Opening Day Itty Bitty Blacktail 2009

Started by billythekidrock, November 15, 2009, 07:16:28 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


My brother and I have been watching this little buck (and a few others) since August and we were hoping that my wife would get a shot at him. A week ago I filmed him going head to head with a small spike and I had high hopes we would be able to find him on the opener.

Five of us drove to the Capitol Forest early enough to be on the landings just over an hour before light, but it wasn't early enough. When we showed up there were three trucks on two landings and another rig following us in. There were guys everywhere.
I was scrambling to figure out a plan for first light and I decided to drive on down the road, but again there were a couple rigs in there already and on my way out I passed a couple more coming in. Without a plan I sent three guys down the road to a trail that went through a cut and some timber and my wife and I stayed between the two landings. The landings are 3 tenths of a mile apart with a couple little draws in-between and we were hoping that all the traffic would push the deer our way.
It began to rain just before daylight and then the fog rolled in. The fog was very thick and it stayed nearly till noon. For the first hour we couldn't see beyond 80 yards and even then it was only for a minute or two at a time. After the first hour of daylight, and no shots, I was getting anxious and decided I was going to grab my rifle and head down into the cut.
I went to the truck and got the .243 before heading down in the hole. I got about 100 yards down the ridge and I saw a deer moving towards me so I sat down to wait it out. At one point I could smell deer, but I never did see them. After sitting for an hour without seeing any movement I decided to move down a little more. The fog was a bit thinner near the bottom of the cut, but up on the landings it was like pea soup. I knew no one could see me down there.
Even though it had been pouring for hours, I noticed some recent feeding activity so I slowed to slowly scan the little draws below me. I took a couple more steps and I saw a doe staring at me. She was about 60 yards straight away from me. She looked to the right and started to move that way. I looked in that direction and saw another deer moving out. They went about 20 yards and were heading over a little ridge when I noticed antlers on the first one. I raised my rifle as it was heading up the other side and I saw that it was the small buck we had been watching. The buck was about to trot out of sight as I tried to stop him with a bleat.
Then my thoughts went pretty fast at this point:
"I really wanted to save this deer for my wife."
"I didn't want to shoot this deer and end my season."
"I wanted to get it on film."
"There are a dozen hunters on this hill and someone will kill him."
While the thoughts were running through my head the buck continued up the other side as the predator in me took over and I squeezed the trigger....without following through.
At the shot the little buck hunched up and bolted.
I didn't feel good about the shot so I scanned for movement as I made my way over to the last place I saw him. I found his tracks, but no blood. Not that it would have mattered much anyway. With the amount of rain it would have been near impossible to follow a blood trail.
I followed the tracks for about 40 yards before I lost them. I started to get a bit nervous as the fog was lifting and I could see guys on the landings. I knew a moving deer would be visible to the guys above and I didn't want to be in the line of fire.
I marked the last known spot before making a half circle backwards. I found some freshly kicked up dirt and quickly got back on the tracks. I followed them another 30 yards and I saw the doe looking at me about 30 yards out. She stopped to feed then looked back to my right.
By her behavior I knew the buck was close so I slowly scanned the surrounding area. I noticed a very small fir branch bounce about twenty yards to her rear. Then it bounced again, but I never noticed a bird. I moved a step or two to get a better look and I saw the buck's head moving a bit and then it went back down.
The doe continued to feed but I must have made it nervous as it kind of stiffened up. Then up came the buck's head and he was staring right at me. I quickly raised my rifle and touched one off. I pierced his nose and gave his neck an adjustment as the doe moseyed off.

My brother and father came down with pack boards and my wife stayed up above. My brother was laughing and asking me how "did you sneak down there and kill that thing with all these guys around?" In my best Fire Marshall Bill impression I said, "I'm Snnneeeaaky!"

My first shot was too far back and the deer was not angling away as hard as I thought. Absolutely the worst gut shot I have ever seen. We actually carried him to a mud puddle to wash out the ****.
Sorry for the bad photos, they are captures from video.


We weren't really sure where the trail came out, but we knew it was going to be easier to go out the trail versus going back up the hill. It was only a 400-foot elevation difference, but it was not the easiest walking. So they walked the trail out with the deer and I hiked back up the **** hill to the truck.
My brother packed out my deer.