First Buck from the Sit Drag...Sort of....

Discussion in 'Successful Hunts' started by kyler1945, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. kyler1945

    kyler1945 Member

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    Let me start by this story out by saying I truly thought my season was over with the 7pt I shot a couple weeks ago. I completely forgot I had been chosen for a primitive firearms lottery hunt at one of the properties I hunt this weekend. (Louisiana's definition of primitive is pretty loose - .35 caliber or larger single shot or muzzleloader)

    Taking a look at the forecast, the weather looked warm and wet, not really ideal for hunting in the swamp in La - Mosquitos and snakes and generally the 100% humidity are all not my favorite things. But I touched base with the guys, and was actually getting some decent reports on deer activity and kills. The best part - within close proximity to access roads. Another key piece of intel that tipped the scales for me - one of the last bucks killed was pushing a doe pretty good.

    I arrived Friday afternoon with the other two guys in my group. One has been hunting for the last 3-4 years, and the other has literally never made a hunt or shot a gun. The other guys who had been having success really dialed us in. I honestly was over the season, and was more interested in getting these other two set up for some action. I looked over maps and talked about what the other guys had seen, and the greenhorns made a decision to scout an area Friday afternoon.

    I decided to check out one of the other areas the guys had suggested. We'd have a south wind that afternoon as well as all day saturday. The access road basically runs North/South, and on the west side, is an off limits area the deer typically use as a sanctuary. We had a good rain Thursday night, so any sign seen Friday would be fresh. On the east side of the road, the rain had filled up a slough about 30 yards from the road, and about 50 yards wide. to the east of the slough is a strip of very thick young hardwoods planted about 7-8 years ago, and on the back side an atv trail. I walked south on the road about 100 yards from where I parked my truck, and found three deer tracks on a very faint trail coming out of the slough. I confirmed that the deer crossed straight over the road. About another 50 yards or so down the road I found a very heavy trail coming out of the slough and crossing the road. about 400 yards south, there was a parking lot at the end of the road where several people were parked and entered the woods to scout. I left that spot, and looked at one other area that the guys suggested, and it was loaded with sign, but that one faint trail I saw stuck with me.

    The next morning, I decided that I was going to go to the parking lot where I found those crossings, as it was the same one the other two would use to access their area. If a bunch of cars were parked there, I'd leave the spot, and head to the second one I checked out. But if the same pattern help up, and everyone went south of us, I'd hunt it.

    Sure enough, we had no company, and there were 15 or so trucks parked at the south end. I sat on my tailgate as the other guys trekked north, and I listened to all of the atv's buzzing all over the woods south of us. I chuckled a little to myself, as I knew exactly what these deer were doing. All of the human activity in the areas they fed in to the south were getting plowed over by hunters. I felt pretty good they were using the crossing I found, but I wasn't quite sure exactly how they'd filter into it from the backside of the slough.

    I eased in the from the north about to about 100 yards north of the faint trail i'd found. (this distance was chosen randomly as it was dark and I didn't have my bearings. I set up my sit drag at ground level facing south and waited for day to break. As it did, I realized I was a little farther north than I wanted to be. the leaves were wet, and I had the wind in my face, so I decided to ease about 50 yards further south, and be able to have a clear shot at the faint trail, and potentially the heavier crossing.

    It took me about 30 minutes to cover the 50 yards, and I picked my new tree. I eased back in my sling, and suddenly felt really stupid. Here I am in thick cover, 100 yards from the road, sitting on the ground. You know the feeling, on occasion when doubt creeps in for no good reason. I liked the plan, but it just seemed too easy. There was no way these deer were going to move after daylight with all that traffic.

    I had been sitting in the new set for all of 15 minutes, contemplating my next move when I heard a slight splash. There wasn't a strong wind, and the trees had dried out so I knew it wasn't water dripping. I looked straight ahead expecting to see wood ducks or just chalk it up to a stick falling. Then I hear very clear footsteps heading right for me. I can make out a deer walking directly at me from the south. I can tell it's a buck, but it was so thick, I had no idea on size. I had my rifle on the left side of the tree, looking for any hole I can shoot through. The deer stopped, checked the wind, and makes a right turn directly into the slough.

    I had a brief moment of panic as I knew I'd have to shoot off the right of the tree, and I'd lose sight of the deer while I made the switch. I found a lane in the middle of the slough (very very tight window), slipped my little grunt call in my mouth, and focused on the sight window in the peep. As he stepped in the clearing I breathed in slightly on the grunt, and he froze. I gently squeezed, and the .444 put one right on the mark in his right shoulder. He dropped, and then began a frantic scramble/run through the slough towards the road. I thought he was quartering to me, and knew it was a pretty good shot, but I didn't want him to get across the road with everything being wet, and blood likely hard to come by. He laid down about ten yards from the edge of the road. I unclipped from the SD, and snuck as quietly as possible into the slough and got to within 30 yards. I waited to see if he would go ahead and pass. As luck would have it a truck passed right at this moment, and he picked his head up as if he was going to try to cross the road. I went ahead and put a second shot into him.

    As I walked up on the deer, I realized it was not only the biggest bodied deer I'd killed (200lbs), but the biggest rack as well. It grew as I got closer and got my hands on it. I just walked to my truck, backed down the road a bit, and loaded him in the back. The game warden came by, and gave a hand and snapped a pic.

    The double brows are fantastic. The mass is awesome. They aged his jaw at 3.5yo. It still hasn't set in how beautiful he is. I know folks have killed much bigger, but to do it on public land, with a plan, open sights, from the sit drag, etc. etc. made it that much sweeter. I'll do a post hunt evaluation of the set tomorrow hopefully.

    I'm sure I'm missing a few details. If you made it through my novel, here's the pics!

    As he laid when I walked up on him.
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    Me, my five head, and the deer...
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    The double brows
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    The mass
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    The better hero shot
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  2. Root

    Root Member

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    Nice deer. It's always great when a plan comes together.
     
  3. Bowhunter41002

    Bowhunter41002 Active Member

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  4. bowhunterchuck

    bowhunterchuck Active Member

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    Seems like I have similar success when I have a plan and stick to it. 40 years of deer hunting shouldn't be ignored. Yet this type of situation only happens about once every 3 or 4 years. I guess the lesson learned is to trust yourself and believe in what you are doing is right. And always remember to have fun doing it! Outstanding buck!

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  5. kyler1945

    kyler1945 Member

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    I wanted to give a little better view of how the hunt unfolded. West of the road is the off limits area. Directly west of the northern parking lot is CRP, and below it is swamp/bottomland hardwoods/palmetto thickets. We know the deer bed in this area after it closes to hunting. The parking lot to the south of me is actually about 5-600 yards away. The red crossing is the heavier one, and the orange one is the faint one that I keyed in on. My reasoning was it was directly downwind of a heavy trail and I know the mature deer seem to shadow the main travel routes - especially during the rut. The blue is my entrance, with the yellow dot being the first set, and the red being the second. The orange is where I first spotted the deer, and black is where I shot.

    The darker area just east of the road is the slough. It's mostly cypress, and usually holds at least some water. He was standing in about a foot of water when I shot. The area directly east of the slough is planted hardwoods, and they are very thick. When I went to retrieve the sit drag after the hunt, I noticed a couple trails and rubs on the edge of that. On the backside is a canal and atv trail.

    My guess is that morning, when all of those trucks and four wheelers poured into the oak flats to the south, the deer just scooted into the thicket along the slough. This deer more than likely worked his way in and laid down near that heavy crossing to watch it from the thick stuff until all the human activity died. I shot at around 8am. He likely saw the coast was clear on the road, and was easing by that main crossing (he had his head down smelling when I first saw him). I noted in the hunt post that he made a right turn into the slough - I confirmed that where he turned was exactly at that faint trail. If I had pushed further south, I could have bumped him if he was bedded, or walked past him and gotten winded. I intend to head south to the transition from the big woods to that thicket/slough combo. It will probably be a good early season spot.

    Sometimes it works! And sometimes its easy! Don't ignore the sign just because its convenient.


    EDIT - the oak flat extends to the west of the road, south of the block that is off limits. The majority of the hunters were in this area. In my head the easiest thing for the deer to do would be to go straight north to bed, but I think all the activity had pushed them this other direction.

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  6. flinginairos

    flinginairos Well-Known Member

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    That is awesome!! That is a dandy buck anywhere. Congrats!


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