Tuesday, December 4, 2012

MO Firearms 2012 Harrison County Style

The 2012 MO Firearms opener was finally here and my brother-in-law Joe and I headed up to my friends farm in Harrison Co, Missouri. It was a last minute invite for Joe, so when we arrived early Friday afternoon we immediately headed out to hang Joe's stand.

-Day 1-

In typical Missouri opening weekend fashion, it was hot and windy. I headed to the set that I shot my buck out of earlier in the year. It's a funnel along a creek bottom and Joe went to his new ladder set overlooking a big bottom. At first light I immediately had action with three does passing by. Not too long after I was sitting there enjoying the morning when I looked up to see a doe coming through the funnel followed by a nice 2.5 year old 8 pointer. They came right into bow range at 15 yards. The buck was a nice looking deer but just not what I was looking for straight out of the gates. He was also heading right towards Joe and I was hoping he would get a shot at him.

The buck did cruise by Joe but he also decided it was what he was looking for and the buck was passed again. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful for Joe and I. We saw a few more does and the day finally came to an end with no shots fired.

-Day 2-

Day 2 was a total 180 from the previous day. We woke up to pouring  rain, so Joe and I decided to hunt my buddies box blind to stay out of the elements. As the morning progressed the rain let up just a bit so I decided to slip out of the blind and hunt a bean field not too far from the box. As I got into position I looked out in the field and noticed a mini standing there at 85 yards feeding. With an itchy trigger finger and wanting to let the new Tikka bark I decided it was the perfect time to see what the new .270 could do. I put the cross hairs on old boy and let it rip! The little button only held it for 20 yards before piling up and I was excited to get my first deer down.

After Joe and I got the mini hung up in the barn we decided to hunt a new area with two box blinds. As we were walking slowly through the CRP field I looked to the south and noticed a giant buck standing there about 300 yards out broadside with two smaller bucks and a doe. I melted down and went into scramble mode and after five botched shots...yes five shots! Old boy finally had enough and took off. Hind side is always great and after thinking about it we should have crawled down to get closer...school boy mistake, for sure! The deer headed towards a small food plot so I decided to check it out to see what else was moving around. As soon as I get to the plot I notice a forky standing there starring into the timber. I knew there were more deer there so I waited them out. A couple minutes later out popped a decent 3 year old 8 pointer chasing the forky around. A few anxious minutes went by before he finally presented me a shot. As soon as he stepped into the clearing I let the .270 bark again and deer number two was down and it was celebration time again! I have had my best year to date and this just topped it off! 

After getting the buck back to the cabin and showing him off it was time to get Joe on a buck. My buddy told us to go check out his 160 farm, so Joe and I were off. As we were heading in I look up and at 300 yards a good buck and doe were feeding in one of his food plots. Joe anchored down and let the 30.06 rip twice but unfortunately he didn’t connect and he was down in the dumps for the rest of the afternoon.

Right at the end of shooting light we still hadn’t seen another deer, so we decided to walk back to the truck in hopes of getting lucky. Well we spotted a doe at 150 yards and this time Joe’s shot was true and he had his first deer kill in several years.

Overall we had a fantastic weekend and Thanks again to my buddy for letting Joe and I hunt your awesome farm…much appreciated! The weekend ended up pretty good with 26 deer killed, 6 of them were nice bucks. Oh yeah and the buck that Joe and I passed up opening morning. Well my buddies dad connected on him that evening…congrats!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grave Robber


Nick, Greg and I met up Sunday afternoon and burned some boot leather scouting the property we were selected for a MDC managed hunt on in mid-December. We found several good areas with a lot of deer sign as well as some areas to scout this weekend while hanging our stands.

After our scouting trip we headed up to north KC to hunt our urban hot-zone. This particular piece of property is surrounded by neighborhoods, but it's covered up with deer and the owner wants a lot of them thinned out....so we try to oblige him.

I hunted a stand on the top of the hill overlooking some of the nasty bedding cover on the east side of the property. At 4:45pm I spotted seven does and minis working through the cover and headed towards a small cemetery plot about 90yrds north of my setup. Several minutes later the entire group popped out up top and headed into the cemetery and started eating flowers off of headstones, which I took offense too.

After surveying the lay of the land I decided I could get down and sneak around the low side of the hill and up to the edge of the cemetery plot. There is a large cement monument on the left side of the plot entry gate and that was going to be my ambush point. I was able to get up to the monument undetected and the waiting game started. There is a decorative 3' fence around the cemetery and even though we have permission to hunt it, I wasn't going to shoot into the actual cemetery. After a couple minutes of watching the group devour flowers and grass in the plot one of the minis decided it was time to move on and started heading for the cemetery gate. The monument allowed me to get drawn without alerting the deer and when the mini exited the cemetery it was 3-4yrds from the tip of my arrow. He was walking at a casual pace and at that distance I wasn't going to try and stop him, so when his front leg stepped forward I touched off the shot and the little grave robber tore out across the asphalt parking area and into the thick cover. The shot was on the money and the little guy only held it for roughly 50-60yrds before giving up the ghost. It wasn't a textbook hunt by a long stretch, but when you're hunting an urban setting sometimes you have to improvise to get the job done.  

2012 MO Firearms Business

Scott rolled into town from MN on 11/9/12 for the start of Missouri's 2012 firearms season. Like years past, we'd planned to hunt the Macon Co. property for the entire week.

Opening morning the wind was wrong for some of our best stands, so Scott hunted the Graveyard and I climbed into the Poachers Pond stand. There wasn't a lot of movement, but we both saw a few deer and were able to pull several of our camera cards. Saturday evening Scott hunted the Gash and had 9 deer out in the field, but no shooters. I hunted the ground blind about 300yrds north of him and only had a single doe come out in the meadow, no shots fired. 

Sunday's forecast called for heavy rain moving in early and settling in until 4pm, so we made the decision to sleep in and get rested up for the remainder of the week. The rain started around 8:30am and it poured most of the afternoon. The radar showed the front moving through around 4pm, so we headed to the farm and slid into the ground blind to wait out the storm. Someone forgot their rain gear, so we had to improvise a little bit in order to stay dry on our walk in. The only deer we saw were two minis feeding in the cut beans.
The temps dropped off with the weather front pushing through and Monday morning was cold and clear. I was hunting in the South Meadow stand and at 8:30am I heard deer coming down the hill from the south. A doe and mini made their way into the bottom and milled around for a while. I waited for about five minutes to see if her boyfriend would show up and then it was going to be doe killing time. The doe worked her way into 18yrds and was standing directly in a large scrape when the .06 barked for the first time in 2012. She held a solid neck shot for 40yrds before the lights went out. I had a couple small bucks work through after that, but nothing mature.
Tuesday morning was once again cold, clear and there was a light layer of frost on the ground...ideal conditions for deer to be moving and we weren't disappointed. Scott rolled into The Beach stand and I slipped into the North Ridge stand. There were several deer in the draw east of my set and I could here bucks grunting and chasing prior to legal shooting light. At 7:40am Scott's .06 barked for the first time, followed up shortly by another shot...two does down! Just after 8am Scott touched off another round and his third doe of the morning was piled up. Shortly after that I heard the Ruger bark again. After killing the third doe a nice 3yr old 8 point worked down the ridge behind the stand. He was inside 50yrds when Scott shot, but the buck just stood there looking around before finally running off to the northeast untouched. We're not sure how he missed that chip shot, but there was no sign of  hit and Scott was pretty disappointed with himself.

We'd planned to meet on the road at 9am and get his nannies pulled out and hung in the barn, but at 8:57am I heard footsteps coming out of the east draw, so I grab the bow and got ready. A mature doe and mini worked up the saddle right in front of me and when the doe got to 12yrds I sent the arrow on it's way. The hit looked perfect, but she didn't react like normal and after bounding off to 30yrds she just stopped and stood in place for about 90 seconds. I could see the entry wound right behind her shoulder but didn't see any blood, so I nocked another arrow and dumped a second shaft into the boiler room. Ol' Girl wasn't holding both shafts and she went down inside on 40yrds. We had a little bit of work to do, to say the least.
That evening Scott slid into Poachers Pond and I climbed back into the South Meadow stand. I had only seen a couple squirrels and birds all afternoon and shooting light was fading fast, when I heard a buck grunt over the top of the hill. I immediately grabbed the VECtor grunter and can call and responded with several grunts and doe bleats. The response was immediate as I spotted a huge bodied deer tear over the top of the meadow and start thrashing trees and working a scrape in the the bottom corner. I couldn't tell much about his antlers, but his body size absolutely indicated a mature deer. With only 2-3 minutes of legal shooting time left I got aggressive and let out two more challenging grunts on the VECtor and the buck had heard enough. He grunted one more time and started coming down the meadow edge with his ears pinned back and all stiff legged looking for the competition. I quickly threw up the binos and all I saw was mass and big brow tines....for sure shooter. I tired stopping him in the first two shooting lanes, but he kept coming. He finally pulled up after I "muuurrrpped" loudly at him, the only problem was there was brush covering the lower 3/4 of his chest. As badly as I wanted to bow kill him I wasn't going to let him walk, so I quickly swapped the bow out for the .06 and let it do it's thing. The 22yrd shot was on the money and the buck tried making up the meadow hill, but after 25yrds or so the lights went out and he rolled back down the hill towards me. I knew he was a mature buck, but really had no idea how big he truly was because it all happened so fast. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked up on him and saw that he had everything...huge body, mass, big brows, and tall g2s and 3s. He's the biggest buck we've killed off the farm to date both body and antler wise. 
 What's cool about this buck is that I'd never seen him on the farm before then, but when we got back to the hotel that night and checked the camera cards he showed up Sunday afternoon and worked a scrape right by Poachers Pond. It's a good thing I turned the camera to video mode for the first time all year on Saturday, when I pulled the card.

We hunted until Thursday afternoon but the deer movement slowed down considerably and we had a lot of venison in the freezer already, so Scott headed back up to MN that afternoon and I rolled back into KC to prepare for the Smithville Lake Disabled hunt I was guiding at that weekend.

I met up with the disabled hunter I was going to guide; William Hall early Saturday morning prior to the safety meeting and check-in at Smithville. We were hunting blind 13 to start with and we started seeing deer as soon as it was light enough to see. Around 7:30am a mini came hauling out of the draw in front of us and William wasted very little time laying the smack down.

Saturday evening we hunted blind 13 again and saw several deer, but no good bucks and all the mature does where over 200yrds away. Sunday morning William decided to change blinds and selected a blind overlooking a cut corn field. The action was pretty slow to start the morning, but around 8:15am I spotted two does that had slipped in on us. William got his gun settled on the shooting sticks and dropped #2 in her tracks. It was the perfect way to close out another great Missouri firearms season. 

I've still got one MO archery buck tag,  a managed archery hunt in December, and several antlerless tags in my pocket so I'm hoping to add some more meat to the freezer and bone on the wall in the next month. I just hope the good luck continues!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Logan's 1st Deer

11/3/2012 - Opening day of the MO 2012 Youth Season

Logan and Scott made the trip down from Minnesota Friday afternoon and met me at MWT member CallaoJoe's cabin. I'd made it up to the farm earlier in the day and setup the Double Bull for Saturday morning's hunt and pulled a couple trail camera cards. We had a big spaghetti and meatball dinner and got to bed early in preparation for the following morning. 

I'd setup the DB just off the main farm road on the NW side of The Beach, the knoll provided us good cover and an excellent shooting window into the bottom. We were settled into the blind by 6:40am and anxiously awaited legal shooting time. Around 7:20am Scott and I spotted movement down on The Beach at about the same time. Three does were working through from the east, but we could tell they were being bumped and acting nervously. They all quickly cut up the hill next to our rifle stand and never stopped to offer a shot. In six years of hunting that area I've never seen a single deer cut up that hill and was a little dejected that they decided to that morning. About 45 minutes later Logan said "deer" and Scott and I focused on the area he was looking. Sure enough a small buck popped out of the drainage following the same trail the does used earlier; only moving slower. Logan got settled on the shooting sticks a said he was on the buck good. The adrenaline was starting to kick in and for a second we thought Logan was going to hyperventilate, but he got his breathing under control and touch off the shot...only problem was that his head was off the rifle nanoseconds after squeezing the trigger ask "did I kill him?", it was a clean miss.

Logan was pretty disappointed in himself and he was trying like the devil to hold back tears and be tough about it. We may or may not have noticed a tear or two while he was turned away looking out his side of the blind for the next 15 minutes. After talking about the miss and explaining to Logan that we've all missed his spirits improved and we had a great time watching all the wildlife and messing around in the blind for the rest of the morning. Around 10:45am we decided to go grab some lunch, but I wanted to show Logan more of the farm and pull the other camera cards I didn't get to the day before.

We pulled into the south meadow and headed down the hill to a camera I'd set up on several scrapes the week before. I'd literally just turned the engine off when Scott looked over and said "is that a deer?". Sure enough there was a deer feeding up the hill about 115yards away, but it was in a drainage dip and we could just see the top of it's back. We got Logan out and moved down the hill trying to get a better angle, but the dip in the field was still preventing Logan from getting a good sight picture. We were moving further down the hill when the deer finally picked it's head up and looked at us. We got on the sticks quickly, thinking the deer was going to run up or down hill but to our amazement it started trotting right at us. Logan was on the sticks and said he was on the deer, but it continued to close the distance without any sign of slowing up. Finally around 30yards out the deer angled downhill and stopped giving Logan a great shot. Wee-man touched off the round and absolutely hammered the deer! It made it out of the meadow, but it wasn't going to hold that shot very long and the celebration erupted!!! Logan, Scott and I were all kinds of wound up and several hugs and knuckle bumps followed in the aftermath.

After a couple minutes of waiting I quietly slid into the timber and spotted Logan's trophy laid up in the bottom of the draw. I knew it was a button buck once it started towards us in the meadow, but Logan thought he'd shot a doe so I didn't say anything to him. His reaction when he found out that he'd killed a "BIG BUCK" is a memory Scott and I will go to our graves with, it was priceless!!


Tagging his first deer and helping drag it out....

That evening CallaoJoe had several MissouriWhitetails.com members over for an antelope, pheasant, gator and jambalaya feast and Logan got to tell his 'Big Buck" story to the whole crew...it was the icing on the cake!

Logan reflecting on the day by the camp fire with his trophy
The Walkers invite Logan out to their farm the next morning for a coyote hunt and he was all-in on that adventure. Unfortunately I told Scott I'd drive his new Explorer and when I looked down and noticed I was doing about 68mph in a 55 zone right about the same time I spotted the MO Hwy Patrol car, I knew it was going to be another first for the weekend. The cherries came on and I proceeded to get my first ticket ever. The officer was very nice and congratulated Logo on his deer while telling me to slow it down. As I pulled away Logan said "Uncle Pete, I'm gonna call you The Ticket from now on" salt in the wound boy, salt in the wound. 

We didn't kill any yotes but Logan got to put a few rounds down range with CallaoJoe's .223 AR and Randy gave him a little driving lesson on the mule. It was a prefect finish to an amazing weekend with family, both blood and MWT!

Scott is headed back down to MO this Friday and we'll be spending the entire week hunting the Macon Co. property.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NW Nebraska 2012

Better late than never....I was invited to hunt NW Nebraska with several good friends from MissouriWhitetails.com October 13-19 and jumped at the opportunity. It was a DIY archery hunt on mostly public property for mule deer, whitetails and turkeys. We arrived at our cabins mid-afternoon on the 13th and took a little drive around the area to scout. The NW corner of Nebraska was ravaged by forest fires about two months prior and the damage effected several good areas the boys had hunted in past years. Despite the burned areas we still spotted tons on wildlife and found some promising areas to focus on for the week.

Sunday morning I headed out with Rob to glass at the Chisel Plow, which required us to hike back in about 1.5miles to our vantage point. The sunrise was amazing and it was great to finally be burning some leather and covering ground. We spotted several mule deer does (can't shoot them on public property) and a couple of whitetails, but no antlers were spotted in the flats and coolies.

That afternoon we met you with Dexter who is a local farmer and has allowed the group to shoot does and turkeys off his property the last several years. We got ground blinds set for the evening hunts and headed back to camp to get ready. On the way back out to hunt we spotted a large group of turkeys and Andy drew the first blood of trip when his arrow found it's mark. That evening Seth and Darrin doubled up on whitetail does early on and Andy torched his 2nd turkey, all while Rob and I watched roughly 100 deer and uncountable numbers of turkeys in every field but the one we were sitting in.

We hunted hard on Monday and Tuesday, but warm temps and high winds were limiting daytime movement. We all had good encounters, but sealing the deal was not in the cards. Andy and I were pinned down by 18 mule deer and several whitetails one morning, but none of them came to the water tank we'd set up on. Tuesday evening the temperatures dropped, the wind laid down slightly a deer poured out into the grain fields. Darrin and I were hunting the same blind him and Seth doubled up out of a couple nights earlier. The parade of deer started around 5:45pm and by 6:30pm we had another double on whitey does in the books. We both made perfect shots and neither of the animals made it over 85yrds. This was my first archery kill out of a blind as well as the first archery kill I got witness someone else make; it was a pretty memorable sit! Seth also killed his 2nd whitetail doe of the trip, but we decided to recover her the next morning based on the shot. She didn't go more than 150yrds and it made for a quick recovery.

Wednesday and Thursday were a sight to behold weather wise!!! We had sustained winds in excess of 50mph with gust up to almost 70mph and all of the dust blowing out of the burn areas created an cloudy haze that made it look like the hills were still burning. We all toughed it out and hunted, but movement was nonexistent after first light and the high winds required us to get inside close proximity to take a shot. Thursday Seth and I decided to go for broke and spent all day spot & stalking the big coolies. We got on a nice group of mule deer early and after working them for several hours. They walked by between 40-60 yards but never stopped moving. We were literally yelling at them, but with the high winds they didn't even look at us. 

Around 11am we moved over to Dexter's south canyon and immediately were pinned down by a small mule deer buck and does. After a couple minutes of glassing them inside 50yrds we spotted more deer in the bottom and a giant 160"+ 12point whitetail and a 140" 8point made their way right up to the mule deer and bedded down. We can't shoot bucks on the private ground, so it was cool and sickening being that close to a world class animal. We stalked the entire canyon system and about half way through Seth spotted a flock of turkeys working through the bottom towards us. Your ambush spot was ideal and we let the whole flock work with 18-28yards before making our move. I pinned the first bird and seconds later Seth's arrow in flight. The excessive winds actually helped mask our movements and we'd just double up on archery turkeys. Several hundred yards up the canyon we spotted the giant whitetail and his side kick bedded down and stalked within 60yards of them for the second time in under 2 hours. 


That evening Andy smoked his last turkey of the trip and closed out our 2012 NW Nebraska adventure. It was a cool experience and hunt and I'm already looking forward to 2013!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mo Managed Hunt...13 Pointer Down!!

With 5 preference points built up for the MO managed hunts I decided to roll the dice and put in for the for a local hunt that is full of deer! The area hasn’t been hunted since 1995 (legally) and Pete and I knew if we were lucky enough to get drawn that the chances of shooting a good buck would definitely be better than average.

As luck would have it I got drawn for the first hunt and Pete, Nick, and Greg got selected for the late hunt. My hunt was right smack dab in the middle of the rut and I had high hopes of getting a crack at a good buck.

Opening morning was slow and I botched the one opportunity I had on a doe and hit her high in the back; we couldn't find her. Not feeling confident in my first set after walking the area for the doe I lost, I decided to sit in my second set. 

After making the long walk in I was finally settled in for afternoon by 1:45pm. Tree rats were moving everywhere but the deer were nowhere to be found.Around 5:30pm a doe worked into to 30 yards and I crushed her. She only made it 60 yards before piling up. Since this hunt is an earn a buck, it was time to focus on putting some bone down.

I decided to hunt the same stand as the previous night. It was another beautiful morning in the MO deer woods. Luckily I made it into the stand without spooking any deer and I had this gut feeling that it was going to be a really good morning. At first light I heard walking and spotted two does feeding back to the east of me. They stuck around for fifteen minutes before working out of the area.

About 8:35am I got a text from another hunter on the property. He was asking if I'd been seeing anything yet. I hadn’t put my phone away for more than a minute when I looked to the west and noticed another doe feeding around. As I was watching her I heard a deer come crashing in from the east. She came right into 10 yards and stopped and started looking over her shoulder. I didn’t hesitate and immediately stood up and grabbed the bow. As soon as I turned in the direction she came from all I could see was this giant buck come trotting over the hill heading directly at me. The doe took off and he came right into 12 yards and stopped broadside. I was already drawn back so I took a deep breath and settled in. As I touched off the shot I watched the arrow hit home. The buck did a mule kick and took off. As he ran past me I could see blood pouring out of him. Shortly after making it out of sight I heard big crash and everything went silent.

At this point I was shaking like a little school girl and had to sit down and compose myself. I grabbed my phone because I had to let the boys know I just smoked a big buck.

After about ten minutes had gone and me still in disbelief of what had just happened the sun started to poke through the trees more.  I was looking through the timber and I spotted a white belly laying there and I knew he was down for the count! I decided the wait was over so I packed up my gear and headed over there to see how big he really was. As I got closer I couldn’t believe my eyes. All I saw was a giant bodied deer with a huge rack sticking up.

The buck ended up having 13 scoreable points and will easily be in the mid 150s class. By far my biggest buck ever.

With the MO firearms, MO youth, and Round two at Managed Hunt coming up there are sure to be more stories and bone hitting the dirt soon, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Double Down....

9/29/12 - Seth Trinklein, Greg Cole and I headed up to my Macon Co. property for a weekend archery hunt. Saturday morning I put Greg in the Booner set, Seth in the Beach set, and I settled into the North Ridge stand. It was a beautiful morning with temperatures in low 40s and a northwest wind, but the deer movement was pretty slow. Greg had seen a couple of does and minis work through east of his set and Seth and I had an encounter with the same yote, but neither of us could shank him.

Just before 8:30am I heard deer walking down the ridge from the north. I stood up, grabbed my bow and started scanning the ridge behind me for the source of the noise. I spotted three does walking down the middle of the ridge right on the trail I cut in August. The first nanny was the biggest and she worked past my cover tree on the right of my stand at 10yrds. The other two does stopped about even with my tree on the ridge and began eating acorns while the lead nanny continued down the ridge. When she was 22yrds out I gave her a soft grunt and she stopped and looked back at the other deer. My arrow was on it's way instantly and it hit home perfectly. She exploded down the ridge towards the road and Seth's stand, but the lights went out about 30yrds from the road.

The other two does just stood there and watched the first doe tear off down the ridge. They were a little nervous, but they had no idea what was going down. Almost immediately the next biggest doe started down the ridge towards where I shot the first doe. About half way there she did and about-face and started back up the ridge. I slowly nocked another arrow and  came to full draw. I let her get into 11yrds before softly grunting at her and when she stopped, I touched off arrow #2 in under 30 seconds. The arrow hit home and blood instantly starting pumping out of both sides. She took off headed north up ridge, but after 40yrds she couldn't hold it any longer and tipped over in a small ditch west of the main ridge top. The blood trail was beyond impressive and I could visibly follow it from my stand all the way up the ridge to where she fell. 

Saturday evening I sent Seth to the North Field stand, Greg was perched in the Washout stand, and I headed over to the South Meadow stand. Around 6:10pm the land owner came down and started cutting corn about 250yrds out from Greg's position. We all saw deer right before dark, but I'm sure the combine limited the amount of deer activity on the field, but a farmer is going to farm!

Sunday morning Seth sat in the Retarded Genius stand, Greg hunted Poachers Pond, and I sat down at the Beach. I had 3 long beards work in from the north ridge around 8:30am, but I could hear them gobbling the entire morning as they moved closer and closer to me. They never got inside of 40yrds, so they got walking papers. Greg got shutout at Poachers Pond and Seth had a great encounter with a doe and mini, but they didn't appreciate his shadow puppet show. With the deer at 10yrds Seth started to draw back and noticed his shadow was about 18" in front of the doe; who had her head down feeding. About the time Seth noticed it the doe came unglued and bolted north into the cover. It was a great weekend with great friends, I just wish I could have gotten them on deer instead of me.

We just got back from a Minnesota duck/goose hunt last night and we'll get that story posted this week; before I roll out to Nebraska for a mulie/whitetail DIY archery hunt with the Cole County Crew!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

MO Opening Day Double Tap

9/14/12 - I arrived at the north MO farm around 1:15pm on Friday afternoon to pull camera cards and jack around before opening day. I was very pleased with what I saw on the cameras.There were multiple shooters using the wash out to the south, including a new giant that I haven't seen before; looks to be in the 160-170's range and running with the short tined 10 that was one on my target deer.

9/15/12 - Opening morning found me set up in the Retarded Genius stand. I've had two target bucks coming through on the regular around 7am along with numerous does and I'd been planning to hunt that stand for the last month if the wind was out of the south at all, and it was. I'd planned to get in early to avoid bumping anything, but that backfired. There was a doe bedded right under the stand and she let me get about 10yrds away before she busted. She ran west about 30yrds and proceeded to stomp and blow at me for several minutes before calming down and working back in front of the stand prior to legal shooting time.

There were a couple does feeding in the field at first light, but they worked off to the south end towards the sanctuary before cutting into the timber. Just before 7am I caught more movement on the field edge and watched the first gray fox I've seen mouse around the field for several minutes. I tried squeaking it in for a closer look, but it was preoccupied with finding breakfast in the field. At 7:25am I spotted a single doe working down my entry trail off the field. She came all the way up to the base of my tree, before back tracking towards the pond. At 12yrds she starting angling to the SE and gave me a perfect quartering away shoot which I took full advantage of. I put a great heart shot on her and she piled up inside 40yrds right on the field edge and the start of my entry trail, bless her soul; no dragging required.
I helped Roger change the oil on several of his tractors and repaired a couple of leaky hoses mid-morning, ya gotta keep the land owner happy! I worked up my doe and headed back into town for a little siesta before the evening hunt.

Based on the camera pictures and a SE wind gusting to 20mph in the forecast for the evening, I was headed to the Water Way stand. I was settled in by 3:45pm and just sat back and soaked up the scenery for about three hours.

Just before 6:45pm I spotted the first deer of the evening, a doe with twins. They came right up the drainage ditch under the stand and chased each other around for several minutes before heading up to the pond. Right at 7pm I spotted a big 140" class 8 point working out of the timber across the levee. I have several pictures of him and had already decided to pass him, because I believe he's only a 3 year old. From that point on deer poured into the field from the timber and out of corn. Around 7:30pm I spotted the short tined 10 step out south of drainage. He stood and surveyed the field for quite sometime before making a move. He finally started walking the bottom side of the levee towards my stand, but he kept stopping and checking his surroundings and eying all the other deer in field. With almost 20  other deer, including two other target bucks in the bean field I was sure he'd head that way. Luckily I was wrong and he decided to about face and walk up the drainage towards the pond. When he cleared the right side of my cover tree I grunted at him softly and he stopped to check it out; my arrow was on the way almost instantly. The hit was great and the buck mule kicked and exploded out of the drainage to the south. All the other deer erupted out of the field and it was kind of chaotic watching them run in every direction, but my buck was already staggering before he got on top of the levee. I heard him crash up top and start coughing, so I just gathered my gear and quietly slid out of the area.

After meeting the Walkers and Pat for a great dinner we headed back to track Ol' Boy. As we drove across the levee I could see him laying just inside the timber just off the levee road, so we where able to drive within feet of him. He was a known 5 year old on the farm and had an enormous body, but was just never going to amount to much score wise; but I was still tickled to death killing him. It was an amazing start to the 2012 season and more than I could have asked for on opening weekend.
 I'm going to be on doe patrol until the Nebraska trip in mid-October, but I'm sure I'll be able to suck it up. I'm looking forward to hunting with some good friends from MWT over the next couple of weekends, then head to Minnesota with a Yankee and Kansas GayHawk fan for their first waterfowl hunt ever. 2012 is off to a great start!