We changed leases this year after being just north of San Angelo for 4 yrs. We worked very hard managing that place and passing alot of deer in the process. A few of our group just decided it was time for some new scenery. They killed some great deer already this year so it was tough leaving. Well our new place had not been fed or hunted since 2011. It is near Silver TX on the Nolan/Coke/Michell co borders. We weren't sure what to expect when we got on there since there was no prior history. For this area a 125-135" deer is a true trophy. We got set about March or April and began feeding. We were pretty surprised at the age of the bucks we were seeing and by July started seeing some decent bone. The numbers still weren't quite where I expected for the area. Little by little new deer started showing up once we neared September and October. We had a couple on camera that would touch 120-125 but still nothing that really got me excited. Typically we pass all border line deer the first year or so on a new property to build the herd. On 10/30 I finally had a buck show that got me excited. At first I figured him to be 4.5 but after comparing him to other bucks in the area as well as other deer from near by leases that they "knew" the age of I started leaning more towards 5.5. He is a little deceiving compared to the deer we were use to seeing as ours seem to be a little smaller bodied than what we had in Angelo. Early in November he broke about 5" off his right g2 but was becoming a regular at the feeder. After talking with some of my TBH "support group" I decided that I may take him if the opportunity presented itself. Last Monday I made a quick camera/feeder check as I was in the area for work. Low and behold he was there almost every morning for breakfast and would typically hang around for almost an hour. As you can see we added water to several of our feeder pens as it is scarce on my side of the ranch and I think that has much to do with it as the feed. To my dismay he had been fighting again and broke off his right brow and 2" off his fork on left G2. I once again reached out to my TBH support group and they reassured me that a good taxi could fix him up especially since I had plenty of pre-break pics. I wanted to see him in person before I made a final call.
Well the trip to the lease was finally here. The PM hunts were almost non existent with very few deer. Kind of surprising since there isn't much green stuff around right now. I had decided to move my am feed times from 6:30-7:00 since it was still a little too dark. The next morning I got in the stand a little before 6 to make sure I didn't bust him out. He was usually around when the feeder went off according to pics. Well like clock work he was there in the pen standing directly under the feeder at 6:30. Could only make him out with Binos. After about 5 min he hopped out and was gone. Did I mess up moving the feed time? Had I lost my only opportunity?
Well as it turns out...no I didn't. About 10 min after it went off He he comes. I turn on the video and start examining him thru the binos. He looked as good as I thought he did except for the broken tines. He was the only deer there. He was hammering the tasty gold goodness. I videoed and watched him for close to 20 minutes as I was still a little unsure I wanted to shoot him broke up and also he would be a good one to leave in the breeding pool. He finally began to give me a slightly broadside shot and I decided to grab the bow.
Now I have had SEVERE target panic for about the last 5 yrs. It is a constant battle that sometimes I win and sometimes I loose. I drew on him, held and let down 3-4 times. At this point he was perfectly qtring away and oblivious to my presence. On the fourth draw I laid my finger on the trigger and let it rip. Some how my shot was a little low and back about 2". Luckily it all worked out as he was quick enough and duct into the arrow and it buried in his off air pit. He charged out and hit the pen as he tried to jump. He disappeared into the brush. Even tho he crashed thru alot of cedar I never heard that final crash. I sat in the stand about 20 min and decided to climb down and leave the area. I found good blood right out side the pen and lead into the thick stuff. I headed back to camp to wait for my brother (PSEBronco) to help me with the recovery. After about an hr we were back on the scene. With all the blood after impact I thought I had for sure caught the heart. Alot of blood and about 80-100yds later it started getting watery then it went to a slight trickle. In 15-20yds it had gone from a steady stream out both sides to a few scant watery specs. My heart sank as the last two deer I have helped others track have ended in the same trail and no deer found. Well I started replaying the shoot and looked at the video again. No way did I not get at least 1 lung. Our place is extremely thick and hilly. 2 yrs ago they did some seismographic (spelling) testing and cut several good scenderos throw out. I was standing in one open area looking for next blood and my brother was just wondering around beating the bush. Out of no where he hollers "I found real good blood". Dang if he didn't find alot of blood on the side of a hill 50 yds from where we had lost it before in the middle of some thick cedar. The arrow must have gotten hung up and was still doing damage because it really opened him up. We had alot of wet fresh blood and it was back on. We had gone up the hill and back down. We entered the first scendero we had crossed 60 yds behind the feeder and we could see my arrow. at least we were on the right track right?? Hey wait a minute it's sticking out of the buck still...there he is!! One of two things either we walked right by him within 10-15yds but had our noses to the ground looking for blood or we pushed him while looking and he reopened the wound and made a circle then died right there in the open. We trailed him prob 150-200yds but as the crow flies only about 50yds. I was relieved and for the first time in about 6 yrs was truly excited about a deer I had killed.
Thanks to all my TBH Support group and hunting buddies especially the OL Bloodhound my brother. If nothing else he def saved me a few hundred getting a tracking dog out there to track a deer 50yds.
My favorite part about deer hunting isn't the hunting so much but the growing and management of the deer. I love the off season feeding and watching them grow. Trying to improve our lease thru good management.
But you know, it sure is fun to spill a little blood from time to time as well!
I haven't actually seen his teeth but they felt to be similar to the 9 my brother killed, not much crest left and the first molar felt pretty well dished. Looking at the pics most have been pretty consistent with 5.5 and before his broken tines he would have scored around 130 give or take a few 1/8.
He had big callouses on his knees and a pretty big block head. I could hold all the fat on his body in one hand. He was very lean and looked to be running hard all year which made him look a little thin and younger. Was prob 140-150 live weight.
I have video but I'm not good at editing so I will have to get help with that.
Here are some pics.(Just a disclaimer but I'm 6-2 320 and tend to dwarf deer in pics)