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I'm finally to a computer and have all the pictures together to tell the story of the hunt. If you want to skip all the reading, scroll to the bottom for harvest photos.

I shot this deer on my Grandma's family farm. I grew up hunting there and have very many fond memories in the treestand and outdoors in general on this farm. I lived just a few miles away as a boy/teenager and would ride my 4-wheeler to the farm to hunt on my own before I had my license. It is in a very agricultural area in Indiana and there is just not much timber around. My Grandma's farm happens to be the only decent sized chunk around, but total wooded acreage is probably only 40 or so on a 160 acre farm. There are a lot of little fence/hedge rows that connect the wooded blocks and a few obscure areas for the deer to reside on neighboring properties such as grown up railroad tracks, cattle pastures and state owned pheasant areas with CRP. I know there are good deer in the area, but actually harvesting them is few and far between as the deer population is very low and they are so spread out.

The stand was situated on an inside corner which I have never hunted despite seeing deer feed in the field regularly throughout my life. Over the Summer I really made it a point to try and learn mature buck behavior. I read "Mapping Trophy Bucks" by Brad Herndon on the suggestion of a friend. I noticed a few inside corners on the property and really keyed in on them. For this particular inside corner, I went in to scout/hang a stand in mid-August. I really paid attention to the trails and they laid out almost exactly like Brad Herndon's illustration below. There were two converging points connected by a main trail. I set up about 15 yards off the main trail between it and the ag field. It took me quite a while to hang the stand as it was in a pretty nasty tree, but I hoped it would pay off with good cover. I knew I would need a SE wind in order to properly hunt this stand.

Trophy Bucks.jpg

Map.jpg

I had not previously hunted this stand yet this season for a few reasons. First, it was just a little bit too close to all the main timber and the bedding areas. Second, we had not gotten a SE wind. This is a pretty uncommon wind as it will usually come from the W or SW. However, it seems we have had a lot of N winds this season. I messed around in some observation sets to pass the time and did have some good encounters with does and young bucks.

This Friday, October 23rd, we finally got the SE wind I had been waiting on to hunt this stand. It was still early in the season, but I felt it was time to begin to push more and more toward the interior of the timber. There were also a few other factors I took into account to justify pushing in to what I felt could be one of my best stands.

1) Historically, my trail cams tell me mature bucks begin to come from neighboring properties or the safety of standing crops around the 24th - 26th of October.
2) A front was pushing in on Saturday, so I hoped deer would be on their feet a little earlier than usual - hopefully leading to a daylight encounter with a mature buck.
3) The full moon was set for October 27th. Mark Drury believes the best times to hunt are around a full moon. The evenings will be best leading up to the full moon because the moon is rising while the sun is setting, which correlates with natural feeding patters. The mornings will be best after the full moon because the moon is setting after the sun has risen, which hopefully leads mature bucks to return to their beds just a little bit later than usual.

Now that the stage is set, time for the hunt. I left work around 2:30 and made the short drive to my Grandma's farm. I made sure to park my truck in such a way that it was behind a small hill and any deer entering the picked corn field were unable to see it. This created a little longer walk, but I believe there is no such thing as cutting corners on mature bucks. I got on stand about 3:30 after being sure to access in such a way to minimize detection. I made sure to stay away from the timber where deer may be bedding. I also came right across the corn field and right into the stand which was only 10-15 yards inside the woods. The wind was in my face during the entire walk, so no deer could smell me while walking to the stand.

I had my first sighting at around 5:30. It was a decent 7 pt. He casually fed in the corn, but my wind was blowing right into the corn from the woods. I was worried he would eventually wind me as he cut the corner. Before he did, something got his attention toward the road to the north and he bugged out of there. I know it was not my truck as I assure you he could not see it, but it might have been for the better since he never had a chance to catch my wind.

Around 6, a doe fed into the field with the same 7pt in tow. This time, she fed far enough to catch my wind and both her and the 7 pt exited the field back into the timber. There was also a doe and her young one that did the same thing. It was at this point that I became frustrated and was reminded why I had not previously hunted inside corners. It's a lose-lose no matter how you approach them. If deer pop the corner, then they will catch you wind. However, if you hunt with the wind blowing from the field into the timber, then you may not even see a deer because they will wind you before you may even see them. I stayed on stand anyways with hopes I may get lucky and get a shot before being winded.

At 6:52 pm, I was in the middle of sending a text to my buddy when I caught movement to my SE in the timber. It was at one of the hubs of the inside corner. Light was fading pretty quickly, but I knew it was a potential shooter. My mind started racing and I started to count the points, check his spread, etc, etc. It was at this point I decided to take him knowing hew would be around 130-140". I reached for my bow and waited for him to present a shot. This was the only deer that traveled like he was supposed to and he slowly continued to walk the main trail that connected the two hubs on the inside corner staying upwind of me the entire time. While he was behind some brush, I drew my bow and waited for him to clear. I had to make the quick decision of whether or not to stop him for the shot. I decided to let him keep walking so as to not alert him and because the shot was only 20-25 yards. I settled my pin right on his shoulder, thought "Do NOT screw this up" and let the arrow fly.

Afterwards is all a blur. I remember thinking I may have hit just a little far back of where I like, and had no Idea if I had gotten a pass through. I was hunting in a very brushy area so it was hard to follow the deer, but I knew the general direction he was heading. I immediately texted my buddy that I had shot what I thought was a giant, but may only go 130-140. I got down fairly quickly to check for blood and the arrow because a storm was approaching and it could begin to rain at any time. I could not find my arrow, and was fearing a bad shot as there was no pass through. It took a little while to find decent blood and the trail was sparse for the first 15-20 yards. Once I hit about 30 yards on the trail, I knew he was a dead deer, but didn't know how far he would go. I very cautiously proceeded knowing rain was on the way. By about 50 yards into the trail, blood was everywhere and I knew it was a matter of yards before I found the deer. At around 80 yards, I had found the buck with my arrow still sticking out of him. I looked at his rack and I couldn't believe my eyes. He was way bigger than I had thought and I knew I was one lucky hunter.

Once they arrived we all headed into the woods to take a look at him. I think they were just as surprised as I was when we all realized just how big this deer was. What ensued was a great night reminiscing about the hunt and just celebrating a great kill. I had a few beverages, met up with my family and showed him off to a few other friends. We had to get him on ice pretty quickly as it was warm, and left him overnight to cool.

When I got home, I quickly got on my computer and began to go through trailcam photos. I knew I had nothing from this year, but was in search for past years. I stumbled across some photos from December 2014 or January 2015 of this very deer one years earlie (date is off in photo). I am amazed at the jump he made in one year. I never saw this deer on the hoof previous to this night and do not have any trail camera pictures from this year. It just shows how sneaky these animals can be.

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EK002629.jpg

We butchered him on Saturday due to the warm weather and I just took him to the taxidermist yesterday. I know this is a very long winded post, but I hope my strategies can help someone else be successful and I hope the story was entertaining. Feel free to ask any other questions and thanks for reading!
 

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Congrats! Thanks for sharing
 

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congrats
 

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Proverbs 21:19
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Great buck
 

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Born yank raised south
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Congrats on a great buck brother. He is the deer of a lifetime. Brad Herndon's book is a great tool for the hunter. He looks to be around 160" by the pictures but pictures can be deceiving. What did you rough score him at?
 

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Hey I know exactly where you hunt! haha Your secret is safe with me. Thats a nice buck man. Congratulations!
 

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You hear about ground shrinkage a lot but don't hear about ground enlargement very often. Great buck and great story.
 
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