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Thread: The one that got away

  1. #21
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    Great stories guys...........appreciate them...keep them coming.

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  3. #22
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    My next few that got away that I can remember ,I was maybe 15 or 16(?),still underage to buy a NB deer tag but maybe I was 16(?) and old enough to hunt unaccompanied .....anyway,the deer bug had bit me hard and I was carrying the old Mossberg 185 12ga bolt for last few years,but now I’m really trying to get a deer and got a pocket full of slugs and SSG along with a bunch of 7.5s for grouse.
    So I’m hunting out the same area,about 2 miles from home back in the hardwoods off this sled trail,and I’m stalking along with a slug in the tube and an SSG and another slug in in the DM....and I flushed a couple grouse up in front of me.So one of them looked like it landed 100 yards up the hill,so I swapped out the slug for a 7.5 and took after him.I get up near the top of this steep hardwood ridge looking for the grouse,and I look up the hill and this beautiful giant 8 pointer stood up out of his hilltop bed and was looking right at me less then 15 yards away.
    Now truth be told,looking back,he was a 2.5year old basket rack 115” 8pt,but I’m 16 and trying desperately to kill a deer....and this is the biggest buck I’ve ever seen up close,he was a monster in my books,lol....anyway,he’s just staring at me head on about 15yards uphill pretty steep angle,so I looked down and away trying not to make eye contact,slow and deliberate silent as I could I worked that bolt open and lifted out the 7.5...and he’s still there...I jack in the SSG and get the bolt closed...and he’s still there!! now I’m just raising the gun to my shoulder trying not to look right at him,and WHEEEEEEZ.....he blows da F outta there wheels around and gone in 1 hop.
    Looking back on it afterwards,he was so close I probly coulda/shoulda/woulda blasted him right in the face with that 7.5 and I’d a put him down,if not killed him right away at least he’d been plenty messed up I coulda got a slug into him next...but I was a green kid and thought I needed a slug or buckshot.
    So now I take off after this buck and the general southerly direction that he’s heading,I know there’s this E-W survey line about 500 yards ahead,so I work my way over to the line eventually and head east thinking he might cross it up ahead of me eventually,and I barely walked 100 yards over this little knoll and there’s a big doe standing broadside about 50y ahead just on the edge of this line through the big hardwood I see her and she sees me,but this time I’m ready got a slug in the tube and as I was shouldering the gun she wheels left to bolt away,but I figger I’m a pretty good wing shot by now huntin ducks and grouse for a few years so I rip a shot off at her as she’s wheeling around....turns out I missed her clean...but DAMN is this ever exciting,first deer I actually got a shot off at not counting my dry fire 22 deer,lol......and I’ll be damned,as soon as that shotgun barked this truly enormous buck that I hadn’t seen come busting out onto the survey line about 80 yards ahead running straight away,and I mean HUGE buck,still to this day 35 years and thousands of hunts later one of the biggest bucks I’ve ever seen Im sure....I’m talking a big wide tall 14-16pt non-typ with junk everywhere and a big huge wide and wide big shoulders with muscles that rippled as he ran away uphill and felt like the ground was shaking from his pounding hooves kinda deer!!
    So he breaks off to the left in this big mature hardwood stand and I’m hustling to get to where I might see him bouncing down the hill and the original 8pt that I coulda blasted with birdshot an hour ago takes off running about 50 -60 downhill to my left,and I’m tracking him with the bead,but I’ve got one round of SSG in the tube and nothing in the mag and he’s putting ground in between us fast,and I’m on him but he’s out 80+ yards now just too far for SSG and I didn’t shoot hoping he was gonna curl my way up the hill but nope,watched his white flag disappear for the second time in an hour,,,,,and that was one helluva fun day for a 16year old kid,and was probably the day that would shape the rest of my life cuz I was absolutely addicted to the rush and excitement of stillhunting and chasing big bucks in the big hardwoods ever since,I remember that November day in ‘84 as vividly as if it was November 2018.
    Last edited by Grinr; August 1st, 2019 at 12:03 AM.

  4. #23

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    I am pretty fanatical about scent control, which means I drive to the spot in one set of clothes, with the gear in the back, and dress from scivies out when I get there. So one morning, I pulled into this one spot, edge of a hay field, and there is a road behind me, and another hay field on the other side. Dark as Dark can be, and I get down to my scivies, no light, and behind me a deer lets out a grunt so loud that it pretty much scared the crap out of me! He did it three more times before moving off...I like to think it was the big 10 that I was waiting for turning the tables on me!

  5. #24
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    I had hunted this area for five previous years, solo except for the first year. Most "seasons" only lasted a few days before heading home to a young family.

    The first years group comprised myself, my friend and my youngest brother. We camped in a tent, and with our youthful ineptness, a camping trip was all it ended up being, although our Sunday scouting before Mondays opener had my brother claim to have seen a couple of Does.

    For the next few solo years hunting this area, I slept in the bed of my pickup, equipped with a cab-height cap and parked under the hydro lines so no radio reception, no heat, no place to stand up and stretch, just sleep. Learning the "lay of the land" over these years was the primary achievement. Ontario had the Doe tag process in effect, assigned through a draw, and I did start seeing deer, however, it seemed they were all Does in years when I did not have a Doe tag. For the last couple of years I had stayed in a very basic cabin just outside town for a bit more comfort.

    My modus operendi was, on the Sunday before the opener, to drive to the power line cut, carry my canoe 1 1/4 miles on a two-rut goat track to a lake and leave it there. Each morning I would drive to the power line, park and walk to the lake in the dark and paddle across the lake to hunt without running into any other hunters. I had identified a couple of peninsulas in the lake that spilled down from high ridges that showed activity.

    Such as it was on opening day in 1981 that I pitched in just before dawn, and when light came up, I worked my way up to the ridge and slowly still-hunted along it to the next spillway. I sat and ate lunch, then decided to proceed to a knoll down on the peninsula where I had jumped a Doe the previous year. The knoll was still quite a ways away so I was just walking down the spillway when I saw the tip of an antler tine and slammed to a halt. Trees blocked the chest, all I could see was the tip of his nose, parts of the rack (I estimate he was an 8 point) and his back half as well as the upper half of his neck through a gap in the branches. I had been snookered by shifting breezes the previous year, so didn't have patience to wait for things to develop further and decided on the neck shot. At the crack of the Marlin .444, the buck took off leaving me numb. No blood anywhere, I surmised I had shot high, fearing hitting the branch. I got back to the cabin that evening, completely demoralized at missing the first deer I had ever shot at. I flopped on the bed and flaked out.

    Next morning, I ascended the same peninsula, slowly still-hunting my way up. Half way up, a spike Buck came bounding over a rise and stopped about 20 yards in front of me. I already had the rifle up and remember looking over the sights at the "rack", thinking to myself "Do I really want to shoot this young spike Buck?". I quickly reasoned that it would be a first successful step for me, so lined up his chest and shot. I was shocked when he didn't drop, instead he jumped behind a small sparse evergreen. I had already racked another round and shot again. He took off, bounding up and intending on going back over the rise he originally came over. A third shot, aiming just over his back for a neck shot ended up going up the hoop when his hind end bounded up. I found him just over the rise.

    I have his "rack" on my wall to this day, along with several others taken from the same general area, the better ones being a 10 point typical and a 12 point typical scoring 156 5/8 (avatar above). That first deer may not be impressive in the least, but he is still a trophy to me and I continue to hunt that area.
    Last edited by canthitathing; August 1st, 2019 at 12:37 PM.
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  6. #25
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    2 er 3 years after the birdshot bucks that got away.....I spose I was 19 or 20 er so(?).......I had a few deer kills under my belt by now....couple does and a forkie,but still hadn’t kilt a good branched antler buck despite numerous opportunities and close calls....I was toting my new 30-06 that I had bought prior to my first legal deer season when I was it woulda been a couple years after that I spose?Anyway,I was hunting the edge of a 500 acre hayfield close to home.Where the field gave way to typical mixed NB forest on the east side,it was around 200y down a steep hill to a nice trout stream where I had grown up fishing/trapping/bird hunting since I was 9yo and knew every bend and deep hole in the brook,and every game trail in the creek bottom.
    The side hill was criss-crossed with a few well worn deer trails where the deer staged prior to entering the field in the evening.
    One particular part of the hillside which I called “blowdown alley” was a swath of blown down spruce trees 50-100 yards wide which afforded the best views and shooting lanes on the hillside.
    I figgered if I planted my butt in the middle of the hill,I couldn’t quite see 100y up to the the field edge,nor the entire 100y down to the brook,but I’d have a good 75 yard view both up and down,covering 3/4 of the hillside for any deer that strolled by on one of 2 or three good sidehill trails.
    So I’m standing mid-hillside in blowdown alley,looking for the perfect stump with the best shooting lanes to settle in for the evening sit,when I look down to my left and see this big deer butt sticking out from behind a big spruce only 30y away!
    I’m determined that my next deer is gonna be a good buck,and I can only see the hind quarters and a bit of this deer’s belly,the vitals and head are blocked by the tree trunk and heavy spruce boughs.So I’m leaning and twisting backwards trying desperately to see any antlers......I’ve leaned back far enough that I can see the last couple ribs....and then I seen it..ANTLERS!!
    This was indeed a buck,knowing what I know now,probably a good solid 2.5yo or kinda weak 3.5yo 8pt(?)....but a damn nice deer for a kid’s first real buck!
    So again I’m leaning backwards and off balance,and can really only see it’s guts and a rib or two,so I decide to take one step left where I should be able to see more of the chest,and as I’m stepping left and shouldering my 30-06 Remi pump,he bolts!!
    He takes off along the sidehill 30 yards below me broadside,I give him a bit of lead and the ol 06 barks.....still running,but now with even more enthusiasm,he picks it up a gear...again I’m tracking him bouncing through the blowdowns now 50y quartering away,and just as he’s leaping over a blowdown I fired again
    He folded when he hit the ground on the far side of the blowdown with a huge crash!
    YES!! Smoked him! Can’t believe it,I just shot my first nice buck!
    So he’s lying there less then 50y away,thrashing and kicking on the ground,but I don’t have a clear shot or even a good view of him behind the tangle of blowdowns....but he’s down...then settles down,and I can just see some white flashes twitching through the brush.I could blast another shot through the brush,but I couldn’t tell what part of the buck I was aiming at and didn’t want to blow up the tenderloins or a hind quarter...besides,he’s down and ain’t going anywhere....RIGHT!!
    I jacked another round into the pump,put it on safe,and started to make the proud stroll over there to lay my hands on my first buck....I was probably more like floating over there,lol....anyhow,I only took about 3 steps when BOING!!! He sprung outta there like a jack in the box,back on his feet and going like his butt was on fire,3 or 4 hops and he was gone,crashing and blowing through the trees until I couldn’t hear him anymore!!
    I just fired 2 rounds of 30-06 at close range at a buck,and he laid down less then 50yards away,then over a minute later ran off as if nothing was wrong with him.
    There was a light skiff of patchy snow on the I collected myself,and went over to where he had fallen....not a drop of blood to be found!
    I tracked him through the woods for the next hour,until I finally lost him in an alder swale amongst a maze of other deer tracks and trails,over 500y and never found a single drop of blood on the entire trail.
    Only thing I can figger is I musta hit him in the antlers and stunned him pretty good?I returned to the scene next day with my antler theory and searched really hard but couldn’t find any sign of broken antler,but it’s the only explanation I’ve got?
    As luck would have it,this would not be the last “dead buck” that I would witness running away over the next 30+ years of deer hunting to follow......
    Last edited by Grinr; August 3rd, 2019 at 12:23 PM.

  7. #26

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    A big shout-out to the OP for starting this thread. These stories show that we are mere mortals and prone to mistakes. I have a moose and a deer hunting story to share.
    Moose Hunt
    Back in 1982, 2 hunters had to seal a moose, but you could shoot any moose in any wildlife management unit that had an open season. I had moved to NW Ontario earlier in the spring and spent the summer getting to know the bush – including the road networks and cutovers. Come fall, a childhood friend from Ottawa and I made plans to hunt moose together. We each bought high powered rifles and were itching to go. I had a Winchester model 70 chambered in 300 mag, while my buddy had a Remington pump chambered in 30.06. Both of our rifles had iron sights – which would come into play later.
    Opening came and we set off in my Datsun hatchback in search of moose. We drove 80 kms to one spot and sat for a couple of hours without seeing anything. So around 9:30 we jumped back in the car and drove 80 kms in the opposite direction to another spot that I knew about. As we approached the second area, we were driving down an incline and I saw a moose way out in the cutover off to my left. Using binoculars, we could see that it was a good-sized bull and it was just browsing about half a mile away. I stopped the car and we got out. Before we could go after the moose, we had to put on our rain gear as it was raining a bit. As we were getting outfitted, my buddy leaned his rifle against the car and it slid off and hit the ground - hard. Since it had iron sights, we thought that it was ok. Anyway, off we went across the cut to bag our moose. Every now and then we would check to see what the bull was up to… all good!
    We managed to sneak up within 60 yards of the moose within 60 and, in retrospect, could have shot it about 100 times by then. As we got closer to the moose, I split off from my buddy and found myself in a bit of dip and behind a deadfall. I couldn’t see the moose without standing up, and when I looked over at my buddy, he was already leaning over a fallen log and getting ready to shoot. Before I knew it, he shot and I didn’t want to miss out of the action. Up I went to take a shot at the running moose, but my rear sight was folded down. After sorting that out, I realized that my safety was on. GRRRR! By the time I fired, the bull was running into a block of poplars. I don’t know what possessed me, but I took off running after the moose. I had the binoculars around my neck and they kept swinging up and hitting me in the face… ouch! I unknowingly chased the bull back out to my buddy who took another, broad-side, shot at if from a rest. By the time I came back out of the timber, the moose was nowhere to be seen. After the second shot, the moose ran uphill into a block of spruce and we never saw it again. We looked all over and may have had better luck had we been more experienced. We went back for several days afterwards and tried to find it. In the course of looking for the moose, my buddy lost his binoculars too.
    It turns out that the front sight on my buddy’s rifle had broken when it hit the ground at the car earlier, so he had been shooting high. We still talk about this hunt every time we get together.

    Deer Hunt
    In 1984, I broke my collarbone a week before a deer hunting trip to the Rainy River. Although I was lame, I still made plans to go. We left Dryden on a Friday morning and it was a beautiful Indian summer day. There were 3 of us in the truck, and I was closest to the passenger door. The fellow in the middle held a rifle (unloaded) between his knees in case we saw a calf or deer along the way. As we travelled down the highway between Dryden and Fort Frances, we found ourselves behind a logging truck. As my buddy pulled out to pass, we got a glimpse of a deer crossing the road up ahead. Once we got to where the deer was, we pulled over. When we came to a stop, I looked out the window and saw a huge buck standing in the ditch behind a shrub less than 10 yards away. The buck was a least a 10-pointer with antler bases larger than my wrist. I’ve seen a lot big deer since then and he still ranks as one of the largest! In a dyslexic moment I told the guys it was a doe. That prompted the guy in the middle to want to get out as he had a doe tag. I quickly came to my senses and corrected myself and told them that it was a big buck. The driver then grabbed the rifle and ran around to my side of the truck and stood by my window and asked where the buck was. The funny thing was that he ran right by the buck to get to my window. I pointed in one direction and he looked in the other. By the time he turned around and noticed the buck, it was bounding into the 2 year-old clearcut without offering a shot. In the meantime, the other guy managed to get his rifle out and ran up a tote road, only to have the buck run behind him. The end result was we missed a huge buck without firing a shot. Had I not had a broken collarbone, I may have been able to shoot it myself. I have vivid memories of that episode!
    Last edited by Sam Menard; August 3rd, 2019 at 05:23 PM.

  8. #27
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    Thanx guys!

    Nine,nice,nice stories.
    Thanks Sam ,for the good words too!

    Next story(or should I say the FIRST one).A deer.
    Way back,me and my buddy became hunters.I did just simply, because of him.He had some family history of hunting,i had some love for outdoors.I went into it with him-i will try ,and if i do not like it-will just drop it.If he would not wanted to do the course-i would never become a hunter! Nothing to loose,bought some cheap stuff,used guns( a la dirt cheap)and went off hunting.

    In it ever since!!!

    Anyhow ,first year we went rabbit hunting in a nearby public (free access)bush.We were small gamer,that what we brought with us as "hunt"from back home.Big game hunt is different ,difficult and somewhat expensive for the average Joe back home. Thru the hunt i stumbled into a nice deer,standing broad side in the bush,20 yards away,and figuring me out!Whoa....The deer looked,then looked ,then bounded .Took another 2 with her.It was a nice sized doe.Running out from the forest,jumping over the fence, watching them all along,nice....
    Now,being a new Canadian,had no connection with local customs,no one to teach me deer hunting,and just barely passed the course,i said -whoa,this is something else.
    I want to do this!

    What does really take to hunt BIG game in Ontario?
    Now,i should have known,passing the course,but all was so new,so different language,so remote to our thinking about hunting-never paid much attention.
    So ,we went home- and phoned MNR to buy a deer tag ,to go into Controlled Deer draw.Sorry Sir-the voice said,the deadline passed for this years draw. Good luck next year.

    Next year came with great expectation-watching the dates as they come,not to be missed,and Lo and Behold,both of us got the antlered/antler less deer tag in our WMU for November shotgun hunt..

    So all the prep,all the talk,all the excitement.Deer season came.
    No vacation!Me a new employee,so little days off available,nothing to "waste"on deer hunt.
    We will hunt Friday afternoon(leaving early),and Saturday all day.

    Left work at 1 pm(washing in the washbasin at work)and driving an hr to the pay for use public land.
    We drove in my buddies sporty looking car,parked off the road,in a bend ,and left for a walk.No still hunt,no spot and stalk.Just two of us ,side by side walking thru the forest and high bush.After all,this is how we saw back home roe deer hunters hunting(yep,but that was always a drive-not a walk).What did we know!

    After having all this beautiful afternoon spent with walking,we got tired and hungry.
    Lets go back to the vehicle and eat.
    So ,the vehicle is parked in a bend of an inside gravel road-trail,used by low vehicular traffic.We got to the bend ,facing the L -right side of the letter.Unloaded our guns(we are close to the road-trail whatever)and we start to munch on some stale sandwiches(boy did they ever taste great).
    The guns leaning against our vehicle,right beside us.

    All of the sudden ,to my right is a ruckus thru the bush. A nice doe runs straight at us,full tilt(boy,i just got goosebumps typing and remembering all this.......)so she comes,and then comes the next one.They see us,took a slight right turn,and instead of running into us,basically leap across the road, about 25 yards from us.With a "big"buck in a tow.Would not recall what this buck was antlers wise at the moment,but looked big,and indeed was big.Tell you how in know ,later.We are like-WTF,throwing sandwiches ,looking at each other,grabbing guns(MOVE) when a fourth deer,another buck runs out,again straight at us,sees us,and turns back,never to be seen again.
    My buddy is like-coursing,grabbing gun and going full tilt after the tree deer.Loading as he walks and saying many things about us eating sandwiches while deer are all around.........
    I collect myself( my first day deer hunting-withing 3 hrs, such a magnificent scenery)so i go after him,off a bit,parallel with the road.Loaded with a slug(12 gage)then a buckshot,then a slug.After all ,this is how it suppose to be(ready for all scenarios,right?)
    So he walks off,and i walk parallel with the road.L letter-in the direction of the longer arm of the letter.My heart is somewhere in my throat,and i am in different world.I walk slow,and stop occasionally,after few steps.Why-just because i was not knowing any different,and being so excited. Now,in about 200 yards in my walk(goosebumps are coming again)i hear something walking parallel to me,about 80 yards in the forest.Must be my buddy walking out.
    So i walk,stop,walk stop-and i am somewhere else in my mind.All of the sudden ,the forest opens,and i could see 4 legs,walking parallel to me!!!It is not my buddy,but a deer.Whoa!

    So i stop,and walk,and stop and walk.And the deer legs walks,then stop,then walk, then stop.
    What the heck.............

    So,we make this a tandem walk ,for about 100 yards.Then there i this old logging road coming perpendicular to the main road,about 50 yards or so.The deer walks bit faster then i am(me still in seventh heaven)and TURNS onto the old logging road(which WILL cross my path!).So i stop,heart pounding(maybe i developed a chest cavity expansion from all the pounding.......)kneel,get ready,and watch those great legs walk out in front of me.(So far saw no deer head ,just belly and legs,sort of).

    Now,this is a HUGE buck,full grown,big body,and he is like 30 yards from me,walking across the old logging road,to cross my path in an opening.In the hindsight,this was the first buck,being separated from the does he was chasing,and thinking me being one of them(based on my walking cadence, i recon).
    I put the barrel of the old Winchester 1200 pump on the side of the buck,at the moment when i had a clear shot, just before he may see me ,while walking thru the brush.
    BANG! The deer turns 180% in a millisecond,runs 100 miles an hour,me shooting the other 2 loads at the running deer.
    I ran over,look up and down,then look more,then take my hat off in disbelief ,and swatting it in the air, like i am a chopper on a loose-WTF just happened?
    First day of deer hunt ,biggest buck in my life(even still after so many years of deer hunting)and i missed!!!?
    My buddy walks over in great disbelief,knowing something big is up,hearing all the shooting,then seeing the orange hat flying around............he traces the buck for maybe 200 yards to see if any signs of a hit.......Nothing!...........We go home.

    I am empty in my heart,empty in my mind,and an empty handed poor slob.

    Up until today i am not sure did i hit the deer,and we were just unable to do a better job of tracking,tracing and perhaps finding the buck.

    Even though, i tend to believe ,i did not kill that buck!
    Simply, because next year ,me and my buddy were sitting (really close to the same spot)with archery gear in hands(no luck for Controlled deer that year)and from the same direction ,a HUGE back walked out in front of him,not presenting good shooting opportunity for a novice archer.
    He said, it was as big as a mare,and had antlers like an old branched tree.
    We named him simply"The King"and ever since call the area-the King's bedroom.

    As a Happy Ending,on the next day of the same year(my first ever deer hunting season)on Saturday morning,very close to the same spot,a nice young doe walked out,about 90 yards from to me,to my left.I took her with one shot,3 buckshot hitting her in her neck(by this time i said-no slug for deer hunt-right?pellets are more in one buckshot charge ,then a measly single slug).So i though for the next few years.
    In a hindsight,i should have never taken this, long shot.

    I did.
    What did i knew at that time?...and it worked.
    Last edited by gbk; August 3rd, 2019 at 11:40 PM.

  9. #28

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    Hey! There you go. Persistence paid off.

  10. #29
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    Here's a short one:

    I live rural on a 10 acre parcel. The front 5 acres is house, lawn and 2 large ponds (one beside and one out back of the house, both with islands) while the back 5 acres is left rough (cedar/pine groves & sedge grass). I had come in from bow hunting a small spot at the back corner that morning and removed my camo outfit. I looked out the back window around 1PM and saw waves in the back pond. I first thought that a few geese had pitched in but then I saw antlers passing behind the island. My son and I watched the 8 point climb out of the pond and trot into the cedars along the West side of the property.

    Knowing there was really nowhere for him to go except towards the back end of the property, I clamored into my camo, grabbed the bow and headed up the East side of the cedars. My son was watching from the window. I paused at a point where my path cut through an open spot before just walking through. A couple of seconds later all I saw was the bucks flag. He had button-hooked to the East side and been standing in the trees on the other side of this open spot, likely watching his back trail after breaking his scent trail by swimming through the pond. I had no chance with the bow but marveled at this bucks tactics.
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  11. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by canthitathing View Post
    Here's a short one:

    I live rural on a 10 acre parcel. The front 5 acres is house, lawn and 2 large ponds (one beside and one out back of the house, both with islands) while the back 5 acres is left rough (cedar/pine groves & sedge grass). I had come in from bow hunting a small spot at the back corner that morning and removed my camo outfit. I looked out the back window around 1PM and saw waves in the back pond. I first thought that a few geese had pitched in but then I saw antlers passing behind the island. My son and I watched the 8 point climb out of the pond and trot into the cedars along the West side of the property.

    Knowing there was really nowhere for him to go except towards the back end of the property, I clamored into my camo, grabbed the bow and headed up the East side of the cedars. My son was watching from the window. I paused at a point where my path cut through an open spot before just walking through. A couple of seconds later all I saw was the bucks flag. He had button-hooked to the East side and been standing in the trees on the other side of this open spot, likely watching his back trail after breaking his scent trail by swimming through the pond. I had no chance with the bow but marveled at this bucks tactics.
    i was waiting for you to say "and i dropped him"

    haha sweet story. seeing that buck swim across must have been a beautiful sight

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