Early Season Tactics for Turkey

Trophy Toms are what make Turkey hunting such a Challenge! ~postoak~

The spring turkey hunting season has gotten well under way and I am getting reports of some nice gobblers being taken. The early season is my favorite part of the spring turkey hunting time and often the gobblers will come running to your calls. However, be certain that you want to pull the trigger, cause it ain’t catch and release! I have had several season where both the gobblers and me were over-anxious and it reculted in me limiting out a couple of times in March. I like to pace myself and make sure the gobblers I do shoot have been listened to and looked at enough to have a good chance at being one I want to put on my wall instead of just in my oven.

Some guidelines for choosing older and often trophy “toms”. Early in the season they will often be the ones that gobble the most but, will not come to your calls. IF you get them within sight, they will often be flanked by an entourage of hens and even one or two subordinate gobblers.

The subordinates may not gobble at all but, their heads will be either white, or glowing red if they are not allowed to gobble. The Boss tom will also have the red head but, may show more blue in his waddles and sport a white cap of fat across the top of his head. He will often have his “snood” hanging out, which is a turn-on for the hens. He will be the one strutting and doing most all the gobbling. The other toms and hens stay out of his way as he struts and drums,(pffffiiiittt drummmmm sound) dragging his wing tips in the dirt.

If you do get his attention and can call him in for a shot, go for the strutter! He is the boss tom that probably has the sharpest spurs and definitely has the baddest attitude! He is the one you want!

I have had many cases in past seasons where the Boss gobbler controlled a section of woods and ran all the other gobblers out of “his woods”. With the advent of gobbler decoys, you can set one up and he will often charge in to challenge the intruder and be so enraged that he throws his wariness and good judgement to the wind. This has cost many an old gobbler his life.

If he won’t come to you and he will not be fooled by decoys of gobblers, hens or jakes then the next tactic is to wait him out! This is the least fun to most of us hunters but the reward can be high! A couple of my best gobblers were the “waited out kind” and did not come in gobbling at daybreak or early morning. I killed one of them after 1 p.m. after a 7 hour hunt where he answered me several hundred times but, did not come in until after all his hens had left him to go lay their egg or work on their nest.

The other old tom had several sub-toms and he seemed to have more fun head pecking and beating up the other toms. After a morning of hunting him and having him gobble a few hundred times from the safety of a pasture where he was chasing other toms out of his domain, I left him and took a lunch break until after 5p.m. that evening. I slipped back to his location and found him just where I left him that morning and he was still fighting and chasing the subordinates around in the pasture!

When he ran across it to chase another tom the other direction, I slipped in close and hid at the base of a large privet hedge. A bush I had watched him pass several times earlier that day, knowing that it was in his “strut zone” and was a place he felt safe, I settled in and got ready to take a shot so I would not have to move if he came to my call. The sun was bright and to my back, placing me in good shade but, the bush had no cover in front of me except a few blades of sage straw.

At the first yelp I made, He stopped and looked back at me across 200 yards of open pasture. On my next yelp and cutt, He took off running straight at me! At 15 steps, he slid to a stop throwing up dust like the Road Runner on cartoons and broke into a strut as he turned to his right  and “side saddled” in closer! I got my aim right and rolled him!  Thank God I did not see his near 2 inch spurs or turkey fever might have prevailed!

Hope you call up a Big Tom and whack him in the jaw!

Postoak out! (in the spring woods)

 

Slow Start But, Gobblers are Gobbling!

Its all smiles when you get to tote one out! ~postoak~

My season is off to a slow start but, the gobblers have been answering my calls really well, just not coming in. The first morning of the season I hunted in Macon County and enjoyed the vocals of six different gobblers. I struck out to what I thought was the closet one and in just a little bit had him coming to my calls “like on a string”. He covered to hills and hollows and was closing fast! Then he just hushed! I was not sure if he spotted me or a hen got betwen us and cooled him off. I sat for another 45 minutes after his last gobble and saw movement coming! I got my shotgun to my shoulder and was almost ready to push the safety off! Then I saw antlers and about a dozen deer came trotting over the hill and down to my left. I was fortunate to have the wind in my favor since I sure did not want to spook them and run the gobbler off. However, they got down in the small ravine off to my left and started feeding and did not continue away from me.

After another half hour, I heard the gobbler sound off but he had moved over the hill and was about 500 yards off. I decided spooking the deer would be ok so I got up and they just looked at me like, “we know its not deer season” they did pick up and walk off on down in the bottom so I trekked on up the small trail, slipping over the hill top and when I got to the top of the hill I decided to “check him” with a soft set of clucks. Gawwwwbbbbllee!! He nearly blew my cap off it seemed! I could not believe I could not see him since he sounded like he was within 10 feet!  I immediately squatted and crawled over to a small tree behind the cover of a bush. I just knew he must have seen or heard me enough to spook him off, and I did apparently.

I sat there for about an hour and replayed my approach and mistakes. We all make them and I know I should have just “waited it out” where I was before the deer came across me. Mistakes will cost you a turkey and if you don’t think you will make some, Then you are a better turkey hunter than me!  I have been hunting them for over half a century now! Man talk about feeling old! But, I still lose some of my turkey matches every year and this one has started as no exception!

I walked back to the power line where I had parked my four wheeler and glassed down it. A big gobbler was strutting about 600 yards over so I slipped down the side of the line to about 300 yards and slid down into a good spot to call. My first yelp he answered and immediately started walking to me! He got close to killing range and walked behind some privet hedges on the same side as I was set up. I was ready to make a 25 yard shot on him soon as he cleared the last hedge but, He stopped just before the end of the hedge row and walked the other direction! I clucked and he stopped, strutted and gobbled! But, he kept walking back to where I had spotted him and that ended my hunt!

I will get him next time, If I can find some time to hunt! Turkey season is just getting started and so am I !!!!

~postoak~

Youth Weekend was a Cold Start To Spring Turkey Season!

Multi bearded gobblers are trophies for many of us sho chase "Toms" ~postoak~

This past weekend was the start of the Alabama Turkey Season with the Youth Weekend hunt. Hunters under the age of 16 when accompanied by a licensed adult had the unique advantage of hunting for a Wild Turkey gobbler a week ahead of the rest of us Alabama turkey hunters!

I had the distinct priviledge of guiding for my granddaughter on a cold saturday morning hunt on a lease I have in Macon County. IT was 28 degrees when we got on the four wheeler at daylight and as we shivered our way back into the rolling hills to a location I had scouted and seen lots of turkey scratching and other “fresh turkey sign” last weekend as I got my only scouting trip done for the location. We pulled up on a hill side overlooking a big hardwood bottom and while sitting there watching the sunrise and our breathes billow out the steam from the cold temp, right on que, a gobbler sounded off but, he was about a half mile across the bottom and on the adjoining property. Shortly after he gobbled I heard the distinct “who cooks for you? who cooks for you? who cooks for you all?!” and it was pretty easy to tell “that Owl” did not have any feathers! The hunter was fairly decent in his owl calls and the old gobbler even answered him once or twice.

We got off the four wheeler and made our first set in the bottom. After a few yelps, a hen came walking up the hill but, quickly spotted us and took off flying! Not a good way to start! Spooking a hen will often mean the gobbler see her leave as well, so I told Anna Faye “lets go” I then explained to her the hen had “busted us” and there was no need to stay there. WE got back on the four wheeler and slowly climbed the hills back to the power line and went about a half mile down to where several green field were planted.

I parked about 300 yards from the field back in the woods and we started to slip toward the power line so I could glass the green fields that were sprinkled down the lines for nearly a mile as it crossed a large bottom and a creek.  AS we stood listening for a gobbler, one sounded off just over the hill top. We snuck under the hill and around to a small dirt road that went to a clear cut. I knew he was ou in the clear cut and he confirmed it when he gobbled again. I slipped up on the dirt road and set up a hen and a jake decoy and found us a good spot to call from. Or at least I thought it was a good spot. Anna Faye, my granddaughter said she could not see and after she complained about 20 times over the next 20 minutes, I finally gave in and collected our decoys to try and move. The old gobbler apparently spotted our move and shut up, not making another sound despite my call attempts.

We walked about 400 yards to another green field and after an hour of hearing nothing, we called it a morning. So much for catching a gobbler before they get wise to the season starting!

Oh well, Next week starts the season for the rest of us turkey addicts and I will be out there giving it my best once again. Might even take my granddaughter again!

Me and this old Tom met near the Tombigbee River ~Postoak~

IT IS TURKEY SEASON!! GO HUNT ONE!!

~POSTOAK~

The Countdown to Spring Turkey Season

 

A good rabbit hunt means a great meal and fellowship afterwards! ~postoak~

 

It is on! The month of February with it’s cold wet days will end tomorrow night and March will roar in like the Lion bringing spring weather and gobbling turkeys! At least that is what I am praying for! February is not bad for outdoor sports, Rabbit hunting, quail hunting, squirrel hunting, predator hunting Hog hunting.

Getting close to some quail! Fun in February! ~postoak~

I mean, it is a real jackpot for hunters to enjoy as they wind down from the late deer season and get to thinking about strutting turkeys and bedding bass! Not to mention those sweet tasting crappie that will soon be rising up from the winter deep water and biting with more agression than they have shown in Months!

March and April are two of my favorite months for time spent afield chasing gobblers and settn the hook on some great fish! The foliage starts to “green up” the temps start to warm up and we can dump those winter blues along with the jackets and caps!

Last Night, the Elmore County NWTF held it’s annual banquet and as a long time committee member I was very happy to participate and see a great turnout of people who were not shy about having a good time and spending some money in support of the NWTF and our efforts to raise money for the betterment of the Wild Turkey and the habitat for all of the creatures in the great outdoors, except for predators and hogs!

Tomorrow night is the Montgomery Chapter’s banquet and I hope we will see as many folks turnout and spend out to take advantage of the very unique, one of a kind outdoor items that can only be bought or won at an NWTF banquet! For more info, check the NWTF State page for Alabama and it will list the details for the Montgomery baquet TOMORROW NIGHT! COME ON OUT!

I had a number of hunters reporting some great rabbit hunts and quail hunts around the state this week. Both of these game species offer some of the very best in table-fare and if you ever get the chance to dine on either, don’t miss your chance!

Alabama Spring turkey- youth weekend is NEXT weekend! if you have not decided to take a youngster in to the spring turkey woods for a “first crack” at an old spring gobbler before they get spooked by all us adult “turkey nuts”. I urge you to take a child turkey hunting next weekend! I plan to take my granddaughter for a chance at a big gobbler and then, Saturday Afternoon, I will be giving a turkey hunting seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Prattville in the early afternoon. Come on by and I will tell you how we did and share some of my turkey hunting tricks from my more than half a century racking up gobblers around Alabama and other states.

Until next week,

POSTOAK -

“YELPING ON THE PRACTICE CALLS!”

Squirrels, Rabbits, Quail, Predators All February Choices

February Quail Hunting is Fun! ~postoak~

February may be cold, dreary winter time to most folks but, for the various creatures in outdoors Alabama, it is just another day. Squirrels are a favorite February small game that can offer a very social and spirited hunt for a lone hunter or a small group who like to go on a ”vine pull” This was a favorite tactic of ours when we were kids since it was a type of hunt where you could walk through the woods as a group, talking, laughing and enjoying the activity and when you found a tree with a vine growing up it you could often get a squirrel to move by pulling the vines to dislodge a nest or just a bit of rubble in the forks of the tree where squirrels would often hide as we approached. Many days we found great success pulling vines on large hardwood trees around in the river swamps we hunted. He literally found sacks full of the meaty limb chickens after a good morning or afternoon of vine pulling for squirrels.

Rabbits we usually found through the use of our beagles. Daddy had a small pack of 3 to 4 beagles and they could be counted on to roust the rabbits out of the thickest briar patches and brush piles or old hedge rows around our open pastures and row crop fields. Even if we did not have access to the beagles, we could do a “rabbit stomp” and wade off in the brush and briars stomping around and kicking the logs causing a rabbit, or two, to panic and run out of their hiding spot. We took pride in being a good “jump shooter” and head shots were a special source of pride for showing off your marksmanship skills. We were often rewarded with a nice haul of large swamp rabbits that were known to us as a “Cane-cutter” sometimes they were 6 or 7 pounds and had some of the finest tenderloins I ever had after mom had floured and fried them up with home-made biscuits and gravy. Rice or mashed potatoes were the interchangeable side dishes and I loved them both! Still do!

Success in Sumter County ~postoak~

Quail were abundant in the west Alabama woods of the 1960s and Dad had a good pointer so it was a great time for February “bird” hunts. The term quail and bird both meant Bob-Whites and we spent many February days enjoying the work of the dogs and the flush of the covey. Our hunt for all these wild game animals gave us two very important things that we cared deeply about in our bucolic lifestyles, Food and fun!

Back then, we had no wild hogs and no coyotes but, we did shoot the foxes and Bob-cats that we crossed pathes with. Now days, a good pig hunt or coyote hunt is a real possibility and can be a fun venue for hunters to sharpen their shooting skills. Pigs are ruining our habitat and possibly causing lower populations of turkey and other birds due to nest predation. Coyotes are simply very accomplished predators and they are destroying the population of many game animals, including Whitetail deer. I will take one “out” whenever I get the opportunity and will even stop hunting a deer or turkey to take a shot at the destructive coyote!

Get Ready !! Sumter County Quail Hunt ~postoak~

February Hunting- Many choices, Little Time, Big Fun! Go give some of it a try! Your Choice! 

~POSTOAK~

February -Still Lots of Great Hunting to Do!

This Big Buck was taken near Grady in the February season ~postoak~

February deer Season was a big success 

From all reports around south Alabama, the February deer season was an absolute knock out success.Folks got to add a few very nice bucks and lots of does were added to freezers.

I hunt in north Alabama so unfortunately was not able to get an invite down south for a February hunt.I would bet the hunting clubs in south Alabama will be able to fill their empty slots with us hunters from north Alabama who want to have a few more days to chase an old rutting buck in south Alabama!

You can count me in the mix for a south Alabama hunting club! I will not give up my sweet hunting place in north Alabama but, would like to find another spot in the South zone. 

For that same reason, I like to turkey hunt several locations in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and up to Missouri. Each location is an absolutely unique experience with its own wonders and beautiful landscapes. South Alabama has some magnificent topographical feature of what the biologists call the Coastal Plains. The area I hunt in west Alabama is on the north side of the black belt and where I grew up so it makes for some great memories from my early days afield.

After hunting in a wide range of counties and areas in Alabama and other states, I can’t tell you which is the prettiest. That is like judging a Miss America contest Lots of beauty and diversity, heck I love them all! One thing is for sure, There is not enough time in anyone’s life to get to enjoy them all. But, I plan to enjoy as many as I can and my physical stamina will allow.

February is the very best time of year for hunting some great small game species across the state, squirrel, rabbits, and of course quail hunting.

I plan to do some squirrel hunting before the season gets away and have an invite to go rabbit hunting if I can find time. Listening to a good brace of beagles as they chase a rabbit in circles through the brush and waiting for him to come hopping toward your location is a great way to introduce kids to hunting or to have a very social time in the woods.

I also have got to find time to feed the turkey on several different leases I have for this spring. That is a weekend kille, maybe two weekends and a couple hundred bucks but, I have spent so much on leases it would be silly for me to not keep the birds interested in my properties. I guarantee you that others are feeding during the off season and if you want to compete for the birds. You better provide some food to keep them on your place!

More on Turkey season next week!

~POSTOAK~

Hunting Season, It Never Really Ends

Anna Faye or "Anna Slay" with her briar patch doe! ~postoak~

All us hunters on the “upper side” of Bama are “done” with our buck chasing for this season and many of us a rethinking joining a hunting club in “Southern” section of the state so we can ejoy a few extra days in the stand. As the darkness settled in on me and my granddaughter Saturday evening, she pleaded with me to find someone to let us hunt on their land in the late season zone. I told her I did not know anyone and I considered this deer season done!

I dedicated this season to her and she went with me on every trip over to our place in Tuscaloosa. She hunted with me every afternoon and on a couple of morning hunts. I did get a couple of morning hunts alone and a afternoon hunt with a buddy in Autauga county. I did not however, pull the trigger this year. This is only the second time in the past 54 deer seasons in Alabama that I have not taken a deer. Many of my younger hunting days I took more than my share, so to not shoot this year is not a big deal.

What was a big deal for me was taking “the granddaughter”. I had more fun and enjoyment listening to her thoughts on hunting and many other subjects, her whining, praying, fussing, laughing, crying, and of course screaming for joy when she did hit the mark on her deer. She took a nice 7 point buck and a big mature doe so I consider that a really great success for her!

This past weekend’s hunt found us in a too small shooting hut we had not sat before but, I was told by my nephew others had seen a good number of does and a couple of bucks in it on previous days. We got settled in around 3pm and at 4:30 Anna Faye told me she saw a doe coming from the woods. The doe came out and walked within 40 yards of the hut but, she got nervous real quick and slowly trotted down the side of the field and out the end of it into some tall weeds. Anna Faye got “doe fever” and stated the only two does she every shot at, she missed (I knew that). She said she would love to shoot that doe if she came back out! I told her the doe probably saw her moving around inside the hut and might come back since she was slow to exit the field earlier. About 20 minutes passed and I saw the doe stick her head out of the weeds about 180 yards away. She stood there for several minutes and then slowly came back out staring intently at us in the hut. Then she dropped her head and started to graze!

Anna Faye announced that she was going to shoot that doe and started shaking in nervous anticipation! I told her to just wait, practice her breathing I taught her to calm down and let the doe get closer. The doe fed toward our stand for about 10 minutes and when she turned broadside at about 80 yards I gave her the go ahead signal to shoot.

Bang! the doe jumped straight up and ran from the field! Anna Faye was furious (again) thinking she had missed yet another doe and that surely she was jinxed about shooting a doe! I told her the doe looked hit but, let’s find blood. In her excitement, she ran about 20 yards past where the doe was standing she fired. Not finding any blood, she started to become very upset about her doe jinx and she asked me did I see any blood? When I told her I did, she jumped up about like the doe did a few minutes earlier and when I showed her the clear trail of blood crossing the field she took off!

The doe exited the field into a sawbriar patch that was about 200 yards in diameter and I could not see her, only the blood trail. As I fought my way through the head high briars, Anna Faye said she would come help me get her out. However, about two steps later, she was screaming help as the briars caught her britches and dug in her legs. I found the doe in the middle of a brush pile inside the briar patch and began to drag her back to the field. About 3,000 briar sticks later, I made it to the field and the “briarpatch doe” was ours!

Next weekend, we will be taking our annual February squirrel hunting trip, I hope!

~POSTOAK~

Deer Season, it Always Ends Too Soon!

Got this trailcam photo today of a survivor on our land in West Alabama, will be after him this Friday! ~postoak~

I am taking my last hunt for the season this Thursday and Friday with my favorite hunting partner, my granddaughter. Even though the rut has almost ended where we hunt in Tuscaloosa county, the deer have been moving well and we have high hopes of bagging that “Big Buck”. But, what hunter doesn’t? I have had a number of hunters to send me photos of big bucks that have taken or seen recently so there is always hope for a last minute trophy. Frankly, I am looking for a couple of last weekend does to put in the freezer and could care less about a rack. But my hunting partner is all about a rack with drop tines so it would be nice if her wish came true!

I have hunted less this season than anytime I can remember in my adult life since I pretty much dedicated all my season to being the guide. Anna Faye has has been the gunner and I am just the instructor and guide. And you know what? it has been the most awesome deer season I can remember. Watching her get so wound up waiting for a deer to show up, seeing the glow on her face when a buck steps out and watching the pure delight when she is standing over a nice Alabama white tail buck has been an incomparble experience for me.

Unfortunately, the down side to 55 years of shooting deer is that the “new” was worn off along time ago and for many years, I failed to recognize that fact. Anna Faye brought back the memories I once relished as a child, the trembing excitement that the first glimpse of a deer coming through the woods brought to my young heart, the rush of adrenalin brought about by a set of antlers on a deer that seemed huge immediatley before the trigger was pulled and the sensation of being a world-beater brought about by standing over a buck and lifting his head for a photo of the trophy!

WOW! It is almost as fun when it is your child or grand child who is sharing that wonderful moment with you!

I have received several photos of bucks still “out there ” on 2 different properties that I am fortunate enough to get to hunt. Check them out!

This deer is close! right here near Montgomery! Hope someone is lucky enough to get him!

Next Week my focus will shift to spring turkey hunting mode and that is my real passion as far as hunting goes, so I am always ready to get out in the spring woods and listen for the sound of a spring gobbler “rattling the trees” calling those hens!

Until next week, good hunting to you!

~Postoak~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is Harvest Time in the Deer Woods!

This past weekend, I got numerous reports about great deer movement and rut activity. Many hunters I spoke with think it was about as good as it can get for any weekend of the season! In the western part of central Alabama.

I spent my weekend hunting with my granddaughter who has become quite a good young hunter and is so much fun to spend time in the deer woods with that it makes an old veteran hunter like me smile and remember how excited I used to get when I saw a deer not to mention how pumped up I was when a buck walked out! We hunted on a prime spot at our family farm in Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon. It is a big grrenfield that is 200 yards wide and 400 yards long and is simply known as number four field. It is surrounded by a hardwood swamp just about a mile from the Warrior river and is a deer paradise!

We got in the stand early, about 2:15, and we sat patiently unitil five does came out in a small greenfield behind our stand just visible through about a 100 yard scope of woods. Not long after they came out at about 3:30, a very nice heavy racked 8 pointer stepped out in the field and Anna Faye started asking if she could try to take a shot at him. Since he was on the other side of a thick stand of small saplings, I told her I did not think it would be a good shot and she fussed that she was sure she could get him even through the trees. I asked her if she wouldn’t feel bad to miss him or even worse to wound him and allow to run off and die in the swamp. All of a sudden, they spooked and all cleared out of the field so that ended that debate. It was almost 5 pm before we saw anymore deer and She was getting mighty dissapointed the 8 pointer had not came to 4 field. About then a nice 7 pointer with a good size boddy and nice rack stepped out of the woods on the other side of the field about 200 yards away. He was soon followed by five other bucks with various small to medium racks and a single doe.

I first though he was one on the “no shoot list” but as he walked closer I could see he was not a buck with kickers that Travis told me not to shoot. Anna Faye was so excited when I told her she could shoot him and I had to tell her to calm down and take some deep breaths before she lined up her shot!

She was in a state of full blown “buck fever” and finally got her composure and I coached her to take her time, focus on the sights and squeeze the trigger. BAM! she fired and he shot straight up and then piled up dead in his tracks! She had made another great shot and the buck was hers! Excited, she handed me the rifle and ran out to get a closer look at her buck! It was a great hunt and one this old hunter will remember for years to come. I think she will too!

There were several nice bucks taken and down in South Alabama there was a couple of Monster bucks reported taken in the wiregrass. In Abbeville, a hunter took a huge buck from a peanut farm and he was a drop tined monster! At 181 and 4/8s that is quite a rack!. There have been several free range Alabama bucks taken this season that scored from 160s to almost 200 and when you can find free-range, true wild bucks across different areas of the state that is a very good sign for the future of Alabama Deer Hunting!

Rough Weekend for the Deer and Us!

Anna Faye and Me on a weekend with better results! ~postoak~

This last weekend I took my granddaughter back to the deer woods in pursuit of that “trophy-drop tine buck”  that she is convinced she will get this year because she has “prayed enough to deserve it”. I have attempted to explain to her that God is not a Genie and he does not grant the wishes of little girls to kill a big drop-tine buck no matter how much they pray in ernest. Her reply was “why not?” I really want one so bad and it would not hurt anything, (other than the buck) so, I went back over the issue again in a futile attempt to explain how rare a drop-tine buck is and that no one has every killed a drop tine buck in our place.

We have killed many very nice bucks with big racks and heavy bodies. Bucks with multiple “sticker” points, long brow tines and big knarly bases but, drop-tine bucks are very, very rare. I told her that I have personally killed hundreds of nice bucks and while a number of them had sticker points, kickers and other unique antlers, a real drop tine buck is one I have not taken. Undeterred, she continued to say she would get one as we sat in the shooting house on a huge green field down near the Black Warrior river in west Alabama.

About 3:45 a yearling stepped out of the pines and timidly fed along the edge of the field. The Yearling stayed near the safety of the pine thicket until it was joined in a few minutes by five more yearlings. Emboldened by the numbers, the yearling pranced out to the middle of the greenfield and started nibbling the winter wheat stems again. Two other youngsters butted heads and chased each other around in the field about 75 yards from our hut and just as Anna Faye was exclaiming how much fun it is to just watch the deer, she started to hiss under her breath, big buck! big Buck! BIG Buck! I  whispered for her to hush and sit still since the buck was less than 10 yards behind the shooting house standing back in the pines.

He was watching the yearling in the field and when several adult does came out and joined them, he walked away and down the row of pine woods. About 15 minutes later, he appeared in the end of the field at a distance of 270 yards on my range finder. Anna Faye watched him through the scope and was protesting about me telling her not to shoot him and lets see if he would come closer. After he fed near the end of the field about 20 minutes and the other deer slowly funnelled out of the field headed to the hardwoods behind the field, he started walking directly toward us and then started to trot toward us. I told her to get ready to shoot when I told her to and we watched the buck walk and fed unitl he was 90 yards out. At that point, he turned and started walking back toward the pines so I told her to get on him and I would whistle to stop him. I gave a short note in a shrill tone and he stopped perfectly at broadside and I told her to SHOOT! As I watched her fire, he bucked, kicked his rear legs indicating a hit and I told her she hit and I think she got him!

She handed me the gun and bolted out of the hut to go find him. I reloaded and followed her to see where he fell since he had exited the field. However after a 10 to 15 minute search and with dark arriving, I had to call off our retrieval and she was so upset, she broke down and started crying! I hated it so bad !  But, felt good she had made a good shot so I told her to stop crying and that I would find the buck in the morning. That seemed to reduce her anxiety and we headed to My father in law’s home in Eutaw to spend the night. Saturday morning, I came back and sat in the woods watching for a doe to harvest but all I saw was two young bucks and several yearlings that were probably part of the same group I saw on Friday evening.

At 8:30 with a cold wind and little deer movement, I decided to get up and find the buck she shot. I went to the field where I had marked the location I estimated he was at when she shot and walked around awhile but, found no blood at all. Concerned, I started to work my way up and down the rows of pines in the woods he ran in after the shot. I walked the pine rows back and forth for the next 2 hours covered 27 rows from one end to the other with each being about 600 yards long. Tired and disgusted, blood sugar dropping, I headed for the truck and it was nearly lunch time. A little more than 300 yards around the bend of an adjoining field, I saw a big set of ears moving as a deer watched me approach but, remained laying down. I thought it was a doe and was far too tired to want to fool with one, Although I needed to take some meat. I decided to not shoot and when the deer finally jumped up and ran, I saw it was the 6 pointer Anna Faye had shot! I was so mad at myself for that mistake, That I spent another 45 minutes trying to track him back in the pines. I caught a glimpse of him one more time but, finally gave up and went to the truck!

Anna Faye had been so distraught and them blamed the gun for the wounding that I decided to check the accuracy of the scope. Two shots hit the target near the bullseye at 135 yards as the last item for me to do as I was leaving the farm. The scope was on target. IT is hard to tell an excited and dissapointed young hunter the deer was not found and the scope checked out ok. But, that is the reality of deer hunting. I would rather miss a deer than to ever woulnd one and it have to suffer. However, this buck looked like he probably will heal! Not so sure about about her ego!

~postoak~