Todd Brackett, Missouri- This success story is a story of failures.
I shot a brute of a buck 6 days prior to taking this stud. I hit him high in the shoulder, near the spine and waited 5 hours to take up the track. Blood was good, but dark. Knowing that I wasn't near the liver, I feared it was a muscle-only hit.
After blood went to drops and finding 6 beds with dried blood, we began grid searching. We did this for several hours with multiple guys. No such luck.
I called a tracker that night to get his input. I had never really looked into tracking before, and I now know that grid searching is a big no-no before calling the tracker. I sent him pictures of the arrow, and a video of the shot (I self-film). He reassured me that we were pursuing an alive deer.
During this track we discovered a pretty good spot. The buck I shot had bedded multiple times in this area. It was pretty secluded and likely doesn't get a ton of pressure. Sign was plentiful.
I decided I was gonna let it sit a day or 2 (as we just trampled all over it searching for that buck) and then I was going to go in there early for a morning hunt. In the back of my mind I was just hoping to catch a glimpse of that buck still alive. It doesn't sit well not knowing for sure.
So I head in there a couple days later.
I set up my sticks and platform and was working on the camera setup when I noticed a couple deer spook off. I had got in a little late so it was just getting light enough to see. Not sure what they were, but I wasn't too thrilled.
Several hours went by and I hadn't seen anything. At about 9:30 I caught a glimpse of a deer and it was only about 60 yards away.
A few seconds later I saw that It was a buck and it was headed my way. I quickly realized it was a shooter but I knew it was a different deer. He was coming slowly, but on a string. I filmed him for nearly 10 minutes. He gets to about 35 yards and he just casually looks up, picks me off, and he's gone.
My spirits weren't too high at this point. Bad shot, getting busted (twice), it sucks. So I went home to begin the work week with my morale at an all time low.
I was fortunate enough to get Friday off, and I immediately knew where I was going. I drove down early Friday and hiked into the same area I was in for my last hunt.
I moved about 30 yards to where I would have had a shot at all 3 deer I saw the last hunt, had I been there.
It was a slow morning until about 9 o'clock. I caught a glimpse of a deer up on the hill above me.
It was actually 2 does and they were headed my way. I didn't want to shoot a doe in this spot for it was a hellacious drag out, but I hadn't filled a tag so if they gave me a gimme shot I decided I was going to take it.
They came in to about 25 yards but they were really spooky. They saw me but didn't know what I was. You know how they act when they're trying to get you to mess up. That's what they were doing. Well I finally got drawn back and they took a couple bounds.
I ultimately decided to let down and give them a pass. Not worth the risky shot, and I wasn't gonna shoot unless it was an easy shot.
About 30 minutes goes by and I decide to do some rattling. I get really aggressive, hoping to pull something in from the distance. Another 30 minutes goes by and I hear the squirrels going nuts behind me. I turn around and I immediately see a buck, about 50 yards out, and up the hill above me.
He start crossing the hill above me, at about 40 yards, and he's grunting, nose down. I put an estrous scent trail down on my way in to my stand. And as luck would have it, he hit that trail and turned on a dime right to me.
I drew early, having been spotted earlier in the morning I wasn't looking for that to happen again.
He was headed straight for me, but turned at 24 yards. He opened up his near side leg and stopped, still with his head down.
I took my time and settled the pin. The rest is history. I watched him fall after about 60 yards!
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