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#6624452 - 01/09/17 04:59 PM He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually!
TxAg Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 3310
Loc: Live in Katy, Hunt in Llano Co...
I have a good friend who I'll call J who has been hunting with me on the lease for the past 6 seasons. He is a responsible and ethical hunter, and a good lease member, and as such has passed many young bucks over the years because he wasn't 100% sure they met our management plan. Well, this year I decided we would get him on a Trophy!

Opening Weekend was an eventful one at our place, and movement was good. Well, as luck would have it I had the same nice 8-pt show up at my spot three sits in a row! Of course, as the other side of luck would have it J wasn't there that weekend! The first time I saw him he popped over a little rise to my East, and I immediately got excited. I elected to pass him as I was after a big ol' 6.5yo, and that moment kind of ear-marked him for J. Then, later that weekend he was seen again. The second time he rolled in right at dark and made a big scrape like he owned the place. Two more of my buddies saw him with me that weekend; they both passed him too. We all agreed we'd save him in the hopes that J could get on him two weeks later.




Fast forward two weeks later, and it is just before Thanksgiving, the peak of the rut around our parts. J is getting excited, and we have a plan to hunt my spot together. The weather is right, and the action is good, but no mature bucks show. Finally, it is Sunday morning and J is heading out at lunch. We agree to give it one more go at my spot, and I'm glad we did.

The day dawned cold and clear, with the temp right around 30 degrees. The entire valley covered in frost; Deer hunter’s dream. We did not have to wait long for action. About 6:45 (still pretty dark) we had a nice ~4.5yo 8-pt moving up the bench from the N. He did not stop at corn, and it was too dark to see much about antlers, so we let him go. But, about 7:30, he circled back, this time running a doe in from the East. He was not quite as nice as the buck I'd had in mind, but was a good clean 8-pt who met our plan, a great buck to take. The doe led him on a squirrely little route behind "the kill box", through the creek, around the brush, etc. About that time, 3 more Does, Fawns came in from the North. The buck must have thought the first doe was more trouble than she was worth because he abandoned the chase and came into the kill box. He started eating corn, and I confirmed he was a "legal" 8-pt by our plan guidelines.






It was Go Time for J. He got himself ready, and the buck presented a perfect broadside opportunity at about 85 yds. J fired, the buck hunched up slightly (never a good sign), then ran maybe 15 yds to some brush behind the kill box. We could barely see him. He stood there for maybe 10 min, clearly hit and hurting. But, he did not present any opportunity to put a second shot in him.

I was video'ing the hunt, and upon watching the footage immediately knew we had trouble. J had hit him pretty far back, and low. We gave him a solid 1hr and 20 min before climbing down and checking. Once looking for J's buck, we quickly found blood and trailed him for 60 yds or so. But, it was slow going. For the last 20 yds we had nothing but pin drops. Had two options: get a bunch of guys and do a grid search, with the potential to push him further if he’s alive. And, with the shot placement we saw he very well could have been. Or, back out for a while and call the tracking dog in.

J decided to call the dog. About an hour later the dog showed up. Turned out to be about a 1-min job for the dog, and she found him ~60 yd from where we lost the blood trail. But, I was glad we called: the buck had changed directions, and was holed up in some super thick stuff. Could have taken us a very long time to find him with no blood. All's well that ends well! Congrats to my friend on his first "Trophy" buck, it's one he'll never forget!










Edited by TxAg (01/09/17 06:45 PM)
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#6624466 - 01/09/17 05:13 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
Bucks and Ducks Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 3217
Loc: Texas
pm me, your over the limit

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#6624471 - 01/09/17 05:17 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
chital_shikari Offline
Minor in training

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 11659
Loc: Katy, TX
up
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#6624479 - 01/09/17 05:20 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
txshntr Offline
T-Rex Arms

Registered: 09/24/10
Posts: 34024
Loc: Mansfield, Texas
Congrats on a group effort and getting your friend a great buck!! Great write up and thank you for sharing up

That is what hunting is all about right there. None of this "my spot", "my deer" stuff.
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#6624496 - 01/09/17 05:31 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
Old Rabbit Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 2331
Loc: North East Texas
Congratulations to J, good job on following up and finding his buck.

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#6624519 - 01/09/17 05:51 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
billyhunt Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 2356
Loc: granger,tx
cheers

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#6624534 - 01/09/17 05:59 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
dlrz71 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 9065
Loc: Arlington, Tx/Coke Cnty
cheers Congrats to everyone and showing what hunting is all about!!!
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#6624567 - 01/09/17 06:10 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
Texas buckeye Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3085
Loc: Keller
Great write up and good on you all to pass on that one and let your buddy take him.

However, mature is a stretch for that deer. Not trying to pick a fight or anything, but I bet he isn't much more than 3.5-4.5 yo. If that is your definition of mature then great, but if you are shooting deer like that thinking they are mature you are missing the mark a little.

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#6624592 - 01/09/17 06:20 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
Michael W. Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 2821
Loc: Central Texas / Comal County
You done good letting him take it. Congrats
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#6624602 - 01/09/17 06:24 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
dogcatcher Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/17/06
Posts: 78747
Loc: Abilene or on the road...
cheers
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#6624659 - 01/09/17 06:46 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: Texas buckeye]
cameron00 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/08/09
Posts: 8291
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Texas buckeye

However, mature is a stretch for that deer. Not trying to pick a fight or anything, but I bet he isn't much more than 3.5-4.5 yo. If that is your definition of mature then great, but if you are shooting deer like that thinking they are mature you are missing the mark a little.


He's at least 4.5 and likely 5.5 and an 8. That's a shooter anywhere. Silly comment.

Great buck and congrats to J!

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#6624679 - 01/09/17 06:55 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
Texas buckeye Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3085
Loc: Keller
Cameron, not trying to pick, but where do you see 5.5 there?

I see flat back, smallish rump compared to shoulders, front legs that look like lollipops coming from his shoulders and not a super thick neck. His neck is swollen for rut in those first couple pics, but nothing else suggests age. Even his antlers don't extend all the way to his nose which isn't romanized. He doesn't have knobby knees either...just wondering where the age is in that buck? I am always learning so please let know. Unless those pics were taken last week and this buck is rutted down terribly, but even then, he doesn't have the look of a bigger deer with floppy loose skin either confused2

Again, not saying he wasn't worth taking, just saying the aging on this deer doesn't scream
Mature to me (and I have been wrong before so please help me out)


Edited by Texas buckeye (01/09/17 06:57 PM)

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#6624683 - 01/09/17 06:58 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
NDN98 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 8967
Loc: McKinney, TX
up Congrats!

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#6624685 - 01/09/17 07:01 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: Texas buckeye]
txshntr Offline
T-Rex Arms

Registered: 09/24/10
Posts: 34024
Loc: Mansfield, Texas
Originally Posted By: Texas buckeye
Cameron, not trying to pick, but where do you see 5.5 there?

I see flat back, smallish rump compared to shoulders, front legs that look like lollipops coming from his shoulders and not a super thick neck. His neck is swollen for rut in those first couple pics, but nothing else suggests age. Even his antlers don't extend all the way to his nose which isn't romanized. He doesn't have knobby knees either...just wondering where the age is in that buck? I am always learning so please let know. Unless those pics were taken last week and this buck is rutted down terribly, but even then, he doesn't have the look of a bigger deer with floppy loose skin either confused2

Again, not saying he wasn't worth taking, just saying the aging on this deer doesn't scream
Mature to me (and I have been wrong before so please help me out)


Without a doubt, a 4.5yo and 5.5 wouldn't surprise me in the least. Hill country deer don't show their age like many deer around the state, and sure don't follow the pamphlet/book that you can use to age deer. I can show you pictures of 6.5yo deer that don't show what you are looking for and had many call him 3.5, but I can show you 3 previous years to prove my point. I have been hunting the same place for over 20 years and still can't age them correctly on certain deer.

And for a lot of places, a 4.5 is considered mature while others call it young to middle aged. From my experience, the deer in that area rarely make it to the 6.5-7.5 age class and when they do, they have already started going downhill some, making 5.5 the prime age. Protein and management can change that, but it isn't uncommon.
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#6624701 - 01/09/17 07:12 PM Re: He finally checked that Trophy box.....eventually! [Re: TxAg]
Texas buckeye Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3085
Loc: Keller
Txhntr, appreciate the feedback. I stand corrected then on the aging of this buck.

As stated in my first post, glad you all waited and got your buddy this buck!

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