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11-6-2023 CRP Buck


PMA Member
2023 hunting season started off with me being wayyyy behind of where I normally am. Lots of kids activities and a baby born in July led me to being behind in scouting, glassing and trail camera manipulation. October came and went with only a few treestand sits and no mature buck sightings.
Heading into November I had 2 pictures of deer that looked good, but they were single pictures and only happened once. I had vacation scheduled for the 6th and the 9th, while also having off the 10th for Veterans day. I tend to split up vacation to try to avoid bad weather stretches. The morning of November 4th found me kneeling on a wrestling mat coaching 3 of my kiddos in their first tournament of the season. As soon as we finished the medal reception we were headed home and they knew I was heading hunting. The evening of the 4th was pretty slow. The 5th wasn't much better with a little nudging and some young bucks searching.
The morning of the 6th found me perched in a stand along the creek in a pasture between the creek and a field edge. I had seen a few small bucks and a handful of does. I happened to catch some movement out in a buffer strip in the field and noticed right away it was a buck and a doe about 200 yards away to my southeast. I was just pulling the binos out and the back up beeps of a schoolbus sent the pair heading north. When they crossed the downwind area or me I noticed the buck put his nose in the air more than normal. They stopped when they were about 250 yards directly north of me and both were looking in my direction. It was fairly obvious they had caught my wind and knew exactly where I was.
I watched as they soon enough relaxed and he went back to chasing her, this time in the pasture to my north, and they were heading directly west. I caught glimpses off and on for the next half hour. The last time I saw them they were 400 yards to my west, heading south towards the road. Not long after losing sight I heard a car honking its horn. As soon as I heard that I started packing up. My reason being is I believe they knew where I was, and I had another stand in the section to the south in an area where they were likely headed.

I got back to my car and started to glass the section from the road. The pair was nowhere to be seen where they had crossed. I switched to the west road and almost immediately saw them on a fenceline. They were working their way towards a big stand of switchgrass. My plan was to watch them enter the switchgrass, loop around and slip into the stand that I had on the transition between timber and switch. The buck nudged the doe and he took off chasing her towards the switch. Once they got to the fenceline between the field and switch they stopped. While watching from the highway I saw the doe bed under a lone tree on the fenceline. I anxiously watched to see if the buck would also bed, and soon enough he did.

If I looped around to the east, I had a perfect marker, a high bank to get to the edge of the switch which would put me within 100, and a perfect 17-20 mph west wind. The only thing I didn't have was a spotter. I buzzed around to the farm yard to start my walk in. I took everything to sit in the stand in case they weren't there when I got there. I followed the creek being hidden behind the high bank until I got to where I 100 yards NNE of where the doe bedded. When I got there I shed everything except essentials and stood behind a tree seeing if I could maybe see either if they stood. I gave that 30 minutes with no sights or sounds. After 30 I decided it was time to start crawling to the lone tree marker I had. For the first 60 yards I went quick with the wind cover. I got to 40 yards from the tree and stopped there. I waited there for 15ish minutes. I decided to start crawling again. I made it 5 more yards and stopped. While stopped I thought I heard a grunt, but also thought maybe that was wishful thinking. The doubts of them still being there were creeping in. And just like that she stood up from where she was bedded. I lowered myself so I could just barely see her from my hands and knees. She just repositioned and then bedded again. Once she bedded I glassed where she disappeared to and could faintly make out her head with the binos. I scanned all over and could not find the buck. I also realized that I was going to have to get alot closer to eliminate as much grass deflection on the arrow as possible. The switch got much less thick on the edges. I would lose cover but also have a better shot. I gave her a few minutes and cut 5 more yards off. I was now withing 30 of her tree. When I stopped at 30 I heard some definite grunts, but could not pinpoint where they were coming from. At 30 I was predicting what I thought was going to happen. I imagined another buck coming and the big boy deciding to run him off, the doe getting up and leaving and the buck following, or the buck getting the doe up. With all of these scenarios I wanted to get as close to the doe as I could without blowing it. I crawled 5 more yards to a spot I thought was ideal. It gave a shot opening if they went north, but no shot at all if they went south. I spotted one thinner spot in the grass which could be a shooting lane if I could cut 5 more yards off. I slowly belly crawled my way until I was 20 yards almost directly east of the doe. I slowly started getting my gear layed out and bending some grass to settle in for the long haul. The grunts started happen every 5 minutes or so. I still couldn't pinpoint the area, but I assumed he was within 30. I thought 10 yards to her south. I was glassing her head every so often and also messaging a few buddies basically looking for reassurance and to keep me from being too aggressive. Most guys told me to just chill, one guy said throw the shoe, but it all kept me present. Every so often I'd hear the light grunts and I'd clip on and roll from a seated to a kneeling position only to see nothing. This went on for about 30 minutes. About that time I heard a grunt that was much louder than the rest and did the same. I looked towards the doe and nothing. Then I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I slowly looked and there he was standing 12 yards directly to my left(south). I froze, but he wasn't looking my way at all. His eyes were fixed on the doe and he started walking towards her. As he was quartering away hard I drew staying as low to the ground as possible. Once at full draw he was now quartering away but looking completely away. I rose up to my knees only to see a wall of grass. I let him take 2 more steps, it was perfect. He was looking dead away, his body was quartering away, and now his body was blocking the does view of me. I rolled back on my toes to transition to a standing position from kneeling, rose to a full stand, settled the pin on the last rib and squeezed the release. I heard the impact and immediately dropped to my knees and started reaching for another arrow. He took 2 big bounds and stopped. I nocked the 2nd arrow, clipped on the release and started to draw the 2nd arrow just in time to watch him tip over 30 yards from where I was at.
I was at a loss for words, had the biggest adrenaline dump of my hunting career and honestly couldn't believe it. I walked up to make sure he was still in the grass, once I did I gave him some space and sent out a quick video to some buddies.
I called my wife to tell her the good news. I didn't realize that she had just picked up our 4 year old to take her to preschool so that became a fight to get her to go to school because she just wanted to see Dad's deer. My 7 year old had a doctors appointment so her and my wife came with me to take some pics.

Sorry for the long read. Good luck to all with tags

1st pic is me waiting for him to bed, taken through the binos from the road
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Dang good story! Way to stick with it!!! I turn out empty handed with most ground hunts, but when they pay off, the experience and memory has no comparison.
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