New Jersey Deer Hunting Success
The first time I saw this deer was late summer when he was starting to rub off his velvet. I put our a trail camera a got several good pictures of the buck but they are all in the middle of the night. I scouted the areas surrounding the spot I had been seeing him and thought I had found his trail.
At the start of the archery season I hunted him but was not able to get a daytime look but I knew soon the rut would start and he might make a mistake. I hunted the first week of New Jersey extended bow and did get a glimpse of him but he was too far for a shot.
There is a special Muzzleloader season on Fort Dix that runs November 10 through 14 (early season) that falls in the middle of the rut and I thought I would get a chance at him if I stood with him. Opening day of the season I passed up a 6 pointer and a nice 8 pointer and seen a good shooter 8 pointer about 150 yards out but did not attempt the shot. The day ended without a harvest but I was confident I would see him.
The next day I hunted my stand in the deep woods but did not see a deer all morning. I started to think that maybe I should move to the edge of an open field where I was seeing a lot of does, thinking he might be chasing does. That afternoon there were several does in the field and out stepped a nice 8 pointer that I would estimate to score around 120 I put him in the sights asking myself should I shoot when he spooked and ran out of range but he was looking back and not at me and he looked uneasy.
I then thought he must be looking at another buck and I turned to my right and the deer I was looking for was behind me to my right. The right side was open and I had to let he walk by first and he came into the open about 60 yards away when I was able to move and place a shot on his shoulder. The 300 grain .50 Cal, XTP Thompson Center Bullet left the Remington Model 700ML in an instant and he dropped where he stood. The bullet was a little high and I hit the lung. I reloaded and climbed down. The deer raised his head and I was taking no chances he would get away so put a second shot into him that ended the successful day.
The deer had an inside measurement of 20 3/8 with a total of 13 scorable points. The rack was thick and palmated. and estimated score is 150 plus. After I stopped shaking and caught my breath I called home to tell my wife and then called my son at college to let him know. This was the second deer I took from this spot that scored over 140 the first was a typical in 2006 taken in the same area that scored 143 3/8 and was 4th in the state that year. There are many challenges to taking a deer on Fort Dix because you are never sure what areas will be open to hunters because if Military training is going on in a designated hunting area hunting is prohibited but if you persist good things happen. Fort Dix has a trophy deer program and bucks must be at least 3 points on one side. Photos below of the deer taken that evening 11 November 2008 and a photo of him alive on the trail camera before the harvest.