Tuesday November 11, 2014

Traditionally the 11th of November has been good to us in the Midwest. Nothing will ever compare to the 11-pointer my dad killed on 11/11/11. That story would have been unbelievable if anyone ever wrote it beforehand. That’s the amazing thing about hunting. The story is always in progress as we get out of bed each day and head into the woods.

We woke up to a good coating of snow today. The roads were treacherous on the way to hunt. Brian and I dropped my dad off where he has been hunting. From the time I came out of the woods last night until I get out of the truck this morning I had nothing on my mind except returning to The Killing Tree. Something in my gut told me to return there and a voice which spoke softly at first began getting louder and louder inside my head. When that happens you must listen to what it says when it chooses to speak. I’ve often wondered if other hunters have experienced the same thing. Although people might think I’m off the rocker the voice speaks to me every once in a while and I try my hardest to get clarification if at all possible.

On our way in I had to leave Brian behind. I wanted to be in the tree before daylight and I was unsure of my route to get to the tree I wanted to set up in. He was carrying one of my dad’s stands over his shoulder because the shoulder straps were missing. As his frustration grew I gently reminded him how you have to make the most out of a bad situation. Once he was in the tree he would most likely forget the hassle he went through to get there.

Shortly after I got settled in the tree I saw a big buck cruising across the ridge on the other side of the creek. As I glanced back toward the ridge in front of me I caught some movement and two does quickly materialized out of the thicket. It didn’t take them long to make their way past me and head in the direction of the big buck I had just seen.

As soon as they were gone I turned around and saw a big buck cruising down a runway in the swamp. I clicked my Garmin Rino on and told Brian he had a big buck headed toward him. He told me he had already seen seven bucks including one giant that he guessed could score in the 170s. He no longer got those words out of his mouth when I spotted a nice 8-pointer headed in my direction. The buck sniffed along the edge of the briar thicket until he found something he liked at which point he disappeared into the briars.

Seconds later I saw the big buck that was headed toward Brian come running back  down the same runway he was on a few minutes earlier. As things seemed to happen in slow motion I thought I saw him fall over and lay motionless under two huge trees. The way everything happened I couldn’t get myself to believe what I thought I had just witnessed so I stood there in disbelief. A little bit of static on the radio brought me back into the real world and then I could hear Brian talking. He said that he just shot at the big buck and thought he missed. I informed him that I was pretty sure the deer had just expired because I saw it tip over when it ran past me.

Instantly, I whispered into the radio that I had to go. “Big buck headed my way” and seconds later I had loosed an arrow. As soon as the arrow hit the deer I knew it was a killing shot. The buck bolted up the hill and slammed into a few trees. He was dead on his feet and quickly tipped over after a 75 yard sprint.

I climbed out of the tree and headed toward Brian’s buck before going to see mine. When we stopped to take pictures of both bucks we were overwhelmed with the amount of deer moving through the area. No matter what happened the rest of the day I knew we had to get dad back in there the next day if hadn’t filled his tag. It was too active in the area to stay away.

Brian’s deer was a really mature 8-pointer. The main beam was broken, so it ended up being a 7-pointer. My deer had 11 total points but probably only 9 of them are scoring points.

The journey to get the bucks out of the woods was unforgettable. We decided to carry the canoes in and float the bucks down a feeder stream to the main river. From there I would meet Brian and Dad at a boat launch a few miles down the river. It seems easy, but the temperature was around 15 degrees with a steady 35mph wind. Here are a few pictures and videos from the journey.

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