Hunting Stories

Joined
Mar 14, 2013
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Wisconsin
Hunting stories are great and I love to read them.
I'll start...What's your story?

I've known my wife for 3 1/2 years now. To say I was well set in my ways when we met is perhaps an understatement. I tried to warn her about the addiction, but she was raised in LA and MN/SP and just couldn't understand. She is great and I still get my trips to WY every year but with the kids, dog, jobs, house, etc., my time in the WI bow woods just isn't as plentiful as it once was. I told her I took risks and went places that were difficult and dangerous, because others people won't go there. That is where this story picks up...
"I found some public land. It is small, hidden, not signed, and difficult to access, and it looks GOOD!" She just shook her head and carried on with making dinner and fussing over the children. "I'm going to take the dog and the kayak and go check it out." "Ok" she says, "Be careful." No problem, I thought, I know what I'm doing. I was right, it looked good, and it required water access; that will keep the pressure to a minimum. So a plan was in the making. I hunted the front of the piece for three or four sits and saw some deer, may or may not have missed a doe at 24 yards, and kept dreaming about making the float back into the harder to reach back end of the property. So, one Friday I left work early, hurried home, packed all my gear on the boat and headed a mile plus down the stream. It was WET back there, it took WAY longer than I planned to get into a dry spot, and I was starting to work up a sweat. I decided to sit on the edge of the swamp instead of continuing up onto the ridge where I wanted to be. You see, the map showed a peninsula of high ground that extended off the end of the ridge out into the wet ground; perfect for a buck bed I decided. I wasn't willing to blow it out on the first trip in so I set up where I could see and glass and chalked it up to a recon mission. Well, not a deer in sight all night so I got down at dark, dejected and getting cold. I packed up the kayak, strapped everything down, stripped down to my base layers in anticipation of the upstream paddle, and off i went. I was making decent progress when I came to a spot I knew would be tricky, but I had conceived a plan and convinced myself I would have no problem. Boy was I wrong! A couple of uprooted trees from the summer floods had squeezed the water into a funnel and made the current a little more than I could handle. I was thrown sideways in the stream, the load shifted, and I was up to my neck in 35 degree water in a blink. Oh $h!t, she's going to kill me if I live. That was my first thought. Next was "Don't lose the bow!" Luckily everything stayed strapped to the boat and after 5 minutes of swimming, struggling, tugging, and swearing, I manged to get the kayak, climber, pack, and bow up on shore. It was 38 degrees and I was wet from head to toe. The boat and stand stayed put. I picked up my pack and bow, and headed into the swamp; I just had to get to the truck, and I'd be okay. If I hiked hard enough, I could keep my temp up. After all, a mile isn't that far, right? Well, since I'm typing this, you know I made it out, but that is just where the story gets interesting.
I got home and took my lumps like a man as she shook her head at me over her book when I told her I was taking a shower and going to buy a new climber so I could go out in the morning. I had a hundred reasons why I should just drink a beer and sleep in on Saturday but I only have so many days and I know I'd kick myself if I didn't find a way to hunt in the morning. The weather was looking perfect and the wind was right to hunt the front of the public again. I could always go in and get my kayak and stand after my morning sit; plus I could do some daylight scouting on the way. So off I went. I bought a new stand and put it together in the garage. I didn't trust my bow after taking a dunk so I grabbed the back up, plugged in the work lights on the deck, and put a dozen arrows in the target. I'm ready! I loaded up the waders, washed all of my clothes, dug my old boots out of the basement, and finally settled in for sleep, exhausted, and without a phone for an alarm (it got a little wet).
I was in my tree early on Saturday morning and it was perfect. No wind, crisp, November, Rut, new stand, new bow, new day! It was light by about 7:00 am and I was still hot from the walk in and climb up the tree. Nothing makes me sweat faster than trying to take my time and not sweat.... I figured I'd wait to put on my warm clothes until it got light because I had yet to see a deer in this stand before 9:00 am. By 7:30 I was cold, go figure. I gave the woods a deep scan, and slowly put on my coat and boot covers (why on earth did I buy anything with Velcro for hunting?). I looked up, grabbed my bow, and here they come....
The doe was panting like she'd been running all night. "It seems early for them to be chasing like this." I may have actually said out loud. Followed closely by "Holy crap it would be cool to snag a buck on public land after last nights cluster." I grabbed the binos and tried to get a look at the buck, but they were moving through the brush like ghosts and I couldn't find him through the glass. Just like that they were gone over the ridge and headed for private. Well, at least I saw a nice one. Not one for sitting still too long, I grabbed to grunt tube and can call. I hit a sequence and put it away to get ready, in case of a miracle or something, you know.
"Holy Hell, he's coming" I probably shouted. about 6 minutes after he disappeared, he was running right at my tree, no doe in sight. I guess he heard me, or he got tired of the rejection and just came for a look. Either way, he was on a bee line for the base of my tree and he was a shooter in my book. I love it when things happen so fast that I don't have time to think about it and screw it up. There he is, here he comes, draw, he's straight under me, wait.....let him pass, now, stop him, don't forget to aim dummy, squeeze, smack! Yes! I told her it's kind of like sex, but she doesn't understand that either....
I heard him crash and knew it was over.
I left him just in case; hunting on public close to private isn't the place to jump one and go on a trailing adventure with 4 phone calls to land owners looking for permission to trail a deer into their land. I got to the truck, turned on my phone (which had been in a bag of silica gel packets all night) and crossed my fingers. She answered! Bring the boy, and the cooler, we have a buck to pack! I honestly thought she'd laugh and hang up on me, but she said "where?" I hit the lottery with this one. While I waited, I went and fetched my stand and kayak from the swamp just to work up a lather before the work began. When they arrived, I let the 10 year old track his first deer; that was cool to watch! If you've never field butchered a deer in Wisconsin, it's not very fun. The rules are less than favorable for a pack out, but we managed. Mama carried the front quarters, and I hauled the rest. A 3 1/2 year old 10 point on public land not an hour from the capital. He's no book buck, but he's a trophy in my book. I'm so grateful that I didn't pack it in after the swim and that my wife tolerates, and even encourages my sickness.
Life is good, and even a near tragedy can be motivation instead of an obstacle, from the right angle.
 
Last edited:

aclawrence

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
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That’s a nice buck and a great story. Glad you survived the dip in the cool waters.


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Joined
Dec 10, 2018
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Location
Santa Rosa Ca
I’m glad to see that there’s more story tellers on here. When I’ve got some time to type one up I’ll add a story. I’m looking forward to my 2 year old getting a little bigger so I can get him started.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
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Location
Santa Rosa Ca
My notebook where I write all these down is packed up at the moment so some of this may have improved with age.

It was about an hour to shooting light and I was the only sign of life in camp. I’d already shut off my alarm and laid there longer than I usually would waiting for anyone else to get up and start moving. I finally accepted I would be alone for the morning hunt and decided I’d just slink down the road to a good glassing spot.

Boots laced I was grabbing my pack to head out solo when I heard the quiet drone of a diesel in the distance. Knowing Scott was supposed to arrive this morning I decided I’d wait a few more min and head out with him. I see the trailer and quads in tow as soon as the truck comes into focus. With the information that no one else in camp was up Scott said well, we’re goin to the SP.

With some moves borrowed directly from the Flying Walindas play book and Josh finally rousted from his back seat bed, the 3 of us wrestled the 2 quads off the trailer (ramps were locked down with a key Scott hasn’t brought...) and were off into a large block of SPI timber land. We stuck together for the first part of the day and would do short still hunts from spots that looked good. Josh and I left Scott to take a nap in an area of fresh re planted pines and we’re off after more adventure.

Anybody ever been lost while they were hunting, happened to me once. So Josh and I had never been to this area of the SPI due to a tank trap that had recently been filled in, well we took a wrong turn followed by 2 more wrong turns and by this point I was trying to back track the quad tires on the roads and started leaving arrows in the dirt anywhere we turned.
The area we figured out was now open as it had just been logged, New fresh roads everywhere and more tire tracks than you could believe. At this point I’m more trying to navigate than hunt. We round a corner to a fresh clear cut and josh spots a doe and a fawn way down in the bottom, maybe 50 yards into the cut and 75 yards below the road I see bone right off the bat facing the same direction we are but way to far from that edge of the cut. I see him spin to get back into the trees we just came out of. With reflexes I didn’t know I possessed the quad was stopped, my rifle was out of the rack in front of the handle bars, I moved to the edge of the road, worked the lever of my Savage 99 found him in the scope now moving with a little more concern but still at little more than a walk, made sure he was legal put the cross hairs just behind his shoulder and sent a .150gr dose of .300Savage medicine to my first buck. Like a rookie I lowered the rifle while cycling the lever and watched him do the flying squirrel jump. I was sure he wouldn’t land it and it would be an easy recovery. Instead he stuck the landing and covered the 50 yards to the trees in short order and without any indication of injury. When I lost him in the trees he was running up hill and out of sight, soon even the sound of him running in the leaves faded and I stood there broken hearted in total disbelief. Did I miss, did he jump the bullet, is that even possible. I turned to my right to see if Josh was even off the quad yet. It had happened so quick that I hadn’t said more than buck and then the rest was action I didn’t think there would be time or a need for a back up. I think I got as far as What The F, when a different leaf sound came from where I last heard the bucks steps. This was more of a small avalanche or some other strange sounding occurrence moving large amounts of leaves erratically down hill. Through the shade and trees we cought glimpses of a buck slide/tumble/flailing down the hill, a long way down the hill, untel he finally came to rest in a stump in a slash pile.
As soon as he stopped skidding we had a quick 👋 then reality set in. Neither of us had ever shot or cleaned a buck or even seen anyone else clean one. So we quickly grabbed all the cordage from the quad and spooled out the winch as far as it went. It wasn’t untel I went to take the first step off the road heading down to my buck that I realized just how jelloey my knees were. We took a min and I recomposes myself and we made the 250 yard hike down to get him.

The drag up was pretty brutal but we were thankful that Scott had a hank of muletape and some other random rope on the quad. Now back on the road, buck strapped to the bike we were back to being lost, with an un gutted buck. In retrospect I laugh because the plan we hatched at this point with a little more attention to detail would have solved the problem of being lost entirely.

Josh and I are both pretty good in the woods, neither of us carried a map or compass then but we didn’t get lost much. We found a peak we could ID and knew I’d we could get to it we would be on a road that with a couple of hours ride then about 10 miles on pavement with a bloating ungutted buck then about another 30 min from the cattle ranch we head up through back to camp we’d be cutting my first buck by about dinner time (10 o’clock by camp standards) the first part where that’s funny is we should have known from that peak to turn around and go back the way we came... so me make tracks to get our plan under way, rejected by the direction the road we are in starts going we turn back trying to find another way to peak we’re fixed on, this is funny also because had we kicked my buck about 20 yards further down hill he would have landed on the same road I spotted him from, just the lower part where it wrapped around, we just couldn’t see that from where we were. Well I’m our search for a route to the peak we were fixed on we were forced to backtrack far enough that we found Scott and the road we needed to be on. Upon further inspection back at camp the shot was perfect disconnected the top of the heart and double lung. I know these animals are tough and adrenaline goes a long way but, I never would have imagined that an animal at anything less than a dead run could go that far with not pump house.

Not the biggest buck but the story and memory more than make up for his forkey rack 842122D5-26B9-40B4-8E0F-692CCAD6A5D9.jpeg
 
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