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Public land 8pt chasing a doe

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On January 3rd, a friend and I made the trip to one of our favorite WMA's to hunt the rut which was in heating up by the day. Once we had the camp set up, we made plans to make our first hunt the next morning on opening day of the primitive weapons season. We decided to do a morning hunt an area that we had been to before and knew was productive, then scout mid day for fresh sign if we didn't see anything. The morning hunt was a bust and to make things worse, there was heavy hunting pressure in the whole area. We quickly decided that we needed to be in a different location for the afternoon hunt, so we set out right away to do some scouting. The first two areas we scouted turned up nothing promising, but the third spot was looking pretty good, so we decided to split up and find our own specific spots to hunt that afternoon. As I was walking quietly along I noticed a doe browsing on some briars a ways in front of me. She didn't know I was there, but not wanting to risk pushing her and realizing that the deer were already moving, I climbed the first available tree as stealthily as I could. Luckily, the spot I was in had multiple deer trails intersecting with fresh dropping nearby and a very fresh scrape that I had passed about 50 yards before. So, even though I had seemed forced to choose that spot on the fly, I was feeling pretty confident in it. The afternoon hunt went pretty well. I heard deer plowing through the many puddles of water in the area, but due to the thick under story, I couldn't get a good visual on any of them. The deer were definitely in this area though and I was pretty confident that what I was hearing was a buck chasing does through that water. I was fired up for the next mornings hunt.

The next morning my friend and I got back in position with high hopes. We sat there in the early morning darkness both listening to the woods come alive with deer movement. He texted me that there were deer walking all around him. I was hearing them around too so we both knew it was about to be on and we'd made a good decision on this area. I was envisioning us wrapping this hunt up as soon as we had legal light, hitting the skinning rack and having a much better lunch than this ham sandwich in my pack. Unfortunately though, as daylight arrived, it seemed as though all of those deer had just dissolved into thin air. All of the deer movement went silent and except for a few hogs bumbling around, the hunt was starting to look like another bust. At least the hogs were giving us something to look at. The morning hours started slipping by 6, 7, 8, 8:30 and neither me or my friend had laid eyes on a deer. I'm starting to make plans in my head to scout again and get into better position for the afternoon hunt with nothing but a smashed up ham sandwich in my stomach. That thought was suddenly interrupted by movement out in front of me. BROWN...a DOE. Heading strait for me. I'm watching her and slowly getting into position for a shot with my .35 Whelen, intensely aware of the fact that there could be a buck following her, even though I couldn't see or hear one. She was displaying body language that made me believe that she was being followed though. Tail out, skiddish, stopping to look back. Things like that. She got within 20 yards of my tree and was passing right under me before I seen the buck. It was like he was a silent ghost that just appeared from out of nowhere. Tall, wide, mature. Adrenaline flooded my body as he cautiously approached, following the doe's exact footsteps. He wasn't throwing caution to the wind like most bucks do, he was calculating every move and she was patiently waiting for him to catch up. Leading and teasing him into her bedding area. I eased my gun up slowly as his head passed behind a tree. Adrenaline was starting to get the best of me so I started some breathing techniques. 3 seconds in, 3 seconds out with my crosshairs fixed on him, just waiting for a broadside shot. It was almost like he knew. Every step seemed to put his body in a worse position for a shot than before. I'm telling myself to have patience, dont mess this up, but he's getting closer and closer and never offering a decent shot. He's 30 yards now and working his way around a big oak tree. Maybe this is it I think, but he comes around and faces strait to me again, then LOOKS DEAD UP AT ME!!! BUSTED. I see his whole body jerk with surprise and he took off running to my left and I start to panic as I'm still following with my scope, just praying he'd pause to look for the doe. The best I got was a momentary slow down to a trot and I had a small window to shoot through so I took it. BOOM!! That split second image I seen between pulling the trigger and the recoil burned into my brain. I knew my shot was true right then as I watched him run off into the woods and crash into a briar patch. He was down. There arent any words in the dictionary that describe the feelings that come over me when I put down a mature buck on public land, and to be able to share it with good friends makes it even more rewarding.
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Re: Public land 8pt chasing a doe
Great buck! Congrats!!
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Re: Public land 8pt chasing a doe
Great story and awesome buck!!! I agree, nothing beats public land hunting when you get one!!
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