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Deer Season 2015

Deer season has been a tale of two stories. Those who hunted the traditional “pay dirt” stands/blinds saw few mature bucks and it was no mystery why as the doe traffic around the field edges was greatly reduced in spite of more food available than ever before. I spent my time hunting back in the woods mostly in the stands/blinds that can only be reached by boat. Back in those areas, I saw more mature bucks than I have ever seen before, and in the first 7 days of rifle season, I saw 7 mature bucks, several of which I wanted to get a shot at. The last few days of rifle season I did not have as much time to go, out in the boat, and the other hunters had departed so I put the decoys out in the open fields and hoped to pull a bruiser out of the timber/dumps. Down to the last hunt of the season, I went to the north ramp blind and, put out a set that has worked well in the past. 30 minutes before the last shooting time this deer came right to the decoy and in spite of his small stature I decided that he scored well enough to shoot. After reviewing the deer on the ground, I am certain this is the same deer that I passed twice this year with my bow. Why did I pass him? Because he was with a 1.5-year-old deer and his small body size made me certain that I would be shooting a great 2.5-year-old buck. I am now convinced that the deer is 4.5 years old. The taxidermist looked at the deer and thought it older, but just “small” and examining the teeth certainly made that seem reasonable as well. My buck scored 161 7/8″. I still have not counted all the points, but there are stickers everywhere. From the bow stand I estimated this buck to be 145″, but with no experience scoring non-typical deer I suppose the underestimate makes sense and gives some credence to my other gross score estimates of bucks that got away. I learned a lot from this experience, and I hope it demonstrates my commitment to Quality Deer Management that I let this buck walk by at 5 yards when I thought he was too young to shoot…

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