A Whitetail story

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
This story starts five years ago when this nice young buck with good brow tines showed up on trail camera.
The next spring I found the antlers near my fathers and put them in the keep for now pile. The keep for now pile is for antlers from young bucks that might turn into something in the future as I do not want to part with any antlers from any buck that turns out to be special.
The next year I never got any pictures of the buck, but he did grow nice enough for me to notice him. The first time I saw him was in late November when a friend and I spotted him on a neighboring ranch. Now he was a real nice four point that was pushing 140 inches. A few weeks later he was back at my fathers for the winter. In the spring I found the sheds a few feet apart in a little grove of cottonwoods.
CDY_0077.JPG
 
Last edited:

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
I had high hopes for the nice four point the next year. He showed up on the river in September and did not disappoint. Now he had grown into a nearly 150 inch 4 by 5. I saw him a few times in Sept and Oct and then he vanished

Once again in December he was at my dads. In late Dec or early Jan I was looking at some smaller bucks eating on a haystack and I spotted a big antler in the hay. The other side was only yards away.
DSCN2028.JPG in November.
 

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
I was looking forward to seeing what he turned into the next year, but I never saw him all summer for sure. I may have seen him one time on a neighbors property, but I could not be sure. I was headed to a July fire in the counties six by six with a 1000 gallons of water. You just do not stop that quickly and as noisy as that outfit is no deer is going to stick around for long. All I could tell was the buck was a very good four point and he was leaving fast. All fall went by and no sightings or trail camera pictures. I was worried he was taken by a hunter or died of natural causes. Wouldn't have been the first big deer to just disappear. Mid December he was again back at my fathers. I was elated. DSCN3097.JPG
By Christmas I could no longer find him and I figured he had shed his antlers. Found them laying side by side in early January. Best set of four points I have ever found. DSCN3174.JPG
 
Last edited:

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
Now this buck had really gotten my attention. This year I didn't have to wait as he showed up in the meadows in early September. Now he had a big four point antler with a monster browtine on the right and a big five point on the left. DSCN3483.JPG
I gave some serious thought about going after him with my bow this year but never did. By late October he was gone and I didn't see him again until mid November when I found him chasing a doe on the neighbors. I didn't see him again all season. By mid Dec he had not shown up at his winter home and I was worried he had not been able to elude the hunters on the neighbors. Dec 17 I was driving up to feed the calves at my fathers and there was a big deer in the meadow. I knew instantly it was him. The next day I spotted him in the evening and he had dropped the five point antler. I anticipated the four point antler would be off soon. After all, the other four sets I had found were only yards apart at the most. It was not to be. He carried the four point antler for over a month and a half. DSCN3653.JPG
Finally after a February snow storm I spotted a big shed off buck with a black tail. It wasn't long afterwards that I found the antler in the same grove of cottonwoods that I found the second set in. At nearly 75 inches the antler is the best four point whitetail antler I have ever found. 20210216_092712.jpg
I always look forward to seeing what bucks turn into and this buck never let me down but I did not anticipate what this year would bring.
 
Last edited:

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
Mid September of this year I was sitting on a hill overlooking the riverbottom to watch for deer. It was getting dark and I was about to pack up and leave when I spotted a big bodied buck entering the field. Put the glasses on the deer and instantly knew it was him. That monster browtine is a dead giveaway. I could tell he had put on a lot of mass, the right antler looked very palmated, there was a big extra browtine on the left and maybe some other extra points. It was too dark to really judge him, but I was confident I was looking at one of the better whitetails I have ever seen. For the next few days I tried to get a better look at him and I saw him several times but it was always from a long distance or just too little light to get a good look. That changed on the 22nd of September. I was sitting on the same hill and it was getting late. One of my brothers friends had missed a buck the night before and was driving out to look for his arrow and make sure that it was a clean miss. Fifteen minutes later I spotted the buck leaving some small brush patches and heading right for me. The other hunter had bumped him. The buck was not real spooked and by the time he got to me he was back to feeding. He was only 200 yards away so I got a great look. The double browtine was actually a triple and there was also a big tine coming off the inside of the mainbeam on the left antler. The right was heavily palmated and the big brow tine had a sticker coming off of it. There was just a whole lot of stuff going on with this set of antlers. I watched him for a good half hour and took a bunch of pictures. He never knew I was there and eventually he walked up into the hills to bed down. That morning I decided I had to try for him. DSCN3820.JPG DSCN3831.JPG DSCN3846.JPG DSCN3850.JPG DSCN3885.JPG
 
Last edited:

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
I am not a hunter that takes many bucks, the last buck I shot was in 2010. Most of the time I am more than happy to just look for the shed antlers and if I want some venison there are plenty of whitetail does and cow elk. When I do decide to go after a buck though I get real focused and am relentless. It is probably a good thing I don't go after may bucks as I would have been divorced long ago.
Past experience with this buck told me that he preferred a part of the ranch that is characterized by large alfalfa fields with most of the cover being small brush patches and narrow strips of trees along ditches and the river. It is very hard to put up a stand that you can get into with out alerting every deer with in a half mile. He was not going to be easy to bow hunt and if the past was any guide it was likely he would be gone when rifle season started. The buck was now up in the hills and I knew that when he came back in the evening it would be a good time to intercept him. I had a good idea were he would bed and there was a small saddle that would be a perfect ambush spot. I would be there that evening. That evening the wind kept me from the saddle, so I set up back on a trail. Sure enough, with a half hour of light left he walked right through the saddle and soon he was only 80 yards away but it was apparent that I was on the wrong trail. I tried to back off and get ahead of him, but I walked right into a nice mule deer buck and the mule deer made quite a racket running away from me. I got set up, but the big whitetail never showed.
I may be relentless, but I am also patient. I spent more time sitting back and observing than I did actually hunting. He really liked to frequent a group of small brush and timber patches in the fields, so I put up a tree stand on the southernmost part of the biggest brush patch. Problem was that in the morning it was only going to work with a north wind and we rarely get a north wind on the river unless there is a front coming. An afternoon set was out as it was nearly impossible to get into the stand without spooking everything. One of the brush patches was on the western edge of the fields. It had a 20 foot bank on the south and western side. A south wind was not ideal but I could make it work. The plan was to sit up on the top of the bank and hope I could get a shot before he winded me. On the second morning I could see a big bodied buck out in the field, but it was too dark to see much else. As it got lighter I could see it was him and he was feeding his way towards me. Problem was on his current course he was going to wind me at about 75 yards. I had to back off and reposition on the western part of the bank near a giant cottonwood tree. I was almost in position and there he was less than forty yards away, but walking right at me. There was no shot, and soon he was out of sight under the bank, but if he kept on the same trail he might come up a small draw and would be broadside at 20 yards. I was ready, but soon I felt the slightest of a breeze on the back of my neck and the game was over. I didn't see him again for a few days.
 
Last edited:

MNElkNut

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,111
Location
Minnesota
I hope the fire wasnt too bad and you were able to get it under control.

This story sure has my interest! I just hope it doesn't end with "....and there was a Mack truck driving down the road...."
 

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
It took a few days, but I found him in a field in a big bend in the river. The field is on the western side of the river and there is some brush and timber no more than 50 yards wide between the field and the river. The eastern bank is a big hill that is more cliff than hill and there is barely enough room to walk between the rivers edge and the cliff for most of the way. The next morning I tried to walk up the river bank to get between him and the river. I didn't get far and I was bumping deer in the dark. That just was not going to work. There was one spot on the eastern bank with a grove of cottonwoods and deer often crossed the river to bed down in the cottonwoods. I sat the river crossing for three days. It worked great for does and some smaller bucks but the big one was a no show. I spent the next morning on top of the rim overlooking the big field. Sure enough, as it got light I could see him in the field. Soon he was headed right at me and in no time He was getting a drink in the river 90 yards way. In the middle of the river was a small island, no more than five yards wide and fifty yards long. It was covered with tall grass and weeds and not one tree. Soon he was waking out to the island and he bedded down in the tall grass and all but disappeared. He was less than 70 yards away. The island was covered with deer beds. This probably was not the first time he had bedded on the island.
That evening when he back out in the middle of the field I walked up the river bank next to the cliff to see if there was any good hiding spots. At the western end of the island a big rock had fallen off the cliff and was sticking up out of the ground a good five feet. Fifty yards to the far bank and thirty yards to the island. I brushed up the low spots of the rock to hide me a bit better and planed to be there well before daylight the next morning. It is a prefect setup with a south wind and the noise of the river. I was sure the next morning was going to be the day.
 
Last edited:

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
SE Montana
The next day I was in the blind well before daylight. Mule deer does, Whitetail does, some small bucks and ducks and geese. The next day was not the day, nether were the next three days. Time to get back up on the hills and try to relocate him. Sure enough I spotted him headed south along a line of cottonwoods on an old irrigation ditch. I needed a stand on that ditch. The problem was with the prevailing wind coming out of the south, stand locations would be limited. There is however one spot were the ditch jogs to the west. If I put a stand there the wind would blow my sent across a field of annual grass and since the deer much preferred the alfalfa on the up wind side it just might work. I put a stand up that afternoon.
I figured it would be best to give the stand a day or two before I used it so the next day I decided to sit on the hill where I first saw him. I didn't really expect to see him as that hill overlooks fields that are not his favorite. I still took my bow. I sat there all morning, plenty of small bucks and some nice ones, but as expected not the big one. I was packing up to leave and I heard some bucks sparing in the field below me. Put up the glasses and there he was 400 yards away with two other bucks. I watched him for a moment or two and decided, " The hell with caution, If I can get in the ditch, I might be able to cut them off. I am going for it". I baled off the hill in plain sight of the bucks and headed to the irrigation ditch. I made it to the ditch without being spotted, that was a small miracle. Once in the ditch I had cover and the dirt bottom was quite. I closed the gap to 150 yards in little time, then 100 yards, 90, 80 and a doe I had not seen busted me. She blew, and ran off flagging her tail. Now the bucks were on high alert and any chance of getting closer was over. Also didn't help that I was right on the fence and the neighbors horses spotted me and came up behind me looking for some cake.

I was back on the hill well in advance of any light and once again I spotted the buck in the field. Getting in the ditch almost worked once, might as well try it again. This time I made it about 50 yards when a doe busted me and started blowing. The buck of course stopped and just stood there in the field. After a few minutes he turned around and headed back north. He wasn't spooked, but he wasn't going back south ether. I watched him for a half hour and it was apparent he was headed to the small brush patch with the giant cottonwood. That evening there was just no way I was getting up on that brush patch with the current wind. I decided to get in the haystack about 400 yards to the east. This put me between him and the best alfalfa. It was a good plan and might have worked to if I had not jumped an old three by four buck bedded in the haystack. The three by four ran right by the brush were the big one was bedded and up onto the greasewood and sagebrush flat. It wasn't long and the big buck got nervous and followed the smaller buck.I figured it was pretty much over for the evening so I started walking back. I had walked about a half mile and decided to look at the greasewood flat. The bucks were there watching there back trail. I thought to myself. They are coming back to the fields before it gets dark, If I can get to a little draw between them and the fields, I just might have a chance. It took awhile, but I got myself to the draw with maybe a half hour of light left. I slowly peeked over the top a little rise to see if the bucks were still out on the flat. Nothing. I moved a few yards and spotted antlers. The big three point was bedded down. A few minutes later he was up and headed right at me. There are three trails in the draw. The best spot to hide gave me a 20 yard shot on one trail and a 40 yard shot on the farthest trail. The third trail passed by at less than five yards. I was hoping the bucks would not use the five yard trail, but if I backed off of it I could not see the other two trails until it would be too late. It wasn't long and here came the three point and of course he was on the five yard trail. At ten yards he spotted me. That stopped him, I was hunkerd down and he didn't know what to make of me. He had a stare down for a minute or two. Finally he had enough and he turned and walked to the 20 yard trail and went by. Of course he winded me and took off. I figured it was over, but I stayed put.
I need to get back to work.
 
Last edited:
Leupold Banner

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
97,619
Messages
1,490,502
Members
30,747
Latest member
mdson
Top