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Thread: Chocolate Buck

  1. #1
    Member TX_RDXguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    North Central Texas

    Chocolate Buck

    Opening week for Arkansas archery deer season came a went quickly and was pretty uneventful. Temperature lows were mid. 60s and highs got into the 90s. Way too hot for daytime deer movement and the game cameras we checked were feeding us supporting intel. It was still great to be hunting, welcome the season in and get in some well needed "tree time" therapy. The arrows stayed in the bows for round one.

    Tuesday 10/24 has been coming for what seems to have been months. I was able to get off work early that day and lead footed my way out of north Texas and was at camp by 3:30 pm. After a quick change of clothes I headed to a tree I've hunted that's in a protected ravine. Not a deer hot spot by any means but the wind was gusty so I thought it might be a good protected transition area for the first evening hunt.

    I was pretty settled in my Summit Goliath climber by 4:30 and happy I chose the ravine as the wind was really whipping through the trees.

    Feeder #2 TS1.jpg

    14 minutes tick by and I pick up movement to my right. A young buck was moving through the ravine brush about 15 yards away. No shot but luck was with me and he circled a tree cluster and came into the open at 18 yards. I put the 20 yard pin low and back from the front left leg, made a nice trigger pull and the BEE found it's mark. The young 6 point kicked and was off to the races. The arrow passed completely though and I could easily see the illuminated omni nock shinning though the ground cover. I was pretty confident the shot was good so I decided to let him find a spot to settle, I'd hunt the remainder of the afternoon then go find him.

    That plan didn't work out as well as I had hoped as the blood trail wasn't cooperating. I had good blood initially but after about 50 yards and through a small dry creek bed, the blood stopped. I returned to camp for some more eyes and better lights. After another 90 minutes of searching and a little more progress with the blood trail, we lost it again. No luck circling out so we decided to call it a night and pick it up in the morning. Temps were in the low 50s now and it would be mid. 40s by morning so I was comfortable the deer would cool down and be fine left overnight.

    Not so.....

    About 1 am we could hear the coyotes going off somewhere out in the darkness and it didn't dawn on me there was a party going on. I made their week I'm sure and learned a hard lesson about who we share these woods with. The coyotes are here in a big way.

    6 Pt Coyotes.jpg

    Wednesday morning found me hunting the national forest on the edge of a big clearing. I had IDed a big pine earlier in the year and this tree offers a great vantage point between a river, bedding and feeding areas. This is an area I have never hunted so it was a scouting attempt and who knows, maybe I'd get lucky?
    The morning temps had dropped to the 30s and by sunrise I was feeling the morning chill. The crows were talking, a tom called out for a minute to two but nothing had showed from the deer family so far. About 8 am I spotted two does crossing the far side of the field. They followed the edge a bit, then vanished into the woods.

    Anxious to get some blood circulating and thinking there may be a better spot for my tree stand, I got down and headed to the edge of the field where the does vanished. On this treck I came across two nice scrapes. The second scrape was almost at the point where the does vanished and I easily found the trail they took back into the woods. An ideal size climbing pine was about six yards from the scrape, just off the field edge close to the trail the does took. I did a trial climb, trimmed some limbs and planning this to be my spot for the following morning.

    Dawn light creeps in about 6 am and I catch myself dozing and do a bob..... I look off to my left and I can see something out in the field close to the path I used to cut across the field. Ten minutes pass, the dawn light gets better and it shows this to be a coyote. Nicely filled out too.... After a few more minutes he drops back into the woods and is gone. Sunrise is beautiful, temps are not quite as cold and the previous morning, I'm dressed a bit warmer so I'm pretty comfortable.

    The Field.jpg

    I don't move around in my climber much and try to sit as still as possible. Even at 20' or more I've been busted a time or two by deer, coyotes and turkey so I try to be pretty still. It was just about 8 am and I'm looking down through the brush that boarders the field and I see a buck walking the field edge. At this point he's 10 yards to my right but behind the field edge brush. He continues to pass under my tree and I have no shot through the brush. I've moved from sitting to standing now and he's past my tree to my left and working on the scrape I mentioned earlier. He's a nice buck, an 8 or 10 point, he's big and his neck is thick. I'm now frantically looking for a shooting gap in the brush along the field edge and have none..... The thought rushed in that if he continues along the field edge he's gone. Yes, my sit here would have been very productive but was he really going to walk on by?

    I'm pretty sure the good Lord was paying me back for feeding the coyotes and as the buck turns and leaves his scrape he leaves the field edge and starts angling across the field. He's at 12 yards now and a window in the brush opens for a shot with his left side partially open. I put the RangeMaster's 20 yard pin on the back of his rib cage, squeeze the Storm's trigger and the shot looks good. The buck takes off across the field like a rocket but as he gets near the far side of the field I could tell he was slowing and limping. My BEE had passed through, the nock was lit and the arrow buried in the dirt. Two minutes to take a breath, rewind and I'm soon lowering my xbow to the ground so I can get to the arrow.

    I quickly find it and it's covered from tip to the nock. Blood is everywhere and the trail of 70 yards across the field in knee high grass was easy to follow. Twenty yards up into the hardwoods lays this mature whitetail buck. No, he's not a record book buck but he is the best antlered buck I've seen in the woods in my lifetime.

    10 Pt LSideHill.jpg

    I paused for a few minutes, thanked God, counted my blessings and took a good look at this amazing animal.

    He will live with me as a memory for a lifetime! This could have been the buck you hear stories about. If he had held to the field edge he would have lived on and may have been my tail to tell around the camp fire.

    He tipped the scales at 222 and is a 5X4 with a 2" base sticker. A typical 9 point or a 10 by some standards.
    In my book he will be remembered as the "Chocolate" rack buck that almost got away.

    LSide WStorm.jpg
    2016 Horton Storm, 2017 Horton Vortec - RangeMaster Pro Scope - ACUdraw -
    EVO-X CenterPunch Arrows - Omni-Brite Nocks - Grim Reaper Broadheads

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Northern Alabama
    Congratulations on a fine Whitetail!

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