Short Story = 7 point (other brow is broken off) 17.5" outside spread with good mass - mature buck taken Saturday 12/1.
Very Long Story (if you prefer): like most of us, I was psyched for arechery season to begin and I had 4 treestands in place and some exceptional buck on the trailcams. Managed to hunt 26 times in archery season.....saw a decent number of deer overall and fair number of buck, passed on several mature doe, a pretty nice 6 point and a 5 point. Saw a good real good shooter the last week just out of range. Disappointing archery season because I felt like I really put in my time before the season and during the season...........with bear season on the way and knowing that I had to hunt rifle it was off to the range. I shoot a .270 and for some unknown reason I also grabbed the .243 that I have not fired in probably 15 years. 2 shots from each rifle and they were dead on. Rifle season.....hunted at our Deerless Camp in Centre County the first three days an only saw 6 doe on Monday. Took a nasty fall on a snowy, steep billy goat trail on Tuesday and cracked the stock on the .270! Hunted Tuesday and Wednesday at camp and did not see a deer. Hunted Thursday and Friday for an hour and 45 mins each day at home and did not see a deer. 4 days in a row without seeing a deer and all of the grumbling on here about the lack of deer had me down in the dumps. Ended up being up much later than I wanted on Friday night and I struggled to get up on Saturday morning. Had a stand in mind but was running late and chose a stand that was 20 minutes walking closer to the house. Promised my wife that I would climb down at 8:30 a.m. to go with her and my son to breakfast with Santa. Was in the stand 15 minutes before daylight. Did not see a thing until 8:10 a.m. when I caught a glimpse of a buck for a split second. Got the gun up and waited for him to come around a blow down about 110 yards out....took the shot with the .243 and he bolted down through the thick stuff but I knew he was hit. All happened in about 5 seconds. Climbed down and picked up a really good blood trail. Followed the bllod trail for about 200 yards and past two other guys who were coming out. Jumped him and decided to back out and give him some time (not really what I wantd to do with the orange army out on a Staurday). Told the wife and son that I was skipping breakfast with Santa because I had to find this deer. Gave him about 45 minutes and got back on the trail...jumped him again after about another 150 yards. Stayed on a very, very spotty blood trail for probably another 200 yards. Was losing any blood but a drop here and a drop there....kept thinking how tough they really are but I have never lost a deer and I was not going to lose this one. Finally saw him going into posted land that is leased! Picked up sparse blood trail where we went into the posted ground. Stood at the border of the posted land figuring out my next move when I saw two hunters on the posted land coming towards me......told them what was up and they called the guy that has the lease who was in his treestand - they were also hunting the lease with permission. He gave me the OK and I told them that I know the buck was within 75 yards of us. We split up and began walking into the posted land. We walked about 40 yards and heard a shot close by..the guy tells me that one of their guys just shot the buck from his stand and that I hit it in the hind quarter.....I said no way that was my buck. Just then I saw antlers in a blow down 30 yards in front of us and it was my buck. He expired just as we got to him. The other guy shot an 8 point that must have been hit by a car in the back end. These guys were great - helped me with the drag, let me use their deer cart, gave me ride back to my house and even gave me an adult beverage back at their camp site - cannot say enough good things about them and great to know that their are some true sportmen still around. My shot was through the front shoulder. Bottom line: 1) Do not ever give up until the last second of the last day no matter how slow it has been. 2) Even if you only have 5 minutes left in the stand stay there! 3) Do not give up on a wounded deer. This season really tested me but you have got to stick with it!
Here is the buck:
My son was OK with me missing breakfast with Santa: