This was my 3rd year of hunting The Great North Woods area of New Hampshire. I met my BIL and his brother up there for some typical Benoit style hunting, driving logging roads looking for a fresh track and going in after it. This year with the use of Google Earth we further strategized about an area that we were in last year that had great sign. My BIL's brother, who was bow hunting due to getting his firearm buck previously, jumped a buck earlier on the day Friday when were were scouting and I tracked him for about .5 mile before losing the trail. We grabbed lunch and went back in to the same location in the afternoon, he set up on an edge of a cut near a swamp crossing and I set up near where he jumped that buck because I found a nice knoll that afforded me 150 yd shot down a logging trail through the cut in one direction and sight line into a bowl type of feature in the other direction.
Sat down at 2pm and all was quiet. Finally around 4:10pm nature called and I stood up to relieve myself. before I could finish I hear a loud snap and a deer was on the knoll behind me changing direction and heading away from me. I quick put "things" back together, grabbed my Rem 870 and jumped out to identify what it was and where it was heading. After about 10 seconds I see him heading into the bowl and realize it's a nice buck. He moves through some small maples in the back of this cut and I stop him with a mouth bleat. I take a shot and he does a big mule kick, jumps forward 5 yds yards and stops. I take 2 more shots but it was through some whips and he takes off into the woods away from me.
I get to the point of impact I see blood, I look to where he jumped and there's a ton of blood. I track him into the woods and after about 80 yds, he starts snorting at me. I back out to meet the guys and come to find out that the buck walked by my BIL's brother(bow hunting) at about 45 yds. He missed him with his first shot then had the presence of mind to take a shot into some whips behind the buck to push him in my direction over the knoll I was sitting on.
The 3 of us go to where I backed out and sit for about 1/2 hr. Then we pick up the trail, good blood for about 300 yds but we could tell he was moving pretty good because there were few puddles. About 6pm we decide to back out completely, we mark the spot with a GPS and go grab a bite, call our wifes from the pay phone at the country store, and talk about what we need to do to find this buck. Considering the blood trail was starting to fizzle out, there was concern in the group.
About 7:30pm or so we head back out. Last blood was about .35 miles from the landing where we parked and we find it easily with the aid of the GPS. We resume the trail and we start to see puddles more frequently, about every 20 yds or so. After about 100 yds, we see where he trips over a log and falls into the snow. We press on slowly, still tracking decent blood with the frequent puddles. About a 100 yds later, we cross another logging trail and I see him bedded about 10 yds in front of me, head up looking back and forth, looking way too alive for my hopes at that point. Because of the noisy nature of the snow, we didn't want to create more noise and jump him by backing away. So the 3 of us sit down right in the logging trail, not more than 10 yds from him. We wait about 45 agonizing minutes until he finally stands and staggers and I can see I hit him back. He slowly walks into the darkness and snorts at us once. We wait about 30 minutes before moving to the area where he was bedded and find 2 beds within 5 feet of each other. We again proceed slowly and after a short walk we find him expired in another logging trail.
He went about .30 miles from the shot and final recovery was approximately 9:15 or so. I hit him low and back, but somehow missed the stomach and punched the intestines, definitely not proud of the shot but it was about a 100 yds shot through some whips and light brush. Best thing we did was back out, he must have been 40-50 yds ahead of us while we were tracking the first time and blood got much better almost instantly from the spot we resumed. Thanks to the many HPA'ers for all of the input in the hundreds of threads that provided bits of information and insight about tracking, backing out, etc that went toward the recovery of this deer.
Ended up being a 7pt, 168 lbs dressed. The poor shot did allow for almost complete recovery of all edible meat from this deer and the HPA scale was nearly spot on as we got approximately 90 lbs from him. Considering that this was my 3rd trip there and the first time I've actually even seen a deer, I couldn't be more proud to get a buck from my wife's home state and the Great North Woods of NH!