So I don't post much anymore but thought I'd post this one as it is proof that you can kill a great deer on a small place. Let me first apologize for the long read but this is going to cover a 4 year story.
Our place is in far eastern Bexar County and is only 32+ acres. We've owned it for 10 years now and have really worked hard on protecting the deer there since when we first got it didn't see very many at all. I've killed only two other bucks at our place and both of those are also on the wall, a 145" tall-tined 8 and a wide 130" 8. We have passed up countless great bucks up that were 2.5 - 5.5 hoping to get them more time only to never see them again including a 2.5 year old main frame 10 with 5 kickers over an 1" long. He was on our oats field the last Saturday evening of the 2015 season until dark and then walked 1.25 miles down the road over night and was shot the last Sunday morning of the season.
We first saw this buck in the 2016 season when he was 2.5
Then at 3.5 he really started showing some good tine length.
Here he is at 4.5 and still just a slick 8 but very good tine length. I'd guessed him to be mid-upper 30s and then when he shed my wife found his left side. That side doubled and along with 15" for his IS added in put him about 138".
Needless to say we were hoping he'd made it through but once again we went all spring and summer without a single sighting or picture of him at either of the two protein feeders.
Finally, on Oct 13 I pulled the cards and these are two of the pictures I got of him by one of my tanks where I put corn out every evening near our house.
To say we were a little surprised and excited at what he'd grown in one year may be a slight understatement!
Normally we would never have thought of killing a 5.5 year old deer like him but circumstances changed over the previous year when a 200+ acre place which borders us on two sides (1/2 mile of border fence) sold and they began dozing new property lines for 11 acre tracts of land. With that happening we made a difficult decision that if we saw him we would take him. I felt he'd easily added 10"+ with the 3 new points and probably at least 5" on his frame and existing points so figured he would be somewhere about 152"-154"...….a hell of a buck for anywhere much less where we are at on such small acreage.
So we kept it pretty low-keyed around the place and just did our normal things and made sure not to change anything at all as our deer seem to notice any small change and when something does change it can throw them off kilter for weeks!
My son hunted opening weekend and saw numerous good young bucks and even a couple of culls that really need to be taken out but not him. On Monday Nov 4 I got home from work early enough to sneak over to the stand which is about 300 yards from the house. I got in the stand about 4:45 and the feeder was set to go off at 5. It was a nice, quiet evening and I had a few deer out at the feeder and on the oats field when I started hearing a strange sound about 15 minutes after sundown. And at 6pm sharp I figured out what the sound was as a guy came down my fence line in a 4-seater Ranger on that 200 acres that sold. He drove very slowly right next to the fence all the way down my back fence line. The he turned down to come up my side fence where my oat patch is at. That oat field is only about 200 yards long and when he go right in the middle of where my oats field was he stopped, backed up a few feet and sat there for another minute or so, then continued on his way. I had little doubt of what he was trying to do and knew at that moment that if I did get lucky enough to see this deer that I would kill him. Until that moment I still had my doubts that I would pick up the rifle on a great 5.5 year old deer but I realized that if we didn't get him and they saw him he'd be dead.
I didn't get home in time to hunt again until Thursday. That evening we had a pretty cool, strong north wind blowing and it was very cloudy and drizzly. I checked and fed a few heifers I had penned and headed to the stand and didn't crawl up into it until about a minute before the feeder went off. But, I had a feeling about that evening with that cold wind blowing as the other two deer I have on the wall from here also were both shot on evenings just as this one when there was a pretty strong north wind blowing.
Almost as soon as the feeder went off I had several deer start coming out and go back and forth from the feeder to the oats. I thought it was kind of strange that I had 7 or 8 does and fawns out and not a single buck as usually we see more bucks than does. At about 5:45 I looked back towards the house and saw a couple more deer coming from that direction and all of a sudden they threw their heads up and started looking past the stand towards the feeder as something had got their attention. I turned and saw a big body deer with his head down dogging one of the does. I grabbed my binoculars and threw them up and his head came up and I saw the two kickers and knew immediately it was him. I grabbed the rifle, my son's short barrel Rem .308 and put it out the window. By that time he'd chased that doe past the feeder and towards me and he was only about 80 yards away. To my utter amazement I couldn't not get a clear scope view at all and even had remembered to turn the power down to 8 on it. My son had put a different scope on this rifle and I'd not shot is since then. Now before anyone starts judging me for shooting at a deer with a rifle I'd not shot recently rest assured my son had it dead zero at 100 yards and it is a tack driver. Also, my son and I can pick up any rifle and we shoot them exactly the same as we both shoulder and hold the same way. Well, by the time I finally figure out where my head needed to be to get a clear, full view through the scope he'd pushed that doe back out to the edge of the oats about 140 yards. I felt good so I let out a pretty good yelp at him to get him to stop and when he did I let one fly. He was very close to the brush line and as soon as I recovered from the minor recoil I saw that he had wheeled straight around and headed into the brush. The shot felt good but it was fast and you always 2nd guess so I called my wife to ask her if it sounded like the bullet hit and she told me she didn't even know I'd shot because she had gone in the house already from the back porch.
I felt like I'd made a really good shot but I still had a sick feeling in my stomach as she told me that my son had just gotten home from work. I would have never pulled the trigger if I'd known this because he has a .300 Win Mag in the Savage LR Hunter that is dialed in from our back porch to the almost exact spot I shot this deer (350 yards) and it shoots 5-shot 1" groups with the loads he's built for it at that spot! He absolutely center punched an ugly freak cull from that porch the previous year with it and I know he would have smoked this buck to.
She told him I'd just shot at the big deer we'd named Kickers and he texted me when I wanted him to come. I told him to come on now and within 2 minutes he was at the stand on our side by side. We drove down to the spot where I'd shot and immediately he found good blood. Although there was still about 10 minutes of legal shooting light left it was getting pretty dark due to the clouds and drizzle so I told him to keep tracking blood and I would go ahead and see what I could find. I un-holstered my pistol and took about 5 steps around the corner and saw horns sticking up from the high weeds and told him that he was down. He went over and grabbed a horn and said, "holy s--t dad, he is way better than I thought". He of course was happy for me and I am extremely proud to have taken such a big deer on my own place, but I'm still a little sad about him not being there anymore to look forward to watching him get even bigger.
He ended up only being 14 4/8" inside but that was the only place he was smaller than I thought.
I scored him very conservatively and anywhere where the cable came up between 1/8s I went down.
14 4/8" IS
31 4/8" mass
68 5/8" in tines
Again, sorry for the long read but just wanted to tell the entire story and give hope to those out there who hunt small acreage places in areas not known for giants.
Also, to me this deer is exactly why you let good looking young, slick 8s walk! Even if this deer had not put on the G4 or the two kickers he is still a 148" 8 point at only 5 years old.