Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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!

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