November 19th evening hunt
I left work early and planned on hunting Thursday night through the weekend. I got into my stand and settled in around 1:50. I decided to use a ladder stand (this is the one my wife, HunterMom, uses and has seen a lot of action from) because itís easy to get in and out of without spooking anything.
I wasnít in the stand 10 minutes and a nice buck just appeared 60 yards in front of me walking along a pond. I tried everything to bring him my way but he looked exhausted and wanted nothing to do with me. I watched him walk right along the pond and then bed down about 100 yards from me.
I watched him for a good hour and during that time he was restless, throwing his head around and laying on his side. I had never seen a deer lay on their side before, I knew it was odd but it was during the rut and he probably was whipped.
I continued to keep an eye on him and saw him moving around for a good 2 hours. Then for the next half-hour I noticed he was very still. I sent a text to duckbuckgoose, HunterMom and my brother to tell them about it. They were all excited and wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted to put a stalk on him once I saw he was not moving much. If he was that tired I thought I could get close but decided to wait him out.
For the next hour squirrels and the wind were making all kinds of noise and he was not budging. I waited until the last hour of light and decided to sneak up on him. I got down, set my stuff to the side and started the stalk. The wind was perfect and I had a group of trees I kept between me and him.
I got to within 10 yards, could see him laying there and then the heart started pounding and my legs started shaking. I found a small opening in the thick stuff, drew my bow and made a loud grunt with my mouth. He laid motionless, I called again even louder, he did not move. I unhooked my release picked up a stick and tossed it at him. I hit him right in the side and he did not budge. He was dead and I was in shock.
I called my brother, duckbuckgoose and HunterMom and let them know what happened and they were all amazed. My brother grabbed the 4-wheeler and the trailer and we loaded him up. Still concerned about whether or not he was dead we kept a close eye on him going back to the house.
Once we got back to the house we called the ODNR and got a hold of the local game warden. We were concerned with disease and whether or not we could do anything with him. The game warden said itís not uncommon for older bucks to get themselves so worked up that they die from natural causes. He gave us 2 options, tag him and claim the deer or drag him into the woods and let the Coyotes have dinner. I could not see leaving that majestic animal in the woods to rot and let the meat go to waste. In Ohio you can only take one buck so even though I did not shoot him I used my only buck tag and claimed him. I had him processed and made sure to inform the processor about what happened just in case the meat was bad. I am going to have the cape mounted as well.
After we got back to the house and had everything taken care of we wanted to see if we caught this big boy on our trail camera. Wouldnít you know it but he was the first buck we caught on the camera this year. He was a nice 10 point with a crab claw on his right main beam.
That was a once in a lifetime hunt I had and having that mount on my wall will remind me of that day.
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