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The Back 40

Target acquired

Fri, November 16, 2012

I first met this buck via trail camera video in late August of this year.  He was traveling with another good sized 8-point, another real nice up-and-coming young 8-point, and a basket rack.  After adding a couple more trail cameras to the area, I pretty much figured out his whereabouts and his bedding area. 

As is the case with most bucks, he broke loose from his bachelor group and the search was on again.  Two weeks later I found him again.  Still on my property, but nowhere near his initial area.  Then he went dark.  Nothing.  No sightings.  No more trail camera videos.  I thought he may have moved to another farm.

Not that this is a monster buck, but I kept quiet about him.  When you only have one small farm to hunt, you’re always best keeping your information to yourself as opportunities and bucks are very limited. 

Recently my farm started getting torn up.  Rubs and scrapes everywhere in one small area.  Not big scrapes, but more than usual.  I had a feeling that whomever was making these scrapes didn’t spend much time at each one, but was making a statement. 

On the afternoon of November12th, I bugged out of work early to hit the timber.  The wind was perfect for this stand, assuming he’d come from where I thought he would.  He did.  He followed the game plan perfectly, which is what you need for a mature animal.  No mistakes…not on your part anyway. 

I parked my truck in a different location, but entered the woods from the same trail.  I had a good feeling in the stand.  The temperature had dropped and the barometer was on the rise, even though the wind was from the southwest. 

After about an hour on stand, I first caught movement about 100+ yards away coming from the south.  At first sight, I thought it was a good sized doe.  Then I saw rack.  As he closed the distance, I started seeing more rack.  At about 40-50 yards, he went from a decent buck to a shooter. 

Though he was headed my way, he still had to make a right turn up a particular trail in order for me to get a shot.  There were actually two trails he could have taken to his right.  One would put him in line for a 19 yard shot, the other a 30 yard shot.  As luck would have it, he chose the 30 yard trail, but at least he made that all-important right turn.  As he entered a small shooting lane, I stopped him, already at full draw.  Thwack!  Heart shot!  I’ve never seen so much blood at a hit sight.  He made a short, heart-shot-crazy-run…Maybe 30 yards at best, stopped, dropped and rolled.  I thought it was all over in less than 10 seconds.  I immediately went for my phone to call my wife when I heard him get back up.  That “oh no” feeling hit me.  Only briefly though.  He made another crazy-drunken 20 yard dash and piled up.  When I climbed out of my stand to inspect the hit area and look for my arrow, I couldn’t believe the amount of blood.  I’ve shot a lot of deer, some in the heart, but I’ve never seen a mess like this before.  To an anti the scene would have been gross and disheartening, but to a hunter, it’s a sign not only of success, but of a quick kill. 

Though he’s not a monster, I’m pretty proud of this buck.  He’s one that I’ve been after.  I put together a game plan and it worked.  This has been a tough early season for me.  I went 19 straight hunts without ever seeing a deer, so to meet up with this guy was pretty special.  The stand I was in was set up a couple weeks before the archery season opened specifically for this buck.  I was more than happy when it paid off.  On a side note, on my very next hunt, Nov. 14th (different stand), I met up with his old travel partner, the big 8.  135”-140” with a massive body.  Going by the size of his body and his beer belly, I believe him to be every bit of 5-1/2 years old.  Not a very good rack for his age.  He was walking the edge of one of my alfalfa fields and I was perched in a ladder stand 35 yards in the timber.  I called to him and brought him right through the hole in the fence.  Just before drawing on him, I decided he would really make one of my kids happy.  So he got a pass.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post another story soon with one of my kids sitting behind this tank of a deer.  Afterall, isn’t that what hunting is all about?  Don’t get me wrong, I love shooting deer, especially big deer, but it’s so much better when one of your kids does it. 

John Soehn

*Thanks to Marc Anthony for donating a Whitetail shoulder mount to my Saddle Up For St. Jude auction…twice.  I bought one of his donations so this buck is now in the capable hands of Look Alive Taxidermy. 


Congrats.  Pictures?

Posted by mossyoak on November 16

Sorry.  I had originally loaded the pics but they were HUGE.  I deleted them and re-added.  The first two are stills from trail camera video.

Posted by Treehugger on November 16

Great buck!  Makes it even better when its your target deer. Congrats.

Posted by jcurri on November 16

Way to go John!  That’s a fine animal!

Posted by Andy Meador on November 17

Congrats Jonn- That is awesome.

Posted by Mallardmike on November 19

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