It’s funny how a season unfolds for a deer hunter. One day you are wondering if you’re going to see a deer all season. The next minute, you have your bow pulled back on a buck. Then, you are on the ground following the blood trail. Sometime you walk right up on the deer, and other times your wondering if you are ever going to find it. So many emotions go through a hunter when he climbs up into that tree. That is what happened to me on Halloween day.
I had been having a very rough season. Usually by this time of the year, I have a doe in the freezer or I have passed on many deer. I have been following a guy on facebook by the name of Jeff Sturgis. This guy really knows his whitetail and I have learned a lot. He has been talking a lot about being in the woods at the right time and using cold fronts to your advantage. I have always heard about this but had never really understood it until now. I also have shot two bucks the past two years right before fronts. This year I had a much better understanding and tried to hunt my best spots only during these fronts. Halloween day was setting up to be a day just like Jeff predicted. The winds were perfect for my state-land stand and the cold front was suppose to show up around 10 AM.
Halloween morning, I said my morning prayer heading into the stand and thank God for another day to hunt. I climbed into the stand in the rain before light and waited. My plan was to sit til about 2:30 and move stands in the afternoon. The peak of activity is usually between 9:30 and 2. The deer rarely use this piece of land in the evening. Around 9:30, I seen a decent 6-point walk by and a few minutes later a different deer walked by in the distance. I then noticed it started to feel cooler and it started to drizzle. Unfortunately I had to put my camera a way. Around 10 A.M. I heard some splashing behind me and a doe snuck in. Behind her was a buck. At first I thought it was a small buck but then he turned his head and his antlers were beyond his ears. My predator instinct took over and I knew this was the buck I had been waiting for. I pulled back but he had some tall grass between us. Then for some reason he backed up like he caught my wind or seen me move. To bad for him, he back right into a shooting lane. I aimed a little high thinking he was at 30 yards and let go. I hit the deer and was confident with my shot.
Not a minute after I made the shot, it started to pour. Not knowing how quick a rainstorm will wash blood a way, I jumped down from my stand and went after the deer. The blood trail was like a normal blood trail, spraying blood all over the place. The tall grass also helped show me where the deer was going. 20 yards from the hit, I found my lumenok with the arrow snapped in half. 100 yards later, the blood stopped and started again 15 yards later. The on and off trail continued this pattern for about 120 yards. Then at the property line, it completely stopped. I thought for sure the deer was gone after looking for an hour.
After getting permission to continue onto the private property, I made a call to a deer-tracking hound. I could not get a hold of him so I continued looking. I ended up finding more blood while talking to my buddy. After about 30 yards, that blood stopped near the river. My buddy Trent, an expert deer hunter, told me to back off the trail so I wouldn’t kick up the deer. Last thing I wanted to do was jumped the deer. The rain had also stopped. So I waited til 3 to resume my search. After searching some more, I decided to cross the river to see if there was any blood. I ended up not finding any.
The deer-tracking hound ended up starting to text me while at work. After a few texts back and fourth, my phone died after I crossed the river. I was almost a mile back in the woods and really did not want to make the walk again to call the tracking hound back. Last year my buck stopped bleeding 75 yards from where it died in the river. I was hoping for a repeat of him being in the river
While walking the river, I searched every major deer-crossing trail for signs of my buck. No blood was found. About 80 yards down the river bank, I seen a brown blob in the water, could it be? Watch the video to find out:
The deer ended up dying approximately 600 yards away from where I hit him. It looked like he may have crossed the river once but it’s hard to tell with no blood sign. I found no trace of blood after 450 yards of tracking him. I ended up being high and reflected off his shoulder blade. After an examination of the vitals, everything was in tack. I must have caught an artery. I got real lucky! What helped was past experience-tracking deer by myself and with buddies. Without those opportunities, this buck may have never been found. That is why I tell people to go on every deer track possible. I am very thankful I found my biggest buck on state land nonetheless.
Being in the woods at the right time helped me get an arrow into this deer. Past experience tracking this buck helped me retrieve him. There is no worse feeling then loosing a deer. I am hoping this article offers some tips to finding deer for fellow hunters.