ARTICLE: MY SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE HUNTS: SPOT ON THE WALL
Looking back through some past issues of The Bullet recently I found an installment of My Series of Unfortunate Hunts from 2010 of my trip to Oklahoma to hunt deer and how I came home empty handed. What grabbed my attention was in the closing paragraph I stated that I had an empty spot on the wall waiting for an Oklahoma buck. This story is how I went about filling that vacancy.
A couple of months ago, October to be exact, my son Josh and I headed to southeast Oklahoma on our yearly trip to our friend David Falconer’s ranch.
The weather was hot and dry with temperatures in the 80’s but the waning moon worked to our advantage at least to mine.
Opening morning I was in my stand in an area I named the Back Lot. It’s an old access road to an old gas well that David uses to access that side of his property. He annually discs it up and plants it with wheat or rye grass for the deer and turkeys. A mineral block and sometimes a feeder add to the Back Lot’s charm.
I saw several deer that morning, a couple of small bucks and small does before taking a big doe a little after nine. Now I was just trophy hunting.
For a couple of weeks before the season opened, David had been sending me pictures of a nice 8 point buck coming to a food plot we call the Meat Patch every to every other evening. The buck had several ways he’d come in but was there pretty consistent. David suggested hunting the Meat Patch and see if I could take him. Since the pressure was off, I eagerly accepted the challenge.
That evening I was in a ground blind David had set up on the edge of the plot in some trees. He told me he had cut a path leading through the woods to the back of the blind so I wouldn’t have to enter the plot. David also said there was another blind down there that his uncle had set up but had put it in a bad spot.
I found the path and the blind no problem. After getting into the blind, I noticed what David meant by his uncle’s blind being in a “bad spot”. It was out in front of me smack dab in a small group of persimmon trees in the middle of the plot. The deer had always loved eating the persimmons on the ground and now there was a distraction for them. I settled in for the evening.
A small buck came in but he circled around eyeing the blind. A small doe came in and was kind of spooked by the blind. The deer were moving so I was hoping to see the 8 point.
About 20 minutes before quitting time I saw some movement off to my right down in a swag in the field. It was a deer.
The swag was just deep enough that all you could see was the upper third of its body but with the shadows and background it was hard distinguish if it was a buck or a doe. Also the limbs of the cedar tree on that side didn’t help much.
The deer continued slowly across as it eyed the blind in the persimmon trees as I looked around for my binoculars that I had left back at camp. I managed to finally get my scope on it as it stopped before entering the woods and I saw antlers. It wasn’t the one I wanted. I studied the position of the deer and even though the upper part of the shoulder was exposed there wasn’t any room for error so I guess it was lucky it wasn’t the deer we wanted.
The next morning I was back at the Meat Patch to try my luck.
At one point a coyote trotted across the plot. It was probably the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. A lot of coyotes you see are kind of mangy looking but not this one. It had a full coat of fur that was sort of blonde in color. It would have made a great rug or just a decorative trophy for the wall.
Later a small doe came in for a bite to eat. She was real skittish! The sun shining through the screens on the blind made it hard to see her so I had to keep cocking my head to look through the small slits cut in them to watch her.
It was fun to watch her warily nose around then run off only to wander back in. A couple of times I thought she had gone for good but she’d gingerly reappear from around the corner to eat around.
That evening a deer blew behind me in the direction of my parked 4-wheeler. I kept alert just knowing it was going to come up the path to my left but it never did. The big 8 never showed either.
I didn’t see any deer the next morning but did see a really cool sight.
The path back to camp runs along a fence that separates David’s property from his father-in-law Clifford’s. I was cruising along when I looked to my left and there in Clifford’s field was a coyote running parallel to me about 30 yards to my left. This one was dark colored and had that mangy look to it.
It kept pace with me for a long time getting closer to the fence. I knew it wanted to cross under the fence because it would veer my way only to back away as I was too close to it.
It finally put on a burst of speed and shot under the fence about 20 yards in front of me and dashed into the underbrush to the my right. Pretty cool site!
Back at camp David and I decided that his uncle’s blind was spooking the deer and needed to go so right after lunch I headed down to remove it.
While there I also moved David’s blind a little further down on the other side of the cedar tree. Even though I had trimmed some limbs to shoot through you still couldn’t see down into the swag very good.
After an hour or so in the hot sun I had everything placed and trimmed to my satisfaction. I was ready for the evening hunt and if it came to it, the next couple of days.
After cleaning up and resting a bit at camp I headed back to the Meat Patch for the evening hunt.
Around a quarter past six I was looking up the pipeline right-of-way which I had a good view of now since moving the blind I noticed a spot way up that wasn’t there before. I grabbed my bino’s that I finally remembered to bring with me and gave it look. It was the 8 pointer and he was headed my direction! Yeah baby!
He was coming right down the middle of the pipeline taking his time like he owned the place.
I watched him several minutes coming down toward me as the initial adrenaline rush settled down. You know what I’m talking about. That rush you get when you first see a deer enter your area.
He got about 25 – 30 yards on the other side of the swag and stopped before stepping into the underbrush on the right. The wait was on!
I figured he had three choices. One, come out in the bottom of the swag; two, step out closer to the blind or three and I didn’t want it to be the third choice, continue on through the woods and I’d never see him again.
My legs were starting to ache as well as my back sitting on the edge of the chair but I kept as quiet as possible trying to shift into a new position. I was determined to stay that way until dark if need be. I also practiced what I was going to do to get my rifle up and through the slit in the screen.
After 15 minutes the rush hit me again as the buck stepped out of the brush 15 yards or so from the blind! He gave it only a quick glance as he walked out into the plot headed for the exact area the other blind had been sitting only that morning. If I hadn’t removed it, I doubt he would have entered the field at that point if at all.
I got the barrel of the rifle through the screen and the scope on his shoulder without spooking him. He was about 15 yards away when I went “Mah!” He stopped, I shot!
I saw him run out of the right side of the smoke cloud doing that low running that deer do sometimes when you shoot them and I knew I had hit him good.
After reloading and trying to wait my customary 10 minutes before pursuing a deer I headed out to find him. Darkness was getting close as I went to the spot where he had been standing.
Finding a blood trail in the field I followed it into the brush and woods. After what seemed like an eternity stumbling over logs, bullying through briars and climbing over a ditch I found him. Dragging him out took a while. I’d drag a little then stop and catch my breath as I plotted my course through the obstacles.
When I finally hit the pipeline opening I was a good 60 – 70 yards from the blind and tired as hell. I tracked back and got the 4-wheeler but couldn’t get him on it. Off to camp to get help!
As I was came up the hill by the gate between David and Clifford’s properties I saw headlights. It was David in his truck coming thru the gate then stopping and closing it.
I think he said something like “See anything?” All I could say was “I got him”.
“The big one” I said placing my spread fingers over my head like antlers. “I need help.”
We went and got his 4-wheeler and headed to the Meat Patch. After handshakes and brugs (bro hugs) we loaded him up and headed for camp. It sure was a nice feeling to roll in with the buck on the front of my 4-wheeler! Josh and Brentt hadn’t taken off their stuff and were getting things ready to come and help with the tracking if it came to that.
I was tagged out! I was looking forward to sleeping in the next couple of mornings. I’d need the extra sleep since I was designated the ‘camp drunk’.
It had been 5 years since I had taken a big bodied 6 pointer and it had been my best Oklahoma buck to date. I skull mounted him but this one is at the taxidermist getting shoulder mounted. The wife asked where are we going to put it? I told her I’ve had a spot picked out since 2010 to hang him. I’ve got until this fall to move her junk off of it.
Stay happy until My Next Series of Unfortunate Hunts. I certainly will as the smile is still on my face. Later, Jim Bob.