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Went to Wisconsin

I gathered up and went down there to search for the arrow. I went and grabbed my practice arrrow to make sure I didn't forget and started following the path of the deer.

I could not find the arrow for the life of me. I followed a game trail that seemed to be the route he took from what I could tell.

No blood, no blood, no blood

Oh, hello.

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And again.

Confidence was growing.

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Unfortunately, I was hunting near the property edge and I was about to the fence. The blood trail dripped right up to a low spot in the fence where the deer could nearly walk over and I had to stop.

I called my cousin (in-law) and told him we were gonna be needing to go knock on a door.

I climbed out, got to the ranger, and ripped over to his house and he hopped in and down the road we went.

No one was home. Damnit. My anxiety was growing. In my mind 50/50 chance this was a dead deer, I saw the hit, it wasn't bad, but I knew it was forward, and I know that shoulders stop broadheads and I had no arrow to indicate a pass through. Though, that picture above would indicate to me he's likely bleeding from both sides.

We killed some time by taking down his other tree stand that he wanted to move. Meanwhile his wife facebook messaged this neighbor whom they have never met.

After killing about an hour taking down the tree stand we ate lunch, then went back to knock on the door again.

Nobody home.

#*^@#*
 
Eventually he got the text from his wife that she heard from them on facebook and that we were good to go.

So much relief washed over me.

We geared up to go back down in there. My cousin bringing his 9 year old who with his his little height and fresh young eyes has proven a wizard at finding blood over the last couple of years.

Let's do this.

Back down we go. Blood trail remained solid after the fence, steady little drips followed by the occasional larger splashed maybe every 15 yards.

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I just kept thinking certainly this deer is dead somewhere up here.

We followed and followed and followed and the blood trail became tricky here and there. Starting to look more like the blood trail from morning one, not promising. But we would find a bigger splash occasionally and I would grow confident again.

I really felt like I was getting flung around with emotions, hope and despair, hope and despair as we would start losing track of it, only to find a pin prick, then to find a splash again.

My cousins son was proving his worth as a wizard of blood.

Really in all of this, we had only gone about a 100 yards or so. It can take a while, even with an okay blood trail.

The moment came where my heart sunk. My cousins oldest son, after spending about 15 minutes unsure of where the next blood spot was, found it: the deer had turned up hill.

Dang.
 
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He followed a crappy game trail up, into a hell hole of shrubs and trees.

I learned pretty early in this trip that every plant in Wisconsin is trying to grab you and shred you.

Alrighty, in we go. We spent the next hour in here really only gaining about another 30 yards or so of confident trail. The blood trail had truly turned into an unpromising one of occasional pin drops of blood.

The little wizard further proved his worth in here. Crawling on his hand knees through little tunnels in the shrubs seeking out the next direction from the last. He would emerge back to the trail announcing no blood over there. Meanwhile, his gloveless little hands where getting shredded from the plants and we joked that we've just been following his blood this whole time.

He was in his element though. This kid is enamored with hunting. He'd do this all day with a huge grin on his face.

Among the last signs we had was a small piece of flesh grabbed by a small thorn on a twig.

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We truly lost the blood trail in this thick nasty stuff. It had turned into a sparse trail.

I was pretty deflated. But at least hopeful that there was a decent chance this buck was alive.
 
We had no idea of where to go next, we lost the trail, the trail had thinned out dramatically up until that point. It was over.

I had one more sit left. We went and hung the stand we took down in another spot at a pitch point only 300 or so yards from my cousins house where many big bucks had been watched many times traveling between two set aside fields surrounded by timber.

I'd get almost a three hour sit here after all the time we burned trailing today.

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The evening would eventually bring a very large buck filtering out of the timber up above my right shoulder. I rattled at him when he was out of view and at one point he started like he was coming towards me along the tree edge. But he never did and that was all the action for the evening.

This sit actually, for some reason, really lifted my spirits and just had me glad for all the experiences I got to have out here.

The hunting was great, I had opportunities nearly every sit. Chances at big bucks and little bucks. I came out here knowing the possibility of heading home empty handed was real, but like I said, I really did think I would get something.

But such is the way it is. I had two shots on two deer and the reason neither of them ended up in my cooler on the drive home is because of me.

Shooting bows ain't easy, and even those more experienced than me will easily have 4 days of hunting turn out just like mine did.

I learned a fair bit, experienced the things I wanted to, enjoyed family time, and am fired up for the next trip.

The invite is standing.
 
@TOGIE that’s unbelievable access to some unbelievable ground you’ve got there - cherish it. I was at it for 5 days up in NE WI and had about as much action in those 5 days as you did in your first full day. Not sure exactly where you were at, but there’s definitely areas of world class whitetail hunting down in SW WI.

Here’s one of my old axioms - you sit there for hours and hours for the last half hour. That’s when you’re standing and on the edge of your seat because any second it’s going to happen - believe it.
 
@TOGIE that’s unbelievable access to some unbelievable ground you’ve got there - cherish it. I was at it for 5 days up in NE WI and had about as much action in those 5 days as you did in your first full day. Not sure exactly where you were at, but there’s definitely areas of world class whitetail hunting down in SW WI.

Here’s one of my old axioms - you sit there for hours and hours for the last half hour. That’s when you’re standing and on the edge of your seat because any second it’s going to happen - believe it.

It really became clear to me that it’s a pretty incredible situation. Very lucky to get to hunt down there in some top notch whitetail country on some far from insignificant acreage of private ground. The biggest buck I saw was while sitting maybe 400 yards yards from my cousins in laws house that sits on 50 acres… and that’s the smallest parcel there was to hunt. Just so lucky to get to do that. I really wish getting a cold didn’t bog me down so much. I could tell it was dragging me down and making me noticeably quiet and less socially active for the trip.



I really struggle with succinctness in my write ups. I struggle with succinctness in professional life too. It’s both good and bad and it depends, for both. For some hunting stories it’s a real strength and for other I worry I can really become uninteresting wading through all the words I splatter. I hope it wasn’t too much word vomit.

Part of it is for me. As I recount hunts I really love reliving all the details and the things going through my brain at each moment and I like to weave that into a narrative and relive it as I type. It brings it into a new lense and frame of though that makes the memory even more enjoyable.

Being sick out there for nearly the whole trip and making the full push home on Monday and getting straight back to work and life really depleted me. This write up was hard for those reasons. I just didn’t want to do it, mental energy lacking.

But I’m glad I did. Hope it was enjoyed. And maybe not next year, but I will be back out there as soon as I can.

And I promise I wont be lugging my mystery ranch up and down the tree stand next time!
 
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As usual, great write up. Sorry it panned out the way it did but what a cool experience. Made me want to try the Midwest whitetail thing, which to be honest, hasn’t been something that’s ever particularly interested me. But the quiet focus of being in the stand like you described sounds like it would be a very worthwhile exercise—thanks for taking us along.
 
As usual, great write up. Sorry it panned out the way it did but what a cool experience. Made me want to try the Midwest whitetail thing, which to be honest, hasn’t been something that’s ever particularly interested me. But the quiet focus of being in the stand like you described sounds like it would be a very worthwhile exercise—thanks for taking us along.

It never particularly interested me either.

I think it only initially turned into something I wanted to try because out of a pretty lucky situation that I realized I have, I can.

But also, opportunity - abundant cheap tags and abundant animals so why not? If you add up the cost of tags AND travel it may almost equal the cost of a bull tag in wyoming, except I had 4 tags. So, the cost benefit is definitely there IMO. Just add it into the rotation of opportunity, which, even out west, is not lacking IMO.

Absolutely worth it, certainly a different type of fun and a different type of aggravating, and a different type of boring at the same time.

I'd be lying if western hunting wasn't also plagued with a certain level of boredom and that's what I find to be the most striking similarity. Out west, you spend hours glassing, often bored, often getting aggravated you're not seeing anything and if you're solo it can be tough to keep the discipline to stay put and keep looking. After some number of hours you finally do turn up that buck or bull and your heart jumps a little. In the midwest it's the same thing sitting in the stand, hours and hours getting aggravated and bored, then that twig snaps and your heart jumps. It's cool and still not easy, which I think is a big misconception. It's different exercise in patience I think everyone should try that hasn't.

High priority to do this as close to annually as possible now.
 
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It never particularly interested me either.

I think it only initially turned into something I wanted to try because out of a pretty lucky situation that I realized I have, I can.

But also, opportunity - abundant cheap tags and abundant animals so why not? If you add up the cost of tags AND travel it may almost equal the cost of a bull tag in wyoming, except I had 4 tags. So, the cost benefit is definitely there IMO. Just add it into the rotation of opportunity, which, even out west, is not lacking IMO.

Absolutely worth it, certainly a different type of fun and a different type of aggravating, and a different type of boring at the same time.

I'd be lying if western hunting wasn't also plagued with a certain level of boredom and that's what I find to be the most striking similarity. Out west, you spend hours glassing, often bored, often getting aggravated you're not seeing anything and if you're solo it can be tough to keep the discipline to stay put and keep looking. After some number of hours you finally do turn up that buck or bull and your heart jumps a little. In the midwest it's the same thing sitting in the stand, hours and hours getting aggravated and bored, then that twig snaps and your heart jumps. It's cool and still not easy, which I think is a big misconception. It's different exercise in patience I think everyone should try that hasn't.

High priority to do this as close to annually as possible now.
You should take it next level after you get your first WI whitetail. It's one thing to arrow a deer in SW WI on private where the deer are managed so well. Make an effort to try and arrow a central or Eastern public one. Or if you really want a challenge, try for a northern public one!
 
I'll actually help if you want. I think it would be great for a western hunter to come here and realize what lots of WI hunters have to deal with in terms of our public lands and it may open your mind to why you see so many WI plates out west during hunting season.
 
certainly a different type of fun and a different type of aggravating, and a different type of boring at the same time.

I’m in agreement here. Very different in many ways, but definitely some similarities that people who haven’t done both might be surprised by. One thing is for sure, they are both fun!

Not telling you anything you don’t know, but you are very blessed with that hunting situation with your family and that land- that is definitely a special setup, and often times those don’t last forever. It’s cool to see you appreciate that in real time.
 
You should take it next level after you get your first WI whitetail. It's one thing to arrow a deer in SW WI on private where the deer are managed so well. Make an effort to try and arrow a central or Eastern public one. Or if you really want a challenge, try for a northern public one!

It's definitely something I've already pondered and it's a challenge I want to embark on. It's another thing where given the cost and availability of tags why the heck not? I'll have to level up beyond wounding deer from the stand before I embark on Midwest or Eastern/Southern public land whitetail though lol

For some reason, I really want to shoot/arrow a whitetail in Kentucky.
 
It's definitely something I've already pondered and it's a challenge I want to embark on. It's another thing where given the cost and availability of tags why the heck not? I'll have to level up beyond wounding deer from the stand before I embark on Midwest or Eastern/Southern public land whitetail though lol

For some reason, I really want to shoot/arrow a whitetail in Kentucky.
I need to get back to KY myself! There are slopes there so steep it makes lots of mountains out west look tame!
 
Wow you had an incredible place to hunt.

If you'll use the scent killer soap for about two weeks it drastically cuts down on your scent. When you hunt the same spot over and over, having less scent to leave behind has less of an impact on deer behavior. A deer only has to alter travel by thirty yards or thirty minutes to avoid where it smelled you, and thereby you, entirely.
 
Wow you had an incredible place to hunt.

If you'll use the scent killer soap for about two weeks it drastically cuts down on your scent. When you hunt the same spot over and over, having less scent to leave behind has less of an impact on deer behavior. A deer only has to alter travel by thirty yards or thirty minutes to avoid where it smelled you, and thereby you, entirely.

missed this post sorry.

I've been pondering the scent thing more as I've always been skeptical of the midwest scent tactics.

I've heard that one thing ungulates are often catching a whiff of is your breath, which is scented by both your lungs and your mouth. I always figured there was truth to that and thereby partially renders trying to "descentify" as a fruitless endeavor.

but, when one is sitting in one spot so often your post makes sense. has anyone tried to study how one's scent stick in an area they've been?

i'm maybe turning a corner on the tree stand white tail thing when it comes to scent. at least, if only, from the angle of "why wouldn't you do everything you can?"

but, I can't deny that the axiom i've come up with myself is whether western or midwestern "if a deer or elk is gonna be in a position to smell ya, they're gonna freakin smell ya, period."

but, as my in laws in wisoncsin said, "if you manage your scent and it gains you 5 or 10 yards before they whiff ya, that could be the difference"

that was the first time i thought maybe there is something to scent management.
 
missed this post sorry.

I've been pondering the scent thing more as I've always been skeptical of the midwest scent tactics.

I've heard that one thing ungulates are often catching a whiff of is your breath, which is scented by both your lungs and your mouth. I always figured there was truth to that and thereby partially renders trying to "descentify" as a fruitless endeavor.

but, when one is sitting in one spot so often your post makes sense. has anyone tried to study how one's scent stick in an area they've been?

i'm maybe turning a corner on the tree stand white tail thing when it comes to scent. at least, if only, from the angle of "why wouldn't you do everything you can?"

but, I can't deny that the axiom i've come up with myself is whether western or midwestern "if a deer or elk is gonna be in a position to smell ya, they're gonna freakin smell ya, period."

but, as my in laws in wisoncsin said, "if you manage your scent and it gains you 5 or 10 yards before they whiff ya, that could be the difference"

that was the first time i thought maybe there is something to scent management.

I buy that if scent is less "strong" a deer may be less alerted by it but i'd quit hunting before I take all of the scent control steps some people do. You're not going to eliminate scent from breath like you said. I've accepted that deer are going to know you were in a stand if they walk where your scent was blowing while in said stand during or within a couple days after a sit. Best thing a guy can do is select stand setups where deer are not going to travel much across your access route or where your wind was blowing. Or just have so many of them that you aren't worried about blowing up ground every sit.

I do believe some of the tightly sealed box blinds, hunted with windows closed, can greatly reduce the impact of scent from a day's hunt. Hunting from them is less enjoyable than a treestand though IMO. You dont feel as immersed in the experience and surroundings.
 
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