johnplav

My 2020 Buck

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I figured I would end the season properly with a full success story... Enjoy!

With a baby on the way, then a newborn, and work that is heavily impacted (busier, more stressful) by the pandemic, hunts were certainly limited this year.  I still got out for some hunts, but they were only for an hour or two at a time.  October came and went, and I saw some deer but never sealed the deal. 

My son was born on November 6th, and after a Friday and Saturday in the hospital, I was able to sneak down to my property to check cameras and see that just like in past years, the big bucks were moving in daylight.  I also got pictures and video of a big new 8 point.  He was on 3 cameras on the property, two days in a row.  

I got a nice early start on Saturday November 14th.  It was a beautiful November morning, a little warmer than normal, about 36 degrees.  I was in a stand on the top of a small ridge, facing West, the direction that bucks normally approach, and there was a slight wind in my face, perfect for this stand.   

About an hour into the hunt I heard leaves crunching behind me, and I suspected squirrel, but then they really started sounding like footsteps.  He busted out of a treeline about 60 yards away, behind me, but a little to the North, so he couldn’t smell me.  I could tell it was a nice deer, it looked like a small bodied deer with a big, wide rack.  I knew if he gave me a shot, I was taking it.  As soon as he left the treeline, he ran to within 30 yards and stopped to my right, slightly downhill.  He was undecided on which way to go at that point.  He started walking directly away from me, then stopped, spun around, and started back in the direction that he came.  Luckily, he paused, turned again, made up his mind, and started walking on a path that angled toward my stand.  As he got closer, and passed behind a tree I shifted in my stand and took the safety off my crossbow.  He was at a fork in the trail that would’ve led him right in front of me (broadside at under 10 yards), or away from me at a sharp angle.  I didn’t want to roll the dice and let him head away.  He was stopped downhill from me, looking in my direction and slightly quartered-to at 25 yards.  Aiming a few inches behind his left shoulder, and about 2/3 up his body, I squeezed the trigger.  He kicked his back legs up so high he almost flipped over and sprinted over the ridge.  It was a quiet morning, and as soon as he left my sight, the loud crunching of leaves stopped. 

I waited a few minutes for my hunting partner to come over.  It turns out the deer had walked under his stand on its way to me.  He didn’t have a clear shot, but he got a good look at the rack.  His first words to me were “You are the luckiest guy I know… that’s a huge buck”.   We quietly checked the arrow and saw great blood.  I pointed in the direction that I saw him go, and as I started to say “Let’s give him some time”… We saw him, only 30 yards away.  He was bedded down, facing away from us, with his head up.  As we debated either waiting it out, or sneaking around to take a second shot at him, we heard a loud crash.  His head dropped down and he was done. 

As we walked up to him, we saw he was a big deer, with an even bigger rack.  I had just killed my best buck yet.  Quickly, cleanly, and almost stress-free, it was done, and the hard part was about to begin.  We dragged him halfway out, and decided to finish the rest using the jet sled, which was grossly undersized for him.  He weighed 205lbs and had 9 points.  The 9th point was small and on the inside of his right side.  Turns out he was the “new big 8 point” that just started showing up on my cameras.   

Examining the shot, I had hit a little bit further back than I intended, maybe because I misjudged his size, or maybe I pulled the shot a bit.  And luckily, he was not quartered-to by very much.  I used a Rage extreme 4 blade, which is a hybrid broadhead.  It functioned perfectly, taking out his left lung and just about cutting his liver in half.  I was excited about the timing, because I knew there was cool weather in the forecast, and I’d be able to hang the meat to age it. 

Since I knew he was my biggest buck yet, I decided to get a shoulder mount done.  I caped him out, and reached out to @WNY Bowhunter.  I was pumped when he told me he could do it, and I met up with him the next day.  It was great to meet him, see his shop, and even learn a little about the taxidermy process. (And see a few other member’s impressive racks).  Jason gross scored the buck at 139 5/8 inches, which as expected, beat my former personal best, a wide 8 point, by almost 30 inches. 

This year will be memorable for a lot of good and bad reasons, but I certainly can’t complain about my deer season.  We still had a decent amount venison from last year’s great season, and were able to add another doe to the freezer.  So even though my deer sightings were down, and my hunts were limited… to have my first son born and to take my biggest buck within 8 days of each other led to a truly incredible 2020 season.

 

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Edited by johnplav
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Wow hes waaaaaaay bigger than his trail cam pics look! Congrats!

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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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Great buck and a great memory

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"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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21 minutes ago, The_Real_TCIII said:

Wow hes waaaaaaay bigger than his trail cam pics look! Congrats!

I know.  I didn't think it was the same buck at first.  It also makes me wonder how big some of the others are that I have pics of.  I'm not a very good judge of buck size... basically just "small", "shooter" and "monster".  

I have a few pics of bucks from other seasons that I think are bigger than the one I got this year.

(I also have a camera on a property I never got a chance to hunt this year... Ill be checking soon... I'm curious/afraid of what it will show.)

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2 minutes ago, johnplav said:

I know.  I didn't think it was the same buck at first.  It also makes me wonder how big some of the others are that I have pics of.  I'm not a very good judge of buck size... basically just "small", "shooter" and "monster".  

I have a few pics of bucks from other seasons that I think are bigger than the one I got this year.

(I also have a camera on a property I never got a chance to hunt this year... Ill be checking soon... I'm curious/afraid of what it will show.)

I classify them as "small" "beetle buck" or "wall hanger". Theyre all shooters lol 

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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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2 minutes ago, The_Real_TCIII said:

I classify them as "small" "beetle buck" or "wall hanger". Theyre all shooters lol 

Touche

I've been known to blur the line between small and shooter as well 

Edited by johnplav

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He was a beauty!!!

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"I'm not from New York. I'm a REDNECK from Western New York!!!"

"It's not a passion. It's an obsession!!!" - Mossy Oak

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What a Stud! the bucks not that bad either. Lol

Congratulations! 2020 is a year to remember for positive reasons

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Great story and what a great buck!! Congratulations again!! What a year for you!!

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Great story and great buck....You will be able to tell your son down the road - yea you were born the year I shot that great buck over there on the wall.

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1 minute ago, Fletch said:

Great story and great buck....You will be able to tell your son down the road - yea you were born the year I shot that great buck over there on the wall.

"Son, 2020 was the greatest year of my life.  I shot an absolute slob.   Let me tell you the story ..... Oh yea, you were born too which was cool."

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