The Blow Down Buck
Have you ever tried to quietly get thru or over a patch of blow- downs? In 1995, there was a storm in northern New York that took down hundreds of acres of trees in both Hamilton and Warren Counties. The big storm turned some parts of the Adirondacks into a disaster area. It curtailed Hunting, Hiking and the use of the big woods in general in many areas.
Always looking for a spot to hunt big whitetails gave me the idea to look at some of the hard hit areas. One of the Rangers said that there was a spot off Rte. 30 near Long Lake that was hit very hard. It was a large piece of state land, buried in downed trees.
Big Mike and I drove up there the first week of October to do some scouting. We took a light pack with first aid kit, water, and change of socks. When we first entered the area, it looked impossible. It was a tangled mess as far as one could see. In the five years since the storm, the second growth had taken over. The going was tough but the deer sign was great. By going over some and around others we were able to make our way in. We found lots of beds and droppings, some very big tracks. After three hours of looking around we had each found a spot to place our stands. The next weekend we placed the stands and scouted around some more. We began to find some impressive rubs, overall good buck sign.
Hunting the opening day of Black Powder was not the best as we had rain and big wind, not much moved. Opening day of rifle we hunted our favorite spot in the Cedar Flow. We decided to use the Blow Down Spot as a back up. Three weeks into the season and we could not find the big buck sign we were looking for in the Cedar Flow.
The week before Thanksgiving was a vacation week and we drove up to the Blow Down Spot for another try. The entire area between the stands was tore up with buck sign. There were scrapes and rubs all over the place. The problem was there was such a mess on the ground, I needed to get a big buck to come in close in order to get a shot off. I climbed down from the stand and headed over to a spot between two large downed pines.
Making a mock scrape, I put some Harmon’s Triple Heat on it and then put some on a drag rag and walked about one hundred yards in each direction pulling the rag behind me. I had a cup of coffee and climbed back up for another three-hour wait, I thought. It was not ten minutes later when I caught movement of a deer coming thru the tangled trees. It was amazing to see how easy they were able to get around in there.
It was a smaller buck and he was headed for my mock scrape. He had almost reached the scrape when he bolted off. I was unsure if he had winded me when the real reason for his sudden departure came in from my right. It was a much bigger buck heading for my scrape. He was following the scent from the drag rag. Putting down the Triple Heat was like ringing the dinner bell. This was the Adirondack Buck I came looking for.
I had a hard time controlling my excitement. When he turned broadside I put the cross hairs behind his shoulder and fired. The shot placement was perfect and the big guy went down hard. I stayed in the stand a few minutes to let my heart rate come down. Climbing down I headed over and took a good look.
Wow, what a buck I had fooled with my mock scrape. I counted 10 points and guessed his weight at over two hundred pounds. I had a great deal of respect for the animal at my feet and gave a quick prayer of thanks. Big Mike came over a few minutes later and congratulated me on my good luck. He had also seen a big one but had no shot. It was a good plan as the tangled trees were holding some fine bucks. Mike took my picture and I dressed out the buck. It would be another festive evening in the hunting camp.