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Average Joe's 2018

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sn.outdoors

sn.outdoors

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That's awesome man congrats on a hell of a year. Whereabouts in NM they sending you this time?
I'm going to be moving to Clovis (the land of endless, flat grassland) this weekend.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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sn.outdoors

sn.outdoors

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Also.... I have 1/2 a day of hunting to edit and post. Not much free time in the busy schedule, but I'll get it posted tonight.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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sn.outdoors

sn.outdoors

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Day 8, down to the wire:

The biggest advantage to these late season hunts is the late sunrises. It's especially nice after a week of hard hunting and late nights. We weren't it too much of a hurry to get things started on the last day, but we also knew we didn't have much time to get things done. Ryan and I both had long drives ahead of us, and we needed to be out of camp mid-afternoon I'm order to make it home on time.

Our plan for the day was to go after a large herd of deer we spotted the day before. We spotted the herd on top of a mesa, 2.5 miles in the wrong direction from the pit. Ryan, Jeff and I would take the UTV to the spot Steve killed his javelina, and while we were hunting up and over the message, Steve and Greg would reposition the UTV to a road closer to where we saw the deer. We would've started closer to the animals, but the wind wasn't right to stalk from that side. Either way, the hike up and over the mesa wouldn't be too bad. But hiking up and back would most likely take too long.

We carried our wheeled bows and all we needed to do was kill 2 javelina and 3 deer. Easy... Right?

We didn't make it 300 yards before we spotted the first deer on the horizon.



The wind was perfect and they were walking toward a spot we could get to that had plenty of terrain and vegetation for us to get close. We boogied over there as quickly as possible.

Of course, everything looked different once we got over there, but we were able to find the herd before they found us. The herd had 4 bucks about the same size as the one in the photo above, a forky, and around a dozen does. One of the does must have been close to estrus because the bucks were constantly running all over the place and fighting each other hard. We thought they'd feed into the scrub brush and juniper, but every time a doe came our way, a buck would cut her off and chase her back into the open. It was chaotic; impossible to predict. All we could do was get to the edge of the cover and hope they would come a little closer.

We almost made it to the edge, but a random buck spotted Ryan and stared him down. Ryan froze immediately. The buck was in range, but only Ryan could see him and his face was the only thing visible above the scrub oak. They stared at each other for almost an eternity (10ish minutes) while the rest of the herd seemed completely oblivious to the impending danger creeping through the brush.

Jeff was sitting right next to Ryan and was also stuck. I was a few yards to Ryan's left and was able to crawl into a better position. I could see the deer out in the open, but I still had a large bush between me and the buck staring at Ryan. It was just a matter of time before I got a shot, or the buck blasted out of there. Since the wind was perfect, I liked our chances.

The buck in the photo walked through a clearing in front of me several times and in range, but he never stopped long enough for me to get a shot. His nose was buried in a doe's backside, but she wasn't willing to stop and let him do anything about it. The herd was milling around just in the other side of a wall of scrub brush, and I couldn't get ranges on any deer. Not to mention the fact that the only deer standing still was the one giving Ryan the stink eye.

Luckily, Ryan was able to stay still long enough for the buck to lose interest, or he forget what he was doing. The buck turned and walked straight into my shooting window and stopped...

I knew the range for the yucca he was standing next to, so I dialed my sight and repositioned for the shot. He took a few steps so I ranged him again, re-adjusted my sight, drew back, settled my pin, and released the arrow.

The shot was perfect, and the arrow zipped straight through him. He bucked his legs, sprinted, face-planted, and was legs up in less than 10 seconds.

The rest of the herd had no idea what just happened, but did their usual thing. They grouped up, walked over to the dead buck, stared at it for a minute or two, and then the bucks went back to pestering the does.

I told Ryan to get over to me and we switched spots. I peeked over the brush and called out the ranges to the buck standing right in front of him. Somehow he didn't hear me yell at him in incomprehensible sign language to, "stand up and shoot him, he's 50yards away!"

Ryan looked at me like a hog staring at a wrist watch... So I said it out loud, "the buck is RIGHT there. Shoot him!"

"I can't see him."

"Stand up!"

"I can't. They'll see me."

"If you don't they're gone."

The deer trotted a few yards away and stopped.

"Dude, you gotta get up and look."

He finally stood up and saw how close the deer were. They were more concerned about the dead buck than they were with us. I ranged the buck again, and Ryan dialed his sight. As he was attaching his release to his string... An old, crusty, buck with a beat up face, popped up out of nowhere. He was 90 degrees to our right and only 45 yards away. Staring straight at us. He had us pegged. I marveled at the scars on his face through my rangefinder. He was a decent 4x4 with short browtines, he was a tad wider than the ears, but wasn't very tall. He was a bruiser.

All we could see was his face. No shot.

Surprisingly, he trotted to our right, into the open, and stopped.... broadside... at 67yds.

Now Ryan has 2 bucks in range and has to figure out which one to dial his sight to... It all happened pretty quick, but ultimately he wasn't able to decide, dial and get a shot off before the deer ran off. Soooo close!

Since the herd never caught our scent, and the old crusty buck ran off in the other direction, the majority of the deer still didn't seem to be spooked much.

We followed them and watched them start to bed down on the next ridge. There wasn't much cover. It was a low odds stalk, but Ryan and Jeff were going to try anyways. I sat back and glassed the group of deer.



That little fork buck couldn't have bedded in a better spot for the security of the herd. He was in the open and relatively high. The rest of the herd bedded on the other side of the "hill" just out of sight. Every once in a while I'd see an ear flick in the grass, but that was it.

Ryan and Jeff ran out of cover at 180 yards, and the little buck spotted them. He got up and stared at them for a few minutes before trotting 50-60 yards. In typical mule deer fashion, he stopped to look back. Only this time, he stopped 10 yards away from a bedded coyote. The buck forgot about us, puffed up, went stiff legged, and got aggressive toward the coyote. Jeff moved and got behind a line of cover while the deer and coyote did their dance off. He was able to close the distance to less than 100 yards, but the buck wasn't having it. He trotted off and took the rest of the herd with him.

With to extra time on the clock, we decided to let them go, and walked back to finally check out my buck. I honestly had no idea what he looked like. So I was anxious to finally put my hands on him.

I was very happy to see he was a great buck!







As we were quartering the buck, it dawned on us how terrible our logistical plan was... We killed the buck less than half a mile from the road we parked by, but we 4 miles away from where the UTV was relocated to. We also didn't have enough time to drop packs, run to the UTV, drive it back, pack out the buck, and make it back to camp.



Being young and dumb, Ryan and I decided to just hoof it back to camp, and we'd sort out the vehicle situation after we got back. So we did what we do best... we walked.

We weren't more than 300 yards away from camp when a buck and a doe stormed out of the junipers and across the road in front of us. It was the same buck I saw day zero. We dropped our packs as quickly as possible.

The doe tried to go over the ridge and away from us, but the buck pushed her back in our direction. He stopped at 130 yards, but never came closer. We followed them into the junipers, and got within range 3 times, but the buck never stopped in an opening long enough to get a shot off. So close, yet so far.

I couldn't believe how many close encounters we had with deer on this trip. It was awesome.



"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 

WhiteOak

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I'm going to be moving to Clovis (the land of endless, flat grassland) this weekend.
Lol yes but I have really come to appreciate these flat praries, sandhills and Mesa's over the last 2 years or so, I'm out in roosevelt county closer to Melrose range. Still some time left for quail. Hopefully your orders will make you a resident for this years draw. Good luck with the move.
 
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sn.outdoors

sn.outdoors

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Lol yes but I have really come to appreciate these flat praries, sandhills and Mesa's over the last 2 years or so, I'm out in roosevelt county closer to Melrose range. Still some time left for quail. Hopefully your orders will make you a resident for this years draw. Good luck with the move.
I was stationed there for 3 1/2 years, and it really grew on me. I love the desert, and it always amazed me how much wildlife was actually out there once I learned what I was looking for. I spend a lot of time on Melrose Range, and the biggest antelope I've ever seen in my life was out there.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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I've been out of the picture lately because I am down here in FL closing in on the big buck.
I don't want to keep posting his pictures just to have him slip through my fingers again.

Any posts from here on out will be of bucks or draw hunt does being shot... I am not messing around!

The remaining seasons I have are Jan 19-26, Feb 1-4, and Feb 9-18!
I am going to make it happen!
 
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sn.outdoors

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I'm mostly moved into the new house. Our new furniture won't be here for a few more weeks, but I got my most valuable decor hung up and placed throughout the house.














I haven't even cracked open the boxes of sheds yet.... I think they'll end up on my desk at work.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 
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sn.outdoors

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Dan's hunting the special Eglin Range hunt, and he did something he's not known for....



He actually passed a legal buck!

I can't imagine the amount of will power it took for him, but I have to say... I'm proud.

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~Mike Rowe
 

Lostinthewoods

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Haha thanks CJ


Sorry I’ve been MIA everyone.
Florida deer has been in full swing and I’ve been chasing after that ghost buck.

He’s around, but magically never on public during the season.

I drew a neat controlled hunt that started Friday and goes until this evening.

I have seen so many deer and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been VERY tough to pass on all these deer. Up until yesterday evening I think I saw 12 bucks and 18 does.













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Lostinthewoods

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Then yesterday evening my patience paid off!

It was around 1645 in the evening and I had a buck come in to about 65 yards. He was scent checking stuff and rubbing trees so I started to grunt at him....nothing.

Then I hit the can twice.... nothing.

I was about to hit the grunt again, but I heard some noise over my shoulder.
Two other bucks were coming in.

One split off towards the other buck and then one came to 26 yards broadside.....









I’m so pleased!!!!! That was definitely a fun experience and got me all fired up.
This is my biggest Florida buck to date.

I’ll be back out this evening for my final hunt of this controlled hunt. Then I have the 9-19th to chase after the ghost!


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Lostinthewoods

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5 does came in tonight and then some hogs at last light (too far out)











That draw hunt was a lot of fun, but next weekend it’s back to business. Time to chase the ghost buck for the final portion of the season.
 

Lostinthewoods

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I also forgot to post this.

Look what I found in my buck when I was butchering him.







It was in his rear quarter between the muscle and skin.

I believe it’s a .22 caliber round....? Pretty interesting find.


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I’ve got Friday through Monday left and my official 2018-19 season is over.

Big boy hasn’t shown up yet, but we will see!

I did get to help a buddy track and drag out a nice Florida public land buck today.











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Congratulations to your friend. The panhandle generally has the biggest bucks in Florida but they’re still not big. There’s just so little nutrition available to them. You and your friend’s bucks are good bucks and anyone who hasn’t hunted down here just doesn’t understand. I miss hunting the late rut in the panhandle. I hope you get your ghost buck but he’s big and old for a reason.
 
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