A little background, we bought a family ranch in Knox County last year. The west property line is high fenced and the prior owner mentioned to me that some big bucks travel the fence line. I finally had some time this year to do some scouting back there, but because the pasture area at the west fence line is thick and has some rough topography, I was having a difficult time figuring out the deer travel patterns and where to exactly place a blind. That is where the high tech portion comes in. I used Google Earth to identify the heavily used game trails (we have no livestock, so there is no question you are looking a game trails). I then identified a strategic location near two parallel trails to place a feeder and found a good elevated spot to set up my blind. I got all the finishing touches finally completed in September and put out a game camera in October. I immediately had a couple of mature bucks show up and have since had five mature bucks visiting the feeder.
Last Thursday night I got to the ranch and pulled the camera cards. Sure enough, I had a couple of mature deer and in daylight to boot! The wind was perfect the next morning and all seemed to be going well until one of the mature bucks came from behind my blind on the little bluff where I placed it. I turned my head to look out the side window to see him staring right at me. As still as I remained, It was too late and he busted me. Snort, snort and tail flagging as he bounded off while another deer I had not seen, also ran off with him. Hunt over.
I was back Friday afternoon to give it another shot. The wind was still perfect. I could not have scripted it any better. At about 5:30, a huge ten point appeared out of the thick brush below the blind and circled the feeder. I immediately recognized him and waited for a good shot. Once broadside and in the clear, I put it on him. He stumbled and then ran a few yards before stopping and wagging his tail back and forth signaling he was hit hard. I kept watching for him to fall and he just stood there facing away from me wobbling back and forth. I had another round chambered and then he began walking away. I hastily fired off another round, but I guess my adrenaline had kicked in as I totally missed him as he walked out of sight. Even so, I knew he was most likely dead within yards of where he disappeared. Sure enough, he left a blood trail a blind squirrel could follow and was dead as a door nail about 100 yards from where he was shot.
Here he is before:
And here he is after:
He weighed an even 200 lbs,at least 6 1/2 years old and was 19" inside. He had already broke his left brow tine clean off. This was the first buck we have taken off the ranch. It's our second year feeding protein free choice and look forward to seeing how much bigger we can grow these deer. I also found a very useful new tool to identify game trails in Google Earth.