10 Years...

Fowl Play

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Spent the holidays back home in Florida a little longer than usual… so decided to try to break away for a little deer hunting. In prepping for the trip I started trying to remember the last time I took a whitetail buck. Well… haven’t shot one since I moved out here 6 years ago…. Then didn’t get after them at all during college… holy cow it’s been 10 years! I’ve shot a few does during that time, but never anything with horns… decided it was time to remedy that, so threw the hunting gear and trail cams into the luggage.

First night out was supposed to be a scouting mission. Was able to break away last minute and had to make it to a family dinner a little after dark… so was not super prepared. Plan was to just hike into a spot I knew and place some trail cameras. The spot I was going to on public land, I had been to previously chasing wood ducks… it’s a narrow strip of elevated dry ground (probably 200 yards wide and a quarter mile long) that is the only dry ground in the middle of a swamp and connects two other patches of dry ground. I had walked this corridor many times before and knew it was loaded with oaks and was a natural funnel, but I had never deer hunted it. The spot’s about a mile in from the nearest hiking trail and requires hip waders to reach. Got there mid-afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to see a good amount of acorns on the ground and allot of deer sign. Placed the trail cameras, and then decided to clear a shooting lane/make a natural ground blind in the area that looked the most promising. It was about an hour before sunset at this time, so I decided to sit for the evening and see what moved through. Not 30 minutes later I was pleasantly surprised to see 3 does move through munching on acorns… not bad. About 20 min before LST I catch a flash of white through the woods… a little basket rack 7 point was browsing in my direction with 2 other does in tow! Nice! I was definitely not expecting to see deer on the first night… let alone a buck. I really wanted to take this buck… but I started thinking it through. I’m a mile in… with really only a dull pocket knife at my disposal… nothing to haul meat… driving an SUV I borrowed from a family member… with nothing to put the meat into to not wreck their car. I also need to be at a big family dinner in a little bit, which I will completely miss if I pull this trigger. Really don’t want to be in the doghouse this early into the vacation…. So decided to just let this buck mosy on through and I’d come back another night.
 

Fowl Play

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[SIZE=11pt]Next hunting day I had my dad’s truck all packed, well prepared for a pack out this time. Was en route to the hunting grounds, when a buddy called and invited me and my family to hunt wild boar on his property. Not wanting to pass up this invite, I decided to bail on my deer hunt and picked up my Dad and brother for a boar hunt. We all hunted separate spots and unfortunately everyone else got skunked, but I had a little luck. On the way into my spot, I saw a group of piglets off in the swamp. Hunkered down behind a large oak and watched as they fed to within 30 yards of me. Was hoping there would be some larger models in tow, but turned out to just be piglets (someone must’ve shot momma). Now… wild boar are a huge nuisance on this property so all pigs, regardless of size, are kill on sight, so I got down on a knee… waited for 3 little piggys to line up broadside and… let’s just say, there are very few pictures I would share of the carnage that ensued. First pig in the line wasn’t bad, but the ones behind it… WOWZA! Called up my buddy and said I needed help dragging a boar. When he asked for weight I said, “About 240…”. Imagine his surprise when he gets out of his truck and I say… “Ounces”. “What?” “I mean he’s about 240 ounces”. Got a good laugh outta that. Did my best to take what I could. Pulled the backstraps on the two piggies in back – which made fantastic pork chops (of sorts). I roasted the first piggy whole – delicious. That night, I got a little stir crazy… loaded a bunch of slugs in the 12 gauge, put on my waders and headlamp… and pulled my cards on the trail cameras from my deer spot. Super pumped on what I saw… several small bucks coming through the area during daylight. And some real studs (for Florida) at night. The next afternoon was supposed to see a 30 degree temperature plummet, overcast, a little rain… I was going to make sure to be in my blind.[/SIZE]
 

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Fowl Play

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Next day in the blind was miserable… sure enough it was 20 degrees, overcast, windy, and scattered raining, but… a great day to be in the woods. Had some does feed through early, then about 30 minutes before end of shoot time, this old 5 point starts feeding on acorns in the middle of my shooting lane. Awesome! I’m not going to let this buck go, but I wanted to wait it out and see if anything else showed up (I recognized this buck from the trail cam pictures I pulled the night before and he had a larger 7 point running with him.) Every once in a while this buck would raise his head quickly and stare off into the woods – so good chance something was behind him…. But would it get here in time? It was getting real dark now, every few minutes I would lift my rifle and make sure I could still see my crosshairs. Finally, had to call it… buck was facing towards me now, so would have to put it into his chest… immediately got buck fever once I knew I was going to take the shot LOL. BOOM! Buck dropped in place and never moved again! Called my dad on the radio and told him I needed help with a pack out (he was hunting about 500 yards away). Real old buck, not a monster, but super stoked with him. Probably 130lbs on the hoof and was so old his teeth were practically ground to the gum line. Must’ve been a fighter too as he had several scars on his face and body, broken tine, as well as a nasty tear inside his mouth (must’ve taken some horns inside the mouth?) OUCH!

Immediately got to work skinning him and had made some good progress by the time my Dad got to me. Real good time with Dad, reminiscing old hunts while we quartered up the buck. Rinsing off the meat and gear in a nearby stream on the way back was nice… made cleanup a breeze! All in all, a great day in the field.
 

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Fowl Play

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Almost forgot the most important part! Chased some ducks while I was back in town too with a few buddies! Temps were cold and some light wind made for many good shoots. New Year’s dinner was a mix of backstraps, wild boar, and duck roll ups. Awesome.
 

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hatchet1

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Incredible documentation..your a patient dude.. congrats!!
 

Zach

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Heck of a trip!

How did the lawn darts taste?
 

Fowl Play

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Zach said:
Heck of a trip!

How did the lawn darts taste?
I passed on those suckers.... my buddies who kept shooting them assured me they are potable with the proper preparation... I'll take their word for it!
 

snoopdogg

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Damn-that's a great put of state getaway. Congrats.
 

nicapopolis

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Fowl Play said:
Heck of a trip!

How did the lawn darts taste?
I passed on those suckers.... my buddies who kept shooting them assured me they are potable with the proper preparation... I'll take their word for it!
I just saw another post somewhere about how they hammered the mergansers...... I am pretty sure it works the other way around.....
 

TheGDog

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ROFL!!! Lawn Darts BUAAAHAHAHAAA...!!!! Thanks man... I needed that laugh!!!
 
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