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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After a fresh couple inches of snow on Sunday night into Monday, I headed to public land in Mckean County and had a place in mind based on looking over the topographic maps I wanted to get into Monday morning. I ended up walking almost 5 miles with only coming across two sets of tracks before I got into the area I wanted to explore. The woods were not what I expected and much thicker than anticipated. But I did finaly come across some really fresh tracks, with two of the deer looking like bucks tracks in the group. I started following them until they started to drop into a creek bottom that was way too far from the truck, so I backed off them and started working back toward the truck. After covering a lot more ground with seeing very little sign, I decided to go after the deer that I had been tracking.


I decided to come in from below them, but based on the map, it was going to be a hike getting into where I needed to be. I drove around to where I thought I needed to be, and started down into where I wanted to go, having never stepped foot into this area in my life. My first thought immediately was "how would I ever get a deer out of here." I ended up dropping almost 400 feet in elevation down through a draw, crossed a stream, and started up into the creek basin I wanted to be, and roughly the direction the deer tracks had been heading earlier. When I got into where I wanted to be I was almost 1.5 miles from the truck. Even with the fresh snow there was very little sign and no fresh tracks which was a bit discouraging.

I walked a little further up about halfway to the head of the stream, and based on my onyx map, was about 500 yards from where I saw the tracks heading earlier. I was in a creek bottom looking up onto a nice timbered hillside thinking this looks like the type of place you would see a deer in the big woods when I noticed a huge doe walking along a logging road about 70 yards above me. Mh heart jumped with excitement. Anyone that hunts the big woods with low deer density understands the feeling.


As I was watching her I noticed a deer way above her on the hill and put the binoculars on him, and instantly recognized a good frame. He looked like a big 8. As soon as I saw him he was gone before I knew it at close to 100 yards. I then shifted my attention back to the doe and noticed her turn and look behind her. Anyone that has watched undisturbed deer in the big woods in the winter, in the snow, knows the beauty of their movements and the quietness as they walk. Its hard to explain but I was enjoying it. I'm confident these deer have seen very few hunters let alone people in their lifetime. As she continued walking I noticed another doe behind hwer, then another deer behind that doe. Another buck. I'm in business. Finally, he emerges above me and I see all I need to see, and center the crosshairs of the 25-06 on his shoulders and take the shot. I see the does run but not him. I walk up the hill and find him lying there and could not be more satisfied. A nice 17 inch, 2.5 year old true mountain buck.


Instantly reality set in and I thought to myself "how am I going to get this deer out of here." It was about 230PM and I quickly gutted him, then realized I better take a picture before I start dragging.


Well finally 1.4 miles later and right at dark, I got him up to the road where I was parked. Every ounce of my body was utterly exhausted. The last 1/2 mile was all up the mountain, and during that time, I would drag him about 50 yards before falling to the ground in pure exhaustion. Thank goodness I'm in the shape I am. Even being able to run a 6:15 mile at 40 years old and being in the best shape of my life was still no match for the ordeal of getting this deer out of the woods without any help.


Sorry about the lousy and awful picture-pics were the last thing on my mind.
 

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In 2003, I had one of those drags. I shot an 8 pt on the last Friday afternoon. I was on top of an old strippings high wall. It took me over an hour just to get the deer to the top of the high wall where I shot from. Then nearly a mile drag, mostly uphill, in 8 inches of snow to get back to the truck. Even though the buck was gutted, I think he felt better than me when I got back to camp.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is the pic

Pic of buck
 

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Congrats on the deer.
 

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Awesome buck. Awesome story. On monday I found myself a little over a mile from the truck as the crow flies looking into a big draw at about 2:45pm. As anyone knows there are no straight lines in the woods. At that point I determined my best course of action was to move a little closer to the truck because if I shot something where I was I needed to go up and over 2 mountains to get the buck back to the truck and with no snow and no help it would have been a long night.
 

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Great story and buck, congrats!
 

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Great buck! Thanks for sharing your story!
 

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Nice one and great story! I have an ILBE pack and most of my hunting is deep in and treacherous cliffs. It’s a little extra walking but I leave the pack and if I’m successful I grab it and game bags/saw. Then process where it lays and pack out the meat. It’s the only way a lot of times. I kind of perfected the process minus packout hunting in the south. If you fill multiple tags in one evening and it’s 60-70 degrees you have to break them down fast. The “gutless” method works well if your careful.
 
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