Sitka Gear Turkey Tool Belt

I saw a spike and shot a doe!!

Ithaca 37

New member
Mar 4, 2001
Home of the free, Land of the brave
I'll use the Western one side count method for this whitetail story. My friend Bill and his son Jeff came hunting with me in Idaho again this year. It was Jeff's fourth year with us and he's eighteen now. There's a picture of him at this topic with his first whitetail when he was fourteen:

Jeff's still getting straight "A"s and will complete High School next month. He took accelerated courses and got the job done in three and a half years. In January he'll join the Marine Reserve program, go to boot camp and basic training for 6 months and then college in the Fall. He wants to be a pediatrician.

Last year he decided to hold out for a big five point buck and didn't get one. He had the same plan this year so I figured I'd help because college might interrupt his hunting for a few years.

First morning we split up to look the situation over and I started seeing deer right away at first light. The first good buck came along about an hour later--trotting by through some trees about 150 yards away. Not a bad buck. I couldn't tell if he had four or five points and he never stopped to give me a real good look. Next was a small four point and some does for the rest of the morning. Met up with Jeff at 11AM and he'd seen four 4 points and a couple of two points. Most of them were chasing does. He said a couple were pretty good but he was waiting for a big five point.

We drove a few miles to where his Dad was and Bill had shot at a big four point---thought he hit it but decided to wait for us before checking it.

We took a look and found some white belly hair. No blood at all and we scoured the area for about an hour. I think he just skimmed a bullet under it's stomach without doing any damage.

Spent the rest of the day checking out another spot and ended the day seeing nine bucks and a couple dozen does.

The big thrill of the day was seeing a spike buck! They're pretty rare where I hunt. Most of the bucks are at least fork horns their first year. First spike I've seen in a couple of years!

Second morning I sent Jeff back to check all the four points with the hot does. Maybe a five point had shown up during the nite. I took a different route through a clear cut to check out a spot that usually had deer. I was doing some glassing when I saw a real nice five point step into a small opening about 250 yards away. He had his head down and was acting aggressive so I figured there was another buck around when out of the brush above him another five point charged and they started fighting. The second buck had horns just a little wider but not as heavy. The first buck got the second buck turned around and jabbed him in the rear with his tines and chased him into a small group of trees. I took off running down a logging road as fast as I could to try to get close in case they were still fighting. About 50 yards before I got to them I started sneaking along when a doe snorted above me and took off up hill. I watched her and then backed up to where I could watch her trail real good because I figured the bucks would follow her. In about ten minutes here comes the first five point. He stopped about forty yards away and I got a real good look at him through the scope. Nice and heavy horns about twenty inches wide, real symmetrical. As he walked away he looked even bigger and I thought I might be making a mistake letting him go, but I wanted to see if I could get a look at the other five point and, besides, I knew there was a buck around there that would make those two look like babies and he was the one I wanted. Either of these two five points would be just right for Jeff.

Nothing else came along so I made a swing to the next ridge to give things a chance to settle down and then came back to where the buck and doe were. Heard a crash above me and here comes a small four point running for his life! I figure the first five point kicked him out of there. I decided to name the first five point "the Fighter".

Went and found Jeff. He'd seen some of the same four points and some other small bucks but no shooters. I told him I had a good buck for him and I'd show him where to get him. I figured he'd be chasing the doe in the same spot tomorrow so I'd show Jeff where to set up in the AM. On the way over there I saw another five point but Jeff wasn't fast enough to get the scope on that one and he got away. No big deal--he wasn't as good as the other two I'd already seen. I showed Jeff the situation and told him we'd give the area a rest and he was on his own tomorrow morning. If he snuck in at dawn and was real quiet he'd probably see a nice buck.

Hunted another spot the rest of the day but didn't see much. Ended the day with six bucks spotted but nothing bigger than the first two five points. Lotsa does. Bill and Jeff saw bucks but no shooters. Tomorrow was going to be Bill and Jeff's last day so the pressure was on!

Next morning I dropped off Jeff with some last minute instructions not to walk so fast today. The darn kid moves way too fast thru the woods! I drove over to where Bill was and just as I got there heard a shot and saw a buck stagger down the hill and drop. Bill got a medium size four point!


As we were loading it in the truck we heard one shot over where Jeff was and I told Bill I bet Jeff got his five point!

We drove over and spotted Jeff watching down the hill at the bottom of the clear cut.

He signaled where the deer was and we signaled back to close in on it. Bill and I got to it first and yelled to Jeff that he had shot a little forkhorn! He couldn't believe it and quickly knew we were kidding! He had "the Fighter"!



Jeff had spotted the buck chasing a doe into some thick brush and sat down to wait for it to come out again. After about twenty minutes the buck stuck his head out of some brush. All Jeff could see was the head and neck, but he had a good rest so he shot. Hit it exactly perfect in the neck and broke it's spine. It was kinda hard to estimate the distance across the draw where he shot from, but I'd say it was between 350 to 400 yards! What a great shot! That kid's turned out to be a great hunter! The horns were 19 3/4 inches wide.

Jeff and I dragged the deer downhill about a mile and a half to a road and Bill drove around to pick us up. Big bodied deer, but I knew he's lost some weight in the last few days chasing does. I guessed he weighed between 180 and 190 lbs. dressed, so it wasn't an easy drag. I made Jeff do most of the work! If I had ever shot a buck that size when I was eighteen I wouldn't have cared if I had to drag it ten miles and Jeff didn't either!


We took both bucks back to the motel where we stay and there were four hunters there with a couple of pretty nice bucks. The biggest was a 18 inch wide five point. After we listened to their stories and congratulated them I told them to let Jeff show them what he had! I wish you coulda seen the looks on their faces when they saw Jeff's buck!

Now it was my turn. I had an extra doe permit in addition to my regular tag, which was good for a buck or doe. One of the farmers who lets us hunt on his land had told me he knew a family that was having a tough time and would really appreciate some venison so I decided to go get them a doe.

I have never shot a doe in over 40 years of deer hunting, so this was going to be a new experience! The reason for the extra doe tag was too many deer in the area so I wanted to get the maximum benefit from it----meaning reduce the herd as much as possible with one doe tag. I had been thinking a lot about my criteria for shooting this doe and had decided to try for a mature doe with two fawns in a place where there was a cougar hanging around that would have a better chance at getting the fawns if I shot the doe. Cougars gotta eat too! It also had to be a doe that lived on posted land and wandered onto land I could hunt. And last, but not least, it had to be a doe I could drop no more than 100 yards above a road so I wouldn't have a long drag.

I'd been watching for that kinda setup and knew just where I could probably pull it off so headed over there and got the doe about two hours later just after she left the posted land. Shot it about one rib behind the shoulder so I wouldn't ruin much meat and still could hit the lungs. She staggered down the hill and fell about twenty yards from the road. Perfect! I had seen fresh cougar tracks a couple hundred yards away the day before. Not a big cat, only about 90 lbs. Maybe she'll find the two fawns.

Now it was time to go after the big buck. Well, everything had been going so well it couldn't last. The next morning it was pouring rain by the buckets full and it was going to keep up for another day (the last day of the season), so I pulled out and drove home. I guess I'll let that big one grow another year.

Oh, Jeff weighed his buck when he got home. 184 lbs.!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 12-15-2002 20:54: Message edited by: Ithaca 37 ]</font>
Great story, buck and pictures. Man I want to go deer hunting again this year.
Congrats!! The kid will really appreciate your help once he's in college, it has a way of taking up way too much hunting time. Thanks for the pics. You're giving me the itch to chase some whitetails again.
Sounds like a great hunt, great pics. Sorry you had to force yourself to shoot a doe, and close to the road to boot (just kidding). You still have more deer season down there don't you.
Great stories, Great pics, and Great adventurs...That is what it is all about..
It really doesn't get much better...
Thanks Ithica!!! :D :D :D
Ithica.... TELL him about .. I can Lower his GPA.. I've ruined alot of good students ;)

Congrats on some more fine hunting trips Burke !!!!!
Yeah, look at me!! I had a 3.2 GPA when I first started coming here and now I am getting a 3.0!! :eek: Thanks for ruining my education Moosie!! :D :D
Not too bad of a graduation present!!! Congrats to him.

BTW, I'm graduating, unless all else fails, in May!!! ;) :D ;)