I just joined this site recently and would like to share some of my hunting stories from the past. The first story is from two seasons ago. It's kind of a long read but I hope it gives you the feel of the hunt. Hope you enjoy........
Saga of Standing Deer
Four years ago I got my first game camera. Now it was just a cheap 35 mm film type but it was so much fun to see the pictures of animals that I had no idea were out there while I was not hunting. Notice I said ?while I was not hunting?. That will come back and haunt me later as I was hunting but not in the right spot.
The first year of pictures (2004) was your standard small bucks and does with turkeys, pigs, quail, rabbits and an occasional bobcat that had found it easier to hunt the quail and rabbits at the feeder than to search them out in the tall grass. Towards the end of the season a nice wide immature 8 pointer showed up that made me think that in a couple of years he could be a dandy buck to go after.
I don?t think that I even shot a deer all season but with this new toy the season as a whole was a booming success just because of the pictures themselves.
As the next year began (2005) I was filled to the brim with 35mm snapshots from the previous year and starting of the new season. I received another camera this year as a birthday gift and now I had one for each of my two feeders. Sure enough that nice 8 pointer showed back up and this time he had a new trick at getting the corn out of the feeder with out it going off. I got several pictures of him standing on his hind legs and licking the spinner to get the corn. One of the guys at camp dubbed him as the ?Spin Lick Deer? but I decided to call him ?Standing Deer?. One afternoon during the gun season I was lucky enough to see this deer come in and treat me to his standing routine. As I watched him I decided not to take him and wait for next year during the archery season. He would be a great buck with the bow. So this year ended with my son taking a nice basket 10 point for his first ever buck. I ended the season with high expectation for the next year bow season and getting after this wide 8point Standing Deer.
The 2006 season started with another new camera. This time it was a digital type that I could load the pictures on my computer and not have to develop film. By this time I had acquired a file cabinet drawer full of snap shot pictures. Standing Deer had been coming in all during the summer and into the fall giving me picture after picture of how good he was at getting to the corn without the spinner going off. Often he was the only deer coming to the feeder because the batteries were dead and there was no corn on the ground for the other deer. During archery season I didn?t miss a weekend and often took days off just to get a crack at the Standing Deer. Only problem was that at this time the only pictures I had of him were at night. For three more weekends into the gun season I continued to bow hunt for him. I was getting pictures of him but I never saw him in person for the rest of the season.
The 2007 season started with yet another digital camera as my two 35mm cameras petered out. At this time the Standing Deer was the only thing I could think about. People that know me could tell you that I was obsessed with getting this deer. Other hunters in camp had gotten pictures of the Standing Deer and kept calling it my deer. I would tell them that if they say him to shot him. All I wanted was to measure the spread of his antlers. A since of urgency had set in now that the other guys had been noticing this deer and during the archery season I was hyped to the max. I just knew that I would get a shot at the Standing Deer. It wasn?t to be because all bow season long I didn?t even have a single buck in range of my bow.
Along with not seeing the buck (except in pictures), I had lost both my parents this year and was spending time dealing with that. Gun season had started and I decided to hunt the Standing Deer with my Dad?s rifle. After shooting his gun to make sure it was still on target I was confident that I could get the job done with it. Remember earlier in the story I said that the cameras would haunt me and tell me what animals were out there when I was not. Well, I was haunted twice during the gun season I would choose to hunt a certain feeder only to find out later after checking the cameras that the Standing Deer was at the other feeder during shooting hours.
It?s now the last weekend of the season and Friday morning I decide to take off work at lunch and try to get a Friday evening hunt in to add to my last chance weekend. When I arrive at my feeder and blind I check the pictures from the week before in the camera. Standing Deer is there in the pictures during shooting hours. From Tuesday that week to Friday morning the only time he wasn?t at the feeder was Wednesday evening. FRIDAY MORNING he?s in the feeder and its FRIDAY EVENING right now!!!!!!! I hurry and scamper up to the blind with great expectations of what could happen in just a few hours from now. As I?m settling in with my equipment and gadgets I?m nervously scanning the brush for any sign of Standing Deer. At 5pm the feeder goes off. Nothing shows up except a pair of blue jays to eat their fill of corn. 5:30pm the feeder goes off again. Nothing at all shows up. As the sun starts to set I lean back and figure that this is going to be another evening like all the rest and I?ll just have to wait until tomorrow. At 6 o?clock I look at my watch and am trying to figure out which direction would be best to leave the blind. In most of the pictures that I had of Standing Deer for this week he was coming from my left into the feeder. Just as I was making up my mind to exit to the right of the feeder I glance out my left window to study the trees and bushes that I figured he would come from. THERE?S A DEER?IT?S A BUCK?.IT?S STANDING DEER???
My heart just about jumps out of my chest. He?s standing there looking in the direction of the blind at about 60 yards. I?m motionless from the neck up and trying to reach for the rifle without moving my shoulders. He starts walking towards me and I notice a bad limp in his step. He turns left and is headed for the feeder which it about 100 yards away. I raise the binoculars and can not figure out why he?s limping. I tell myself ?to hell with his limp put the gun out the window stupid?. As I find him in the scope he?s now about 70 yards quartering away from me. It?s a pretty steep angle and I?m wishing he would turn a little more broad side. Just then he stopped and as he did he turned just enough. KABOOM? I let it rip and all I could see through the recoil was him turning to his left and he was gone back the way he came. At this point I?m frantically trying to figure out which bush he disappeared behind. Ok, I got the bush marked. I take a deep breath and sit back and replay the whole thing again and again. It takes forever for 10 minutes to go buy and it?s getting dark. I decide to go look at where I shot him. No blood, no hair, cheap little flashlight. As I walk to the bush he vanished behind a pack of coyotes tuned up not more than 100 yards to the west. That?s all I need is for them to find him before I could. At the bush the cheap flash light is no help and I decide to get back to truck and retrieve a better light. Just as I turn around and walk about 10 yards there is this shape in the weeds that can not be mistaken. It?s him?Standing Deer is lying down??..I was so excited to see him up close and personal then it hit me that four years of history and the two years of hard hunting for him was over. Now instead of pictures on my wall I can put his mount up there and remember all the anticipation and hard hunting that went into taking the STANDING DEER.
He had a 26 5/8" inside spread.
Here is why he was limping. Ouch.....a bad hang nail.