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My 2016/2017 season topper

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Last Thursday(January 12th) I left for my final bowhunting trip of the 2016/2017 season. The weather was going to be less than ideal with warm temps predicted for my entire 9 day trip. But I wasn't going to kill anything sitting at home. The first couple days I spent scouting and noticed that even though it was in the low to mid 70s during the day I was seeing deer moving in the middle of the day. So I made my mind up that I would make all day sits in the areas I found good sign in. I found 3 good areas but the sign wasn't quite as good as in years past. I focused on finding travel routes from bedding to private lands nearby and one area I found showed heavy rutting activity.....almost what I would find when hunting the Midwest. My first day to hunt was Saturday 1/14. I sat all day in an area off of the river that was fairly close to some private property and showed good feeding and rut activity. Saw nothing in that all day sit. The next day (Sunday), I drove to Winnsboro to go to church early that morning. When I got back, I decided I would head out to the bedding area I had hunted last year and saw lots of deer then. This year the sign wasn't as plentiful but there were definitely plenty of deer in there. It's a reforest area where the trees are small and the briars are thick. With no leaves in the small trees I decided on a different technique....I would set up my stand (Muddy loc on) at the base of a tree near an area that had several scrapes and plenty of deer travel sign. I placed a few palmettos around me to somewhat break up my outline and settled in for the remainder of the day. This was 11:30am. Almost an hour later I heard limbs breaking and grabbed my bow. A young buck with a high wide rack came running in to one of the scrapes in front of me, but he stopped short when he noticed something a little different in the area (me). We were eye to eye at 10 yds. He did the head bob routine and then began to continue toward the scrape when he figured I was just a part of the landscape. As he turned I started to draw my bow but he caught the movement and moved off quickly but not at a run. It was then that I saw the second buck...this one was much bigger. He was following the younger buck and heading away from me. I quickly grabbed my can call and gave a quickly bleat with it. The big buck spun around and started walking toward me. He was behind some briars that blocked our view of each other so I drew. He stayed behind that mat of briars for a minute and all I could see were antlers turning this way and that. He was looking for the doe he was convinced was close by. He took a few more steps which placed his shoulder in view at 15yds but there was a good bit of undergrowth between us (weeds and a few briar stalks). I was trying to hold out for a clearer shot but I could tell he was getting nervous. I happened to be shooting one of my dad's old 175gr Zwickeys that day and thought if anything can punch through that stuff, this thing can. I aimed for the center of his shoulder and let fly. I could tell the arrow deflected a bit low but I was certain I had hit him because he stumbled as he ran off. I sat in silence shaking uncontrollably and after about 30 seconds I thought I heard the sound of brush breaking and gasping. My shaking and excitement got exponentially worse as I assumed that was the buck taking his last breaths and thrashing. I waited an hour before getting off my perch 1' off the ground to take up the blood trail. With it being 75 degrees the blood had dried and made it very hard to follow. I crept along painstakingly taking note and marking every drop I found. It took me an hr to travel the 80 yds the buck ran before expiring, but what met me at the end of that trail made all the sweat worth it. He's the widest buck I have ever taken. I am very blessed to have had this opportunity and I made certain to thank God and praise him for making it all possible before I ever laid a hand on the deer. All this took place at Tensas NWR. Hope you guys enjoy the read. 




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