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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Steeler Country 2D/2C
This is going to be a little long winded . Also the things I am about to say may come across as pretentious so please understand I will be the first to say I am far from being a expert.
I will start with how it went down. Slept in that morning and was upset but not overly upset being it was still early in the season. Sat around the house debating what my plan would be for the day. Came to the conclusion that since muzzleloader was in I would head to the mountains instead of the river bottoms because my odds were slim to none of running into other hunters. My plan was get up there and scout with my climber on my back looking for something good to set up on. When I got back to my intended area I started finding fresh sign all over the ridge. Big fresh rubs all over the place which really got me excited. I scouted mostly the leeward side of the mountain( I will get to that later ) and after a few hours my gut kept telling me to go over on the north facing slope.
So I headed that direction and dropped down to a spot I have frequented for the last several years. In fact I shot a buck there on the 17th last year. Found rubs and a scrape and immediately looked for a good tree to set up in. This was around 2pm. Fourty minutes later heard a doe blow. Not good I thought. Then a half hour after that 3 coyotes came running up to me and stopped 50 yards out. They came from the beading area I was expecting the deer to come from. At this point I am ready to throw in the towel. At 5 pm I decided to grunt. Next thing I know this guy comes walking out from behind me. One of the last places I expected a deer to come from. So being that I was set up wrong I couldn’t stand because he would bust me being it was wide open. I analyzed the situation and new I had to shoot him after he cleared a tree in front of me bacause when he did he was going to start to angle up hill and also hit my wind stream. I pulled back and it seemed like an eternity until he stepped out. For whatever reason I felt more comfortable using my first pin on this shot so I aimed a little high. I am set up out to 30 with the first pin and he ended up being at 35 yards. Anyhow after the shot I thought I missed. No real reaction. He just sort of bolted and ran uphill. To my surprise when I got down my arrow was covered in blood. Looked for more and was only finding tiny specks. Now I am thinking I hit way too low and it wasn’t a fatal shot. Backed out and called my dad and brother to give me a hand. An hour or so later we met up and headed back in. None of us could find any blood so we bagan walking up hill. 200 yards later I shine my light to my left and there he was. I don’t like to bash products because everyone has their own experiences with things but I am done with Swackers. This is the second buck I double lunged with a crappy to non existent blood trail. My only theory is that they don’t fully expand until they pass through the hide and they somehow plug up the exit hole. Great penetration and internal devastation but they don’t leak. At least for me. So after all that I finally got home at 1030 last night.
Last thing........I have been following some highly regarded whitetail experts for the last few months. While I agree with their theories and try to learn from them they can also mess with your head. They had me convinced that bucks will only hang out and bed on the leeward side of the ridge. This one wasn’t. Also that hunting in the mountains before the rut was a losing proposition unless you can get in tight to their beds without being detected. I was probably a couple hundred yards from this ones bed.
Basically I began to feel like I wasn’t doing anything right and was beginning to obsess about all these minute details.
Also have others saying it’s too early to get a decent buck because the rut isn’t even close to starting.
Theories about the October lull also start up every year.
In the last three years I have shot bucks on the 21st , 17th, and 16th. All similar to this one.
My deal is persistence. Finding hot sign and hunting it. Not overhunting areas and staying mobile.
I am not a trophy buck hunter. Maybe if I followed the “experts “ advice I would of shot a 150 buck on the leeward side instead of this one. This one however is just fine for me and my busy lifestyle .
Maybe when the kids are older I will hold out for a giant.
Shot him above a rural town on public land with a high hunter population. It’s a 50 minute drive for me while the area I hunted is practically in their backyard . In 6 years I have yet to see another hunter back there .
Okay I am done. Thanks to those of you who took the time to read through my rambling.
Public Land Hunter
Last edited by steelhead125; 10-17-2018 at 10:45 AM.