Kind of long, but....
This was the first picture of many, that I got of this deer. I was only able to hunt maybe 3 times, before Thanksgiving, due to work. Anyone who hunts the Pineywoods of East Texas knows that bucks can be VERY hard to come by after the first couple of weeks of the season.
I had seen several decent bucks prior to getting this picture, and had a couple of what I would consider to be shooters. I had no idea that this buck was even out there. No other lease members had seen him before either. When I got this first pic, I knew that I really wanted this buck, but he was strictly nocturnal, and only showed up every couple of days. Being so late in the season, I didn't know if I even had a chance to locate his main area, let alone see him in person. I set up three additional trail cams, in different areas, in hopes of locating his home area. After two weekends of moving cameras and capturing several more pictures of him, I finally found the hot spot. Not just for this buck, but many bucks, all using the same ridge and small (thick) bottom as their hide out. All night time pictures, but LOTS of buck activity. I knew I was close to their bedding area, because I was getting pics of several bucks, within a few minutes of dark, everyday.
With the warm weather and full moon, I didn't know if it would ever happen. I hunted the mornings in hopes of catching him returning to bed, but was never able to see him.
Finally with this last cold front, there was some deer activity just after first light. Monday morning I was in my climber before daylight, on the edge of the thicket where the bucks have been hanging out. I had a 16 inch 9 point cross through the open timber at about 90 yards, followed by a small 6 point. It was almost sickening to watch that 9 point walk through, but I was holding on to the thought that just maybe Ol Browtine would show up....
Yesterday morning was perfect. Cold with no wind. I was in my tree about 45 minutes before daylight. I had actually almost made my mind up to shoot the first legal buck I saw... at this point it is not about hunting a big buck, but really ANY buck. The 9 point from the day before was still bothering me, and I'm already thinking about muzzleloader season and at least maybe getting another doe.
Just after daylight, a doe popped up out of the bottom, headed straight toward me. I watched the doe until she was about 40 yards from me. She stopped under a large oak and was just milling around looking for acorns. She was there for maybe 5 minutes, when she threw her head up and went on full alert. At that point I started looking back down toward the bottom. Immediately I saw movement at about 120 yards. A few seconds later a buck trotted out into the open timber. After a quick look through my binoculars, I knew it was him!
The rest is just a blur. A few more steps and he was in a small opening. One shot to the base of the neck and he was down!