Fortunately I was able to fill my tag, unfortunately it was not with the King Toad Ihad seen and documented in my, still in shock, thread. Nor was it a bruiser 28 inch or better buck which I would like to take at some point before my hunting career ends. But, hopefully good health willing I still got years ahead of me to pursure that goal. Now don't think for one minute I'm not proud of this buck. He's a beauty nice boxy 4x4 and the hunt was good something I'm proud and meats in the freezer. So, all around a succesfull venture that as always was fun and exhilirating. Makes one feel alive to be out in the field enjoying the solitude and beauty of nature.
I did a day hunt which a good friend of mine tagged along with me about a week ago. On the morning of that hunt with cold temps and a foot of snow we managed to spot one buck unfortunately about 400 yards away and moving into deep cover. He looked really good even from that distance but I opted to hit another area rather then try to persue him into the rough country he went into. On the last hunt of that day I tried using a grunt tube to make some doe estrus bleats and buck grunts. After waiting about ten minutes after that I used a jack in distress hand call to mimick a fawn in distress a few times and waited. With about 20 minutes of light left I decided to head back to the truck. I peaked further out from the cedar I was hiding behind and wouldn't you know it I spot a beauty of a buck broadside staring right at me. Unfortunately he was about 100 yards off. He was obviously keyed on the sounds I was making. I can't say for sure if he would've come in but I have no doubt I never woulda seen him had I not called. Well, it was a bit of a Mexican stand off as I stared at him and he stared at me. This was a very nice buck I would say definitely hight twenties tall 4x4 rack. I knew with him seeing me there was no way I could walk right at him as he just kept staring at me. I know it was the longest of shots with a snow balls chance in hell but figured I had nothing to lose. So, I crept back around the tree and tried sneaking towards him with cedars blocking me from his view. Well, I made it maybe fifteen/twenty yards and I caught sight of him as he bounded into view then out of view and out of my life, ha ha!
Got back into there a few days ago intending to camp a couple of nights. First evening hunt didn't see anything but some cottontails. Got up and was off at day break the next day and first circuit I still hunted through again didn't pick anything up. I crossed over into another area by foot and hunted the bottom of a thickly timbered and rocky ridge where it opened up to the prairie. As I still hunted along I got busted by another mature buck which looked to be a 4x4. I don't know how I missed him I had looked that direction saw nothing looked out to the praire and glanced back and he was spinning before about fifty yards away and quickly bounded up the ridge into thick cover. I think he might have been bedded and I didn't see him at first glance and when I looked back he was up and hauling. I should have been more aware and focused. Lost that focus for a minute and lost a chance at a buck.
Well, headed back to camp to refuel the tank and take it to the limit for that afternoon evening hunt. Loaded up on a big caloric meal watered up good as well and headed back out at 1:00 pm. The wind was blowing in a South Eastern direction. I headed that direction about two miles across open prairie to get back into a smaller feeder canyon hunted that a few more miles east and north and then finally connected up a timbered ridge and hunt it back with the wind in my total favor back to camp which shoulda gotten me close to camp about dark that evening.
When I got the furthest north east I was going to go and started heading back south east with the wind in my favor I dropped into a little valley and hung on the edge of the timber on the shadowed side. I just crept along slowly scanning the other side and peeking around trees on my side. Almost getting to the end of this little valley and taking a peek I spy the classic tell tale mule deer sight of a white rump against the dark cover. I freeze and focus and pretty soon make out it's a doe and she's unwares of my presence with the estimated 10 mph wind both in my favor and masking any noise my measured steps are taking. As she would put her head down to feed I would take a step forward clinging to the trees and shadows. I was within bow range now when another doe steps out from the timber I freeze again. Not a minute later a buck steps out right from where the second doe did. I could see he was a 4x4 but not a huge monster. I guess I don't have the fortitude of a trophy hunter because I thought passing up this golden opportunity on a nice mature buck would be a mistake. Now if I had a week straight to live in that country I would have. But, the weather might keep me from getting in here again on my days off gas for the trips was getting expensive. I was neglecting doing some fun things with the wife.
The decision was made the bow drawn the deer unaware and I made a forty yard shot and watched the buck bolt around some trees and out of view. I sat down and felt the surge of adrenalin hit me. I felt good about the shot and waited about fifteen minutes and walked to where he stood when hit. I found blood right away and followed it around the tree on spots of snow that hadn't yet melted and found him about 25 yards further piled up with the does bolting away when they saw me.
Got down to business and got him ready for an early morning pack out and headed back to camp in the dark. Got to camp after a long walk ate a quick meal drank a couple brews in celebration and hit the hay. I love hunting with good friends and family but there is something to be said for occasional hunts where you are your only companion.
For those that read this long winded thing thanks! Good hunting to all and if I leave within the next half hour I got time try and go kill a coyote or bobcat in todays bitter cold weather.