I got up this morning and really didn't want to hunt with forecasted winds in the 20-30 mph range, rain, and temps in the 50's. It is always been the tradition to hunt Thanksgiving day so I dragged myself to some state land I have been hunting pretty regular. Got there before 6: 00a.m. and there were already guys in the woods with sunrise being 7:14.
I'm not a big fan of gun season and after spending 58 hrs. in stands during bow; not seeing much, and only having shot opportunities on small ones I was not very optimistic.
I have scouted this area a lot and hunted it enough to know there are deer here. I was also pretty sure I had their travel routes figured out despite all the pressure they have been getting and from hunters, hikers etc.
I decided to leave the climber in the truck and hunt from the ground. The last thing I wanted to do was to sit in a tree in 30 mph winds. I got in by 6:45 and am thinking to myself what the hell am I doing hunting on a day like this. The wind blew for about an hour and then it started to rain, Shots started ringing out between 6:50 and 7:00 with sunrise @ 7:14.
Finally at 7:20 things quiet down. I started thinking about Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays and how dismal it will be without the loved ones I have lost in the past year or so and miss dearly, not being able to celebrate with family members because of all the covid business, how messed up the world has become, and how much worse it can get in the future.
After being there a short time the wind died down and now I am wishing I had my climber. Oh well I'll just stick it out for a couple of hours, go home and chalk it up as another day of deer hunting. At 7:40 this guy comes down one of the travel routes. He stops turns his head, and I can see how his rack is not symmetrical. Thinking to myself that he needed to be removed from the gene pool I took the shot. After eating my tags last year I didn't want a repeat performance this year, While I was hoping for a trophy I really did not want to take my chances like last year and end up empty handed.
After the shot he takes off and shows no indication of being hit whatsoever and I think to myself WTF. I wait for ½ hr. and knew I had to at least go check to be certain. I get to where he stood and it starts pouring rain. My day is only getting better. After looking pretty hard and not seeing any hair or blood I am thinking a miss for sure. Just when I am about to kick myself even harder for missing; I spot some blood but there isn't much so worse yet I only wounded him. The rain gets worse and there is only blood here and there. I followed it the best I could and finally had to start leaving markers so I could back track to try to pick it up again. After about 40 yards the blood is getting harder and harder to find. I look down through the woods and I see the white belly in a section of brush about 60 yards from the shot. Come to find out it was a decent shot and all the blood was confined in the chest. Both lungs were destroyed but the heart was not damaged at all.
The drag was long but luckily mostly downhill. By the GPS it was just a little over 3 tenths of a mile. Dressed weight is 129 lbs. He has a broken tine from fighting on the right side and one sticker that wasn't an inch so on the tag he is recorded as a 5 point.
Not as nice as most of the bucks taken here, not my biggest or best; but gave me something to be thankful for in these trying times; and happy I won't be eating all my tags this year.
A state land buck on Thanksgiving day. Mossberg 9200 semi-auto 12 gauge/federal sabot slug.