New Location For Feeder and Blind
On Sunday, the day before Veteran’s Day, Tycen and I drove down to the Hyde Farm property. He had scouted out a new location. In tall brush where it was obvious deer had made trails and had bedded down. He set up the ground blind about 40 yards from the feeder.
Normally, something new like this would disrupt the deer traffic for at least a few days to a week, while they get used to the new scenery.
Might As Well Try It
On Veterans Day morning Tycen had planned to be in the blind 45 minutes before first light. The morning didn’t quite go that smoothly, and it was about 25 minutes before the first light when he got in the blind.
He decided that what the heck? He might as well sit in the new blind, it couldn’t hurt. So he got himself set up in the new spot.
Coming Your Way
At 8:15 Tycen got a text from his hunting buddy on the other part of the property, saying that there was a buck headed to the back of the property and a doe headed his way, they had stayed in front of him for a bit and then moved on without allowing him an opportunity to get a shot.
Tycen had the windows on the back of the blind covered. At 8:45 he heard something approaching from behind him. He assumed it was that doe that his buddy had mentioned. He peeked through a crack in the window of the blind and did not see what he expected! It wasn’t the doe…his friend had seen…
It Was A Huge Drop-Tine Buck
He was 10 or 15 yards behind the blind, making his way towards the blind without a care in the world. It’s that time of year, so he must have been running on a doe’s scent.
When the buck finally passed beside the blind, he was literally close enough that Tycen could have reached out and touched him. As he walked past the blind he was quartering away from him at about 4 or 5 yards.
What He Hunts With
Tycen was hunting with a Tenpoint Renegade crossbow. He has been using the crossbow for about three years now and has taken at least 8 or 9 doe with it.
He has been using Spitfire 100gr broadheads ever since he started using the crossbow. Of all the deer he has taken this one is the only one that the bolt did not go all the way through.
Shot placement on this buck was behind his right shoulder, which would have put the bolt directly at his vitals. When the bolt his the buck it only went in about 6 to 8 inches. After he was hit he trotted through the brush about 50 yards behind the blind.
Despite being super excited, Tycen waited about 45 minutes to get out of the blind. He met up with the other hunter to begin to track the deer,
Tracking On Our Property
They waited about 15 minutes more and then headed back to the area of the initial shot to begin tracking the buck. 30 yards from the blind is where they spotted the first blood. It was only a few drops. As they continued on they passed two very large pools of blood. The buck may have laid down there. They found part of the bolt and lots more blood as they continued through the brush. As they continued the blood became sparse.
He Had To Go And Cross The Road!
The buck had crossed the road and onto private property which was wooded. The problem was that in MD the laws are very specific about allowing you to come onto someone else’s property to track game.
Using a hunting app on his phone, one that is made for that purpose, he was able to find a public right of way to access where they thought the buck had headed.
They picked up blood again fairily quickly. Unfortunately, it led back onto private property. They were lucky though and not only did the landowner allow access to tracking on the property, he also offered to help.
Jumped The Buck Again
As they continued walking on they went about 20 yards and jumped the buck who ran onto a different piece of private property and disappeared from sight. Then Tycen decided to back off for a bit.
Asking For Permission… Again
Tycen used his app to find the names and addresses for the homeowners whose property he suspected the buck may be on. He hoped that by the time he spoke with the owner, get permission and began to track again that the buck would be dead.
When he got back to the neighborhood, he asked permission to another homeowner. Jumped the buck again, got frustrated and decided to stop until his other hunting buddies could get off work and help track.
By this time it was about 1:00, his friends got there at 3:30. Luckily, the air temperature in the low 50’s made it so that he didn’t have to worry about the deer meat spoiling.
Found Him Around 3:45 Had To Ask Permission Again!
They found where he was via the state right of way land. The buck thought was on private property so he had to ask permission yet again.
Luckily this homeowner was also agreeable to let the come on her property to track the deer. Even though she was a wildlife watcher and actually fed the deer, she had no problem with hunting assuming we are going to eat the venison, which of course we are!
Finally Got To Him!
They found the buck in a big hole, where the root ball of an upturned tree had fallen. Unfortunately, he was still alive. Tycen took another shot at 15 yards. Shot placement was behind the left shoulder this time.
Again, the bolt did not pass all the way through the buck. Luckily, he did only go about 20-30 yards and he went down for the last time.
Beast Of A Deer To Get Off The Property
Before it was field dressed the buck weighed about 200 pounds. It was about a 400-yard drag back to the truck, so that he could take the deer across the street to our property and field dress it.
To The Processor/ Taxidermist
Once the buck was field dressed (and lots of pictures were taken of course), it was off to the processor/ taxidermist. This was a once in a lifetime buck for Tycen. For the first time in his life, he took something that he thought was worthy of being put up on the wall. We ordered a shoulder mount with the bucks head down and to the left. I’m sure it will be beautiful.
Take Away Lessons
Tycen has been hunting for 35 years. This is only the second time he had an animal not die within a couple of hundred yards after the shot. Things happen, to everyone no matter how experienced you are!
One reason that he thinks he may have had this happen is that he did not lift the screen out of the way when he took the shot. Since it is a mechanical broadhead, it may have opened when it hit the screen and wasn’t as forceful by the time the bolt hit the deer with the broadhead already open.
Always make sure you check your equipment and that it is in good repair. Tycen’s bow was getting awful close to the three-year mark when it is recommended the strings and cables be replaced.
Wait To Track
Next, no matter how excited you are, wait at least an hour or so to track them. If they run and bed down, you may pressure them too much and they may take off to the point you aren’t able to find them.
Lastly, make sure you are aware of the laws where you are hunting in regards to tracking game onto private property. Some states, Virginia for example, allow you to go onto private property to retrieve your animal as long as you aren’t armed. As I mentioned before here in Maryland you need permission from any private landowner whose property you want to go onto.
Be Respectful and Grateful
It should be common sense, but when meeting landowners, make sure you ask permission to come onto their land. Introduce yourself, explain the situation and ask permission. This good outdoor’s man etiqueN\tte and sportsmanship which is important to maintain to ensure you are allowed to continue hunting.
How Many Veterans Does It Take To Track A Giant Buck On Veteran’s Day?
Now we know, one Army, one Air Force, and two Marine Corp Veterans! It was an all-day deal ordeal, but they did it! I can’t think of a better day for a Veteran like Tycen to the buck of his lifetime!
A Message From Tycen Himself!
What started as one of the best hunting days, Veterans Day 2019, of my life quickly turned into a nightmare. Thankfully after a very long day, it had a positive outcome. I have hunted whitetail deer since I was 8 years old which is close to 39 years of experience.
Although you never set out to fail sometimes things happen. As a hunter the worst thing I dread is taking a shot on an animal only to lose that animal because you didn’t kill it. In 39 years and hundreds of deer killed I have only lost one deer.
I had a clean shot and the deer went down immediately. What I couldn’t see was that he was standing next to a deep pool of water. My shot was apparently not an immediate kill shot even with a rifle and the deer disappeared into the water next to where he was standing only to jump up seconds later and bolt into the woods.
Water and blood don’t mix so there want a blood trail and I lost any sign of his trail in less than 100 yards. After searching for 4 hours that day and about 4 hours the following morning, I didn’t find him. I felt really bad about shooting something I wasn’t able to harvest.
I am a responsible hunter and I try very hard to ensure any animal I take is killed as quickly as possible and I only kill animals that I eat.
Sometimes Things Don’t Go As Planned
Here is the reality of it all, sometimes things happen and you end up with a wounded deer. How you deal with it is what makes you a responsible hunter.
In both cases, I tracked the animal as far as I could. I lost one but my Veterans Day buck I found. It took me 7 hours and speaking to a handful of property owners but I finally found him and was able to take another shot to kill him. He will provide about 3 months of valuable food for us. Just remember not everything goes as planned.
Make sure you have a backup plan and execute it accordingly. Sometimes it won’t work but at least you did your due diligence to ensure your hunting is ethical and you kill more animals than wound. When and if you wound an animal do everything in your power to make it right. Hopefully, someone will benefit from any of the mistakes I made.