe 10 point with a split brow. I was able to harvest a solid 9 point on Saturday of gun week. He was one I passed on a few times and just couldn't do it for a fourth time. Lol

Since gun season I have been dedicating my woods time to either Kody, my oldest son, trying to get him his first compound kill or to Molly, my beagle, out chasing rabbits.

In regard to deer, Kody and I switched our focus to behind our house because we are pinched for time with after school lifting and condition starting for him (football) and me (baseball). During Muzzy season, our hopes escalated a bit as we got a pic of a decent 8 pointer over the hill from the house.

8pointbehind house.jpg

We never saw him while out muzzy hunting and had plenty of chances at doe, but Kody opted to wait.

Lately though, Kody has been losing interest because he was gung-ho for a buck and nothing had been showing up on camera with antlers. Things drastically changed this morning. The corn pile I have been keeping up with is about 200 yards behind my house along a field edge. I set it up so that I could not only monitor it with a camera, but also the binos from the back window. Doe have been visiting like crazy, but no bucks until this morning. We had a two hour delay for school, so I got to watch the pile from my window for awhile this morning. Around 8:00am the 8 point pictured above came out of the woods and started feeding. I hurried down the hall to get Kody to come look. The smile on his face said it all. GAME ON!

I'm hoping this fella makes it a habit now that he found the corn. I freshened up the pile this morning before I left for work and will let it go for another day since we have stuff going on tonight. Friday evening though, we will be out there. It sure would be nice to get Kody a crack at him. He's hunted very hard this year and deserves a chance.
this is an amazing thread to read love the detail! congrats on you and your one son scoring on bucks! and congrats to your son on losing his bow virginity! Hopefully your other son can score that 8! But I can relate to the way he feels, all deer movement by my house has halted for bucks and now only have does and a couple here and their, stupid cold weather, oh well! good luck on the hunt though!