This one hurt

Jacob Chapman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
1,038
Location
515->406->515
Had a real bummer of a season regarding big bucks. I was able to get a couple does with my bow so my freezer is full, which is great.

Had three nice encounters with a mid 150's 3.5 year old on grandpa's farm. He just needs another year. Far as I know he made it through season, going to head out this weekend and look for sheds.

Here's what stinks, bit of a story:

November 6th, consistent 5-10 mph wind out of the South. On gpa's property the Northern border is a river, so with the wind out of the South I had a perfect opportunity to hunt the river bank.

Friday the 5th I shot a big doe, while I was waiting to get down out of my stand I see a big buck cruising the river bank. He gets directly downwind of where the doe expired, stands there for a minute then just casually walks back to the West where he'd come from. Didn't seem like he was spooked at all which was good.

Saturday morning we get that S wind so I decide to head to the river bank and see if I can spot him again.

I put up my hang n hunt setup and get ready for the day. My dad was hunting a couple hundred yards away and had action all morning.

10am and I hadn't seen a deer, maybe because I'd shot the doe the day before and had processed her? Anyway about 10:20 I see a giant frame walking down the old logging road right at me that parallels the river bed.

Mega framed buck, stops in the road at 15 yard and just stares d at me. I had barely gotten my bow off the hanger (got caught up on the rubber hook from my 3rd hand holder) because of course that would happen when I need to get it off there quickly and quietly.... I should say that this is of no fault of the hanger, thing works great. I just didn't get the bow off the hanger smoothly.

Buck stops dead center of the road and stares up at me. I had my bow in hand, put it in front of my face and squinted as much as possible while staring at his feet. He stares at me for a good 45 seconds or so, all the while I'm trying to hold it together. Buck eventually decides that I was nothing and walks off the trail.

He walks right behind a big tree allowing me to get drawn back. At that point he is 8-10 yards away. I chose not to grunt at him for fear of him taking off since he had just stared a hole right through me, so I decided not to make a noise to stop him so I shot him as he was walking.

At the shot I see a good 3/4ths of my arrow sticking out of high shoulder with the lighted nock mocking me as he bounded off. He runs real hard for about 100 yards, then just stops and looks up the hill away from me.

I thought for sure he was dead, shot placement wasn't ideal but I was using a fixed blade head with a 500 grain arrow-for sure I should have gotten the penetration needed to kill him!?!?!

I get the bino's out and stare at him. So many trees I can only see a part of his body and couldn't see where i'd hit him. He starts to slowly walk off with his head down-I think PERFECT he's going to bed and will die close to there.

I shot at about 10:20, and decide not to move for two hours. That was the absolute longest two hours of my life- I'd text every person i'd ever met letting them know I just killed a huge buck!

12:30 rolls around, I get down and take down my setup as quietly as possible. At that point I took my pack off and laid everything except for my bow at the base of the tree, and walk over to inspect the shot location.....nothing.

I knew what trail he took, and saw that he'd carried my arrow for a ways so I had a good line of travel. I'm walking really slowly, just not seeing any blood which I thought was really weird. About 40-50 yards after I'd shot him he had ran close to a small tree and broke off my arrow. Looked like decent blood on the arrow, but there wasn't much and the blood didn't even go to the label on my arrow. I picked up the shaft and turned off the lighted knock, now positive that I was on his trail, and getting more concerned with the lack of blood.

At the tree where he'd kicked out the back 3/4ths of the arrow he started to bleed, just not very much. I follow a very meager blood trail up to the point where he was standing.

There were 3 decent sized spots of blood, about the size of a dinner plate. From this point I had seen him walk over the hill and out of sight- I had figured that once I crested the hill I'd be staring at a giant waiting for me to wrap my tag around.....no such luck.

It had been two hours since I shot, and I was being very quiet as I took up the trail. I didn't hear or see anything spook as I was walking the trail.

After cresting the hill, the blood trail went from sparse to damn near nothing. I was following his tracks, and there were pin drops every 20 or so yards (literally one or two is all).

I followed that for about 60 yards or so and lost blood and his track entirely. At this point I am at a loss for words. I mark last blood and meet Dad back up on the hill. We decide that we didn't think we'd pushed him, if he wasn't dead we needed to give him some time, so we went to town and changed into lighter clothes more suitable for tracking and got some lunch.

5pm rolls around, and i'm back on last blood. I follow the most likely path, and have Dad walk semi circles in about a 40 yard radius looking for blood or his tracks- we come up with nothing and decide since it's getting dark that we were doing more harm than good-need to let him sit overnight and we'll surely find him in the creek bed in the morning.

Long story short- never did find blood or tracks again, after searching all over the property all day Sunday. I looked up blood tracking dogs-earliest one could get to me would be Wednesday-by that time the meat would be spoiled anyways, don't bother. If he was dead, as hot as it was going to be plus with that long of time, the birds/coyotes would be on him and I'd at least have closure.

Come Tuesday evening i'm scrolling a hunting pages instagram and see a picture of a huge framed buck. I message them and get ahold of the hunter in the picture.....he had shot that buck at 6pm on Saturday (same day I shot him) less than 2 miles away.

Mega giant 8 point, "officially" B&C scored (hasn't completed the 60 day drying period) at 186 7/8ths- as a true 8 pointer.

To say I am heartbroken would be an understatement. I'm super happy for the young guy that shot that buck, it's a trophy of a lifetime, and well eclipses the current state record for an 8 pointer.

I never did end up finding another buck to chase. Long story short- there's a broken hearted bearded bowhunter in Iowa with a now worthless buck tag, who wishes like he'd made a better shot. I believe I hit that buck in the crest of the scapula, and the wide 4 blade fixed head was just too big to push through. I also have suspicions that the arrow broke on impact, as a 500 grain arrow coming out of a 67# new compound should have plenty of @ss behind it to get through the shoulder blade.

I'm going back to my old reliable arrows (Easton Axis) and outfitting them with HIT inserts and collars from Iron Will Outfitters, as well as one of their broadheads for next season-should square up the gear issue.

As far as the [email protected] issue (my shooting error) I put my index finger release into the box of old hunting stuff that probably needs donated, and am going to order a back tension style release that reinforces what I already know to do, which is shoot correctly (I had just gotten lazy with the index release).

End of the day, while I'll never forget that buck, I am trying to take solace in the fact that I did (mostly) everything right. Hang and hunt on a new spot based off of recent sign, let immature bucks walk and put myself in position for what would have been my largest buck to date.

So ends my 2021 deer season-spotted a giant across the river and haven't seen/heard of him being killed, so as long as he wasn't poached or hit by a car, I've got another target that I'm going to try my best to get in '22.

Thanks for reading!
 

TSAMP

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
784
Real interested to hear if the other hunter found your broadhead and confirmed shot placement. Also pics??

Texting your friends before you have hands on it is a rookie move in my opinion.
I dont think this outcome had anything to do with gear selection. Buck caught you slipping and you Probably just rushed the shot. One thing you might do is shoot some paper and verify arrow flight.

Good on you for being patient on the track, and telling the story well.
 
OP
Jacob Chapman

Jacob Chapman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
1,038
Location
515->406->515
Real interested to hear if the other hunter found your broadhead and confirmed shot placement. Also pics??

Texting your friends before you have hands on it is a rookie move in my opinion.
I dont think this outcome had anything to do with gear selection. Buck caught you slipping and you Probably just rushed the shot. One thing you might do is shoot some paper and verify arrow flight.

Good on you for being patient on the track, and telling the story well.

Hah yeah I suppose. I was so sure I'd made a killing shot, got the cart in front of the horse I suppose. Here's some pics the guy sent me, I blacked out his face for privacy. If any of you are at the Iowa Deer Classic this year, I have to imagine the buck and hunter will be there.
 

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hobbes

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
2,031
Oh man, that is a stud. I'd be heartbroken too. At least you know the outcome and aren't left to wonder. You could be sitting at home sick that the buck had died in a hole somewhere on a neighboring property never to be found.
 
OP
Jacob Chapman

Jacob Chapman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
1,038
Location
515->406->515
Oh man, that is a stud. I'd be heartbroken too. At least you know the outcome and aren't left to wonder. You could be sitting at home sick that the buck had died in a hole somewhere on a neighboring property never to be found.

Yeah for sure. I’m glad that I know what happened at least.
 
Last edited:

JGross1

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Apr 27, 2020
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66
Location
Michigan
giphy.gif
Wow.


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TSAMP

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
784
"Giant 8" gets thrown around about as much as "management buck" does in conversation these days in my circle, but this is truly the grand daddy of giant 8s.

Sounds like you better keep your head on a swivel and keep hunting gpa's farm. Goodluck!
 

LongWayAround

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
1,509
Good God. That buck is enormous.

I feel for ya, I lost a giant muley when I blew the shot a couple years ago. It definitely sticks with you.

At least you know what the outcome was. The not knowing can be the hardest part.
 

aaronmn

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
19
Good God. That buck is enormous.

I feel for ya, I lost a giant muley when I blew the shot a couple years ago. It definitely sticks with you.

At least you know what the outcome was. The not knowing can be the hardest part.

100%. Never knowing, in my mind, would be far worse.

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