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Mar 25th, 2012
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Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! #7341556 11/08/18 12:48 AM
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I've finally broken the spell. 8 years, actually this is the beginning of the 9th year, of hunting and trying to kill a buck with an inside spread that meets the antler restrictions and finally it's done. Yes, I've seen spike bucks that were legal to take, but I've never shot a spike because I was holding out for a legal buck.

A little history... I have been using trail cameras in Sam over the past 5 years. I have thousands of pics of bucks through the years but only TWO (2) that I have captured on camera that would meet the 13" inside spread. Lots of does, lots of spikes and TONS of basket racked 6 & 8 point deer that I could not fit my fist between the main beam tips. It seems to be either an age thing, or genetics, or some combination of the two that Sam just does not have an abundance of legal racked deer. That has been my experience. Yours may vary.

Monday I left work early as weather underground showed that it was supposed to rain Tuesday through the end of the week with a drop in temperatures on Friday. I figured I would hunt Monday before the storms, and then Friday when the temps drop. I left work at 2:20PM, headed home, showered, got in my truck and promptly got stuck in traffic. It was 4:35PM before I got into the forest. Realizing I was not going to make it if I continued on to my normal hunting spot which was an additional 20 minutes of driving, I decided to hunt a spot I had hunted last year and had seen LOTS of deer, but could never close the deal on a buck. I parked and began walking in. Left my climbing stand in my truck as I figured I would not have time to get up into a tree anyway. In my mind this was quickly becoming just a scouting trip for a future hunt. As I got in to where I wanted to hunt I quickly realized the ankle deep water had turned my proposed hunting spot into a swamp. It was too late to go anywhere else at that point so I decided I would just use the water to my advantage. I moved to the edge of the water and found a trail that was just a little higher than water level and was dry. I figured if I did not like walking in the water-the deer don't either. I found 3 trees growing fairly close together almost forming a little tri-pod. I decided which tree I was going to lean against and then began propping up dead sticks against the other 2 trees forming a small lean to that would partially obstruct a deers view of me, and break up my out line. I propped my left knee up with my gun in a shooting position against my right shoulder, and then began pulling leaves up on my other leg and up around my waist. I quickly realized the ground was wet under the leaves as my leg and butt were now soaked. Thermacell running, doe in estrus pee on my boots and pant legs, hunters orange cap securing my mosquito netting over my head, and the hunt was on. I finally got settled in and looked at my phone and it showed 5:15PM..

I had left my phone on the ground, silenced, with the screen facing up. I was in a very dense area with lots of undergrowth and old oaks all around me. What little light was left was almost completely blocked out. My phone screen lit up as I got a text from my hunting buddy. I glanced at the phone and it was 5:29PM. By this point it was getting too dark to see with my naked eyes. After I flipped my phone over so that it would not be so bright, I picked up my rifle and began scanning as far to my left as possible, and then sweeping slowly to my right. As I got to the point that I could no longer swing right (remember-I'm a RIGHT handed shooter), I switched the gun to my left hand just to swing around to behind me.. As soon as I lifted the gun up-there he was at 15 yards! He either smelled the doe pee, or knew something was there and he wanted a closer look. I slowly raised the rifle to look at his rack. I could quickly see that he was a legal buck. I clicked the safety off-out went his ears and I could see the main beams were outside the tips of his ears-I dropped the scope down to his chest and he began walking TOWARDS ME while sniffing the air! I pulled the trigger once I was dead center of his chest. The deer lunged up on his back legs, turned slightly to his right as if to run and then toppled over just to the right of where he was standing when shot. He kicked with his rear legs a few times but I stayed on him with the rifle in case he got up. After a few seconds, it was all over. I got up with the rifle still on him and took 3, yes THREE steps to get to him. His eyes were open so I approached from the rear, and poked him with the rifle.. It was all over. History had been made. I can't say I ever "lost faith" that I would get one.. I think I never HAD faith in the first place that I would see a legal buck. After all the deer I have seen through the years and never having seen a legal buck, live, on-the-hoof, in person.. Well, I had just resigned myself to be happy just to be able to hunt.

I know for a lot of you this deer is "small potatoes". For me, it's a once-in-a-lifetime buck that was hard earned. I will probably never see, or kill, another legal buck in Sam so that makes this guy very special for me. Public land. No baiting. Walk in/walk out. When you can't afford a lease, this is as good as it gets. I am humbled by the opportunity to have taken such a regal, beautiful, animal, in his home territory. I just hope he got the chance to spread his genes!

I wish everyone the best of luck this year with your hunts. Be safe. Take your little ones hunting any chance you can. Take care!


A hog is nothing more than a bullet receptacle.
Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341635 11/08/18 01:51 AM
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Great deer and great story. Enjoyed reading it. Congrats.


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Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341641 11/08/18 01:54 AM
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Congrats! Great story and great buck!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341693 11/08/18 02:44 AM
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Nice buck. A true public land trophy!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341716 11/08/18 03:09 AM
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That my friend is an awesome story. One of the best I’ve ever read on this site. You no doubt have earned that big boy. That’s one helluva nice lookin buck and for public land he’s a stud. Major congrats!!!!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341727 11/08/18 03:16 AM
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cheers


"One cannot be a mediocre squirrel hunter, and at the same time a skillful deer hunter. The two techniques go together." Francis E. Sell
Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341774 11/08/18 04:15 AM
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Great buck,congrats.Looks to be at least 4 years old. Neck swollen,the rut must be kicking in down there.

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341799 11/08/18 05:28 AM
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wink

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341800 11/08/18 05:43 AM
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Congrats!! Great read.

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7341873 11/08/18 12:49 PM
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Absolutely, outstanding!


Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342322 11/08/18 06:14 PM
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Great trophy and story. Enjoyed it very much.

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342598 11/08/18 10:07 PM
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Man, this is awesome. That's a helluva deer

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342601 11/08/18 10:10 PM
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I got my doe tag for the Sam ready for this weekend!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342616 11/08/18 10:19 PM
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Great story, great picture, you deserve that deer. Congratulations.


Don't talk the talk if you didn't walk the walk.
Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342722 11/09/18 12:04 AM
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Congrats! What a trophy!


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Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342883 11/09/18 01:49 AM
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Great story man no small potatoes at all

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7342940 11/09/18 02:33 AM
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Great job, glad you got it done!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7344758 11/11/18 02:58 AM
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cheers Your trophy is your trophy. I would say you have earned the right to call it a trophy. That is dedication to the sport. I had a buck I took in 88 that I had hunted on a small lease for 3 yrs. I was able to take him by going to my stand a different way when the rain had stopped. The spread was not large, but he had a total of 16 countable pts. He was for that time an older buck. I have shot better bucks since, but he still hangs on the wall. That is a great buck for public land. up

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7349441 11/15/18 06:37 PM
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Great kill bud!


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Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7351222 11/17/18 04:32 PM
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great job on a very nice buck! you earned it!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7354663 11/21/18 06:56 PM
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Damn.....That is truly HUNTING!!!! Well done, sir!!!!

Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7355331 11/22/18 05:06 PM
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cheers congrats on your deer hunt. enjoyed reading. while never hunted the SHNF have hunted several units. some that were rifle-deer, unit #120 with son & a friend, it no longer listed. most were archery-deer. Think you hit spot on with the 13+" spread... my 2cents.... size of a deers rack is pretty much standard. it doesnt go from a basket rack ta 20" over the years it gradualy gets thicker & longer base, tines gradualy get longer. & width gradualy widen yet still basket size. So no real bennifit from the 13' rule. as you posted, more basket size racks get free ride & it thins out the 13+" size since thar legal ta shoot.
Trophy racks gets pushed on those who are just trying ta fill thar tags with legal deer, from those who can afford it. tis opposit end of the poaching thread. Big Bucks talk... wether public and or leasing have seen plenty 13+" deer, rofl some times the deer win. cheers the therory of: deer not wading threw water were You woudnt go. tis wrong. On a lease , it backed up ta a big time duck hunt lease. sounded like war going on. Any ways did the sittingin a stand out of the ellimets, nice cosy chair as pappy says: excecative hunts waiting & watching feeder & foo plot, No One was seeing deer.. secon of last day,went old school, Minnesota style. got off me lazy arse. went ta were litte slews were, small islands, eased threw water, found rubs on first island, started easeing ta next, ducks got up, held still & scand. ducks alerting deer. sure enough nice deer stood up looked my way & was off. Next day went in from different angle, got to wer tree knocked down, leaned rifle up against clearing leaves so could move quietly, looked up a nice buck getting drink turned & easied off. Out of way places, thick brush, small islands, tis were the older ones b. So Dont give up on seeing bigger bucks, change tactis. some times it pays ta- think out of d box. up on your hunt. Keep your head held high & your powder dry. Pappy done gone hunten. got foggy weather, slight wind little chilly gonna add some beens. rofl dead down wind.. not gonna b too many nice weather days. make best of it.

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Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7356707 11/24/18 02:36 PM
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Great buck and story. Congratulations.


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Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7357475 11/25/18 05:58 PM
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Great deer and story!


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Re: Sam Houston National Forest Buck-8 Year Wait is OVER! [Re: Kawabuggy] #7361946 11/29/18 04:13 PM
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Congrats on a great buck man! Hunting the SHNF is truly challenging. I killed my first buck in the woods (before restrictions) and am planning to hunt it again next season. The property I grew up on borders SHNF so I've roamed those woods since I could walk. All that being said, there are some very very very good deer in those woods since the AR. Ive seen 120s, 130s and even a 140 class buck taken from the woods over the last 3 or 4 years. All depends on the area. I much prefer the East side of I-45, especially the big woods area and near Karolyis Camp


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