I have not had a chance to hunt with a bow or my crossbow in a couple of years. Last bow buck was in 2002 when I took 2 Hill Country 10 points in a 7 day period. I always decide to pick one buck in August to go after and this year I picked a tough one. I knew it would be tough just by posture and how this buck interacted with other deer. He would be the last deer in to a feeder and anything moved or fluttered or ran he would back out then might come back in. He was on edge every time I seen him
I went out in August a couple of mornings and finally caught him coming in late to protein and corn feeder. This is when I realized how edgy he was. He heard the shutter click at 100 yards stopped, starred me down then turned and left. He never went to the feeder.
I knew from those pics and past history he was a mature buck. Just could not make my mind up on his spread. So I waited till September and went back the first morning of bow season. Wind was wrong to hunt a haybale blind I had built and put up. He went to feed pen and never close to haybale blind. I knew it would be tough. He heard the shutter again at 100 yards or so and got spooky. Felt a little better about his spread but still not sure he was much over 13" from these pics and TC pics.
I picked out this buck to try for with my crossbow for several reason. One he was mature. Two he was narrow and tall, both of which I like. Three he was going to be a challenge. Little did I know how hard it would be. I started a PM thread with txshntr to get his feedback on spread and other things. Those PM total 8 full and started a 9th one.
The first weekend I could not hunt the haybale blind due to wind.(could not shoot from the boxstandd due to size). I finally had wind that was ok to hunt Sunday evening of the first weekend but he was not an evening buck at all. Not many bucks are evening bucks here. So on Monday morning I got into haybale blind at 6 am after corning in front of it. I had deer on corn before daylight. This buck came in at 2 minutes to 7am to my surprise but stayed at 31 yards behind other deer. I had a limit of 25 yard max shot with crossbow due to noise it makes and how edgy this buck was. I thought he would duck the bolt. After 2 minutes the corn feed went off to the south about 125 yards away and he turned to head to it with all bucks in tow. Thus the month long saga began. I would hunt every morning I had a chance and would see him almost every morning I sat for the next 2 weeks at the haybale blind. He would be from 50-135 yards away everytime and not come to corn on the ground. Every buck I had on TC was in front me at one time or another in that period, but him. Closest he got was 40 yards one morning and a bird fluttered or something he saw spooked him and he turned and just walked off. He was at corn and protein feeder every time I saw him.
After 2 weeks of this I decided I needed a new brush blind or a tripod. I looked around and found one decent oak tree within 18 yards of the corn feeder in the pen and it was in a great place for E or SE or NE winds. So I put it up on a Saturday afternoon and told txshntr I will either kill him in the morning the first time in or he or some other buck will bust me. Well the next morning he was at 70 yards with two other bucks already in the feed pen and a cardinal decided to flutter and land in front of me on a limb. Well the older buck in the pen happened to look up at the same time and saw me I guess. He blew and turned inside out and I think the 10 point must have finally stopped at Bayside cause I did not see him for 2 days.
Over the next week I got good winds later on and decided to sit at tripod. Well he was a no show the first morning at corn feeder but seen him leave the haybale blind area. Samething the next morning. So I finally knew he was haybale blind on corn. I sat there the next morning and he came out from downwind behind me at 80 yards and I think caught my scent. He did not hang around long but was not to spooked, just walked off. Winds were wrong for a couple of days so I did not hunt.
Later in the week last week on Friday morning I was in the haybale blind and he came in way early. I could see his silhouette in binos way before daylight. At first hint of light he turned and walked off and when corn feeder went off he went to it. Had a youth hunter out over the weekend so I did not hunt all weekend.
From Monday morning till Thursday morning I had him in front me every morning but it was before shooting light and if anything spooked him, he was gone. He did come back in a couple of times but would then head to corn feeder when it went off. He was from 19 yards to 26 yards a lot of times. Problem was there would be 7-9 other bucks in small area with him. He would either be angled to me or standing away from when nothing was around him. If he was broadside it was either not enough light to see crosshairs or he had bucks in front or behind him in the way. If that wasn't enough if any dove flew or a deer ran at another deer it would spook him and he would take a few steps back and survey the area. He might return or just walk off then head to corn and protein feeder. I had the safety off almost every day just could not get a clear shot. Every other buck would eat corn within 15-25 yards and never paid much attention to anything but the corn feeder. Then they left to got to eat corn and protein.
This morning I woke to rain at 4:30. I was making a point to head to blind so I would be sitting at 6:30 which is the latest I got in. I was hoping to push the bucks back on their time so they would be in shooting light. I got in the stand and it was thundering with lightening. With heavy cloud cover it was really dark. It started to rain and rained till after 7. I had two bucks I could see in binos and could tell neither was him in front of me. Nothing else came in. It was still almost dark when feeder went off at 7:22. Still no more deer till does started heading to feeders. Then a parade bucks started to the feeders with the 10 in middle of the single file group. Not single one came to haybale blind. They all went to feed pen feeders. With that many bucks and does some started to drift back to haybale blind. All the deer left the pen but the 10 point. I was not sure if he snuck out another direction since I can not really see the feeder, only travel to and from it. After about 20 minutes he followed 2 other bucks that were paralleling me and heading NE out about 100 yards from haybale blind. They headed to me and he just kept walking NE. I figured the morning was done this late since only 4 bucks were left in front of me and the rest were heading N or NE. When he got due east of me he turned, stopped and looked at the bucks over by me. He then turned and walked straight in. When he got to 27 yards there was a buck in between me and him. He walked at that buck and he left. He ate corn to 25 yards(which was my comfort zone) and was angling to me. I hate that shot with a bow and won't take it. I was not going to chance it with a crossbow. He then turned his shoulders and head squaring off. I thought I had a clear broadside shot and let the bolt fly. I could hear the bolt hit him but did not see it fly or exit. It had started to really dark again as it was about to rain it looked like. I watched him turn and run due SE then turn to angle NE and he was moving. He did not act like he was hit other than tail tucked by the way he was running. He hit one small opening out about 100 yards and started to slow down. I thought he might have stumbled. I waited 20 minutes and got out and checked ground where he was standing for the shoot. Thankfully the rain had the ground soft but the thunder and darkness had me worried about washing away a blood trail. Still not sure of a hit, found his tracks and followed them about 25 yards and found spot here and there of blood. It was on both sides of his tracks so I know I had a pass thru shot, but not sure if he ducked the bolt. At the same time I had not see 2 deer standing NE of that blew and left. I though dummy, back out. I could tell neither of those 2 deer were him but thought they were standing looking at him on the ground. So I waited another 20 minutes. It sprinkled and when it quit I went and look for the bolt and found it. Covered in good blood. Now I felt better, but blood trail was faint but I could follow even in tall grass. I could see a track every now and then in the soft wet soil. I followed to the spot I had seen him from the blind and saw his white belly about 30 yards away.
I was very happy to find him and his a very nice buck for my first buck off of my new place and first crossbow buck.
First pic is where he fell and rest are after I drug him out to take more pics.
I hunted for 35 days for this buck and he proved to be a challenge. I left out a lot of other details of the hunt and encounters with him due to this thread being so long already. In my haste to find buck, get pictures and gut/skin/quarter in the hot temps I did not age this buck but told taxi to save the jaw for me. I know he was mature just not sure since I thought he was either 5 or 7 by his body shape and head. I have seen him for 3 yrs now and have pics of him from the previous 2 yrs. Not my biggest and not my smallest but one of the most memorable hunting experiences I have had. txshntr can attest to it by the PM's