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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well today was one of the most interesting days I've had hunting.

I went in to hunt my "super secret where big bucks live but never seem to show up" spot and as I was in about 200 yards in the woods I kicked up a buck. At first I thought he was dead asleep and I bumped him because he struggled to get to his feet in the thicket. As he got out about 30 yards I fired, pumped, and fired again as he was running a hard quarter away from me at 50 yards and he stumbled a bit but kept running hard.

I cut his prints where I shot and followed them shortly finding some hair and a little bit of blood. I immediately backed out and grabbed my dad who was on his way in behind me as he was packing his gear up and heading in a little bit after I did.

After returning to the spot, I went over to where he was bedded and saw blood in the beds. I immediately knew he had already been shot that morning and never followed up on.

Well my father and I tracked him down for about 250 more yards through some open pines and found marginal blood. Without a doubt, if I didn't have snow, this tracking job would have been near impossible. There was very little blood for the first 200 yards and then it increased a bit as he entered a thicket at the 250 yard mark or so.

Again we backed out, went back to the truck to strip some layers and pack only the necessities and more importantly to give him some time to lay down and stiffen up some. Still unsure of the shot, we felt this was the best plan and would allow us to stalk him down a bit better if the shot wasn't a good one.

Well we returned an hour later and took up trail, immediately finding better blood with some really good "spills". It was clear his one leg was broken as it was dragging a bit. It's unclear if that was from my shot or whomever shot him first.

Nevertheless, we continued for literally another 1/4 to 1/2 mile through some of the thickest and nastiest crap you could imagine. I think we bumped him 3 times but could not even see him in there or get a shot, it was just entirely too thick. In evaluating the blood in conjunction with distance covered, it appeared to be more of a muscle hit with leg injury and based on the beds found earlier possibly a neck wound. So he had several non vital but likely combined lethal hits. At that point I thought with the snow and given the likelihood of where he was hit it was best to keep pushing him and keep the wounds open rather than letting them clot up. It was clear he didn't want to bed down as every "spill" of blood we found was him standing, so perhaps allowing him to bed might have been better. But as we kept pushing the blood seemed to increase, so we kept at it. Then, after a 2.5 hour track I was able to stalk up on him where he finally bedded and fired two follow up shots to put him down for good.

This was the first time I ever had to track another hunter's shot down and was happy to catch up with him and put him down for good. I'm really disappointed whomever shot him first didn't follow up and I have a good idea that it was a gun club driving in the morning that shot him. I know the area quite well and happened to see the gun club driving their vehicles around the pocket where he was most likely to come from this morning. In fact my buddy believes he has a trailcam pic of this buck (still waiting for the pic from him) about 3/4 mile away. That was the area they were driving this morning. My guess is they hit him, either missed the blood or followed it briefly then dismissed it as a non-vital hit. Well, he would have died and it would have taken a long time. For that, whomever shot him really should have shown him more respect and tracked him down. [down] So above all else, I am happy I finished the job and got it down for him/her.

When I first shot at him, I saw a nice rack. When I got the final shots at him, again I saw a nice rack as he was bedded. When I picked him up, my jaw hit the ground as I found out he only had one side! He would have been an awesome buck with the other side and my biggest shotgun buck to date. Shame, that was disappointing but it was very satisfying to track him down in the snow and finish the job someone else should have in the first place.

Here is a pic after packing him out, sorry no camo...we were rushing at that point right near the truck and I had stripped my orange off already.



P.S. I never did get to my stand obviously, maybe tomorrow! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It was a clean break from quite some time ago. I don't think it was shot off. If my buddy has a pic of him, the break likely happened over a month ago. It certainly wasn't shed, just broke off near the base with some scabbing there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah I changed the gallery a bit to add timestamp, here is another pic:



Any way a mod can give me edit access to the first post? If not, you can just change the IMG tag to use the new address.
 
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