Thursday, November 08, 2007

Too Good To Be True

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It had to be too good to be true. For three nights in a row I had a big buck come to visit me.

This dude was major big. I can come fairly close when scoring whitetail bucks in the field. He always came to me about 15 minutes before the end of shooting time, and he always stood like a statue, immobile, frozen in time and place, and faced me. He didn’t know I was there but he didn’t get that way by acting like a year-and-a-half old buck with his first set of small antlers.

This old-timer was at least five-and-a-half years old, and his neck was swollen from the rut. His antlers were higher on the left side than on the right, and I think I took photos of him three years ago. Much has happened to him since then.

He now has a massive rack. The beam length is about 23 inches on the left side and about 21 inches on the right, and I suspect that his inside spread is at least 22 inches. Things get a bit hinky from this point on. The buck’s left antler as I looked at him was seven distinct points and it had two or three kicker or sticker points that may or may not have been an inch long plus one small two-inch point coming out of the base of that antler.

The G2s were 10 inches on both sides, and the G3s were nine inches. The G4s were 8 inches. and there was plenty of mass at the back and between each point and around the base of the antler. This rack had a lot of stuff happening, and it all added up to a nontypical beauty.

The right antler had five points, and one or two kicker points coming off the back side of the antler. The beam and tine lengths were just a bit shorter, and it gave an overall impression that the rack was higher on the left side than on the right. The beam length is slightly shorter on the right side, and the left main beam seems to rise higher on that side.

This buck seemed to be hanging in a clump of thick brush along a thick creek bottom. He moved late to me every time he was seen, and he always stood facing my tree. I won’t take a quartering-toward shot, and he’d never turn and offer a broadside or quartering-away shot.

Three of the four nights I saw him he was escorting a doe, and all seemed to be different animals. He would stand, watch them feed, and as soon as they moved 20 yards away, he was right there. He spent his entire time with his head up, looking around and testing the wind. This jasper was savvy to the ways of hunters, and although I had him figured out, I couldn’t make him change his position without running the risk of spooking him.

Two nights in a row he would run off with the doe only to return five minutes later when it was even darker, and he would still be standing there when my wife drove fairly close to pick me up. The buck and doe would take two steps, and be over a roll in the bottom land, and be out of sight. The only thing in my favor was I always had the wind working for me, and he always came to me from one of two direction. Neither one offered a high-percentage shot.

I returned tonight and it was bound to happen. He didn’t show up. I don’t have a clue where he was but suspect he was bedded down in thick brush along the creek bank and 200 yards away. There was no breeze tonight, and he may have been reluctant to move until it was full dark. I could access my site easily, and slip in and out quietly, but I suspect he was finished with that doe and was now trolling for another one in a different location.

No doubt I’ll give him another try but my experience with hunting rutting bucks is they hang in a specific area until the doe is well and truly bred, and then he gets to moving in search of another estrus doe. He may return to that area, but I suspect this animal was the same one I saw nearly a month ago and at least a mile away.

He’s moving around, and if I don’t see him again, I too shall get on the move and try a different location. It’s about all that can be done when a buck breeds a doe and move out. It’s time to start looking around to see if I can find him. And that, my friends, can be a difficult task as the rut winds down.

Posted by Dave Richey on 11/08 at 07:52 PM
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