Our Trophy Bucks

On opening day of rifle season 2023 Tim spent the morning in what we call Tim's usual spot and didn't see much at all.  This was typical of Tim's usual spot from his experience the past couple of years.  So, in the afternoon he made a change and hunted a different location and it paid off.  After only one Little Debbie this ten point came up over the hill and Tim was successful.  I did recommend that he shoot them a little closer to our four wheeler paths, but we were real glad to see Tim shoot this nice buck.  Sometimes we make deer hunting too much about the antler sizes and other issues, but it's still fun to drag one out.

Tim 2023 Buck

Emily shot a real nice buck in 2020 and here is the story in her own words.

I don’t know what was more fun, the experience or sharing it with my son. My 2020 trophy headed for the wall, a 132 pound 8-point with a 17 inch spread.

John asked if I’d be able to write this story out and I’m really not sure I can with this one. Sometimes words just can’t capture everything, but I guess I can try!

The last few days, Ryan and I have spent some quality time in the woods. Yesterday morning, he came up with a plan that we would double-down on does, he would shoot first and I would shoot second. I laughed inside and agreed, thinking, “you go right ahead and shoot first, I have my sights set on something bigger”.

I didn’t tell him this part I had every rock-paper-scissor scenario played out in my mind ahead of time so that I had the best chance at a buck if one came and we’d have to fight for who got him . I chose the best seat. I positioned myself exactly where I wanted. With the hope of getting a buck.

We saw more than enough does yesterday but didn’t take any. This morning was the same “plan”. He’ll shoot first, I’ll shoot second. “Sure, ok.” (I’m still secretly waiting for a buck). Except, we get out there and he decides I’ll go first and then wondered why I was hesitating. He flipped the script and now I was caught. As I’ve recalled, he wouldn’t stop chirping in my ear about why or whether I was going to shoot one until finally I said, “you shoot one”. He was confused; he didn’t shoot.

We came back to the house for lunch. We talked about our “plan”; plenty of banter andisagreements back and forth there . I told him I was waiting for a buck. That’s what I wanted; that was my goal. We debated if we should go separately but ultimately decided we’d go together. He’d dust one with his bow, I’ll wait for a buck. So, to the “Old House” we went.

It wasn’t long before 2 does arrived. Sweet feed, corn, then back. 3 more arrived, one of the biggest we’ve ever seen. We debated — do we take her now? I didn’t want to ruin my chances later. We decided to wait and get her if it gets too late and before she goes off. More does arrive, lots of playing, running, hopping, chasing, snorting. My eyes started to get heavy. Sweet feed, corn, more games of chase. And finally, I looked back up. I opened my eyes wide at the sight of antlers. There he was. From woods on the left side of the food plot and walking along the line, what would become my buck was on his way to me. My heart started to race and my body went flush as I repeated in my mind, “I’ve been waiting for you”.

He suspiciously headed for the sweet feed and stayed there for quite some time. All the while, I was still unsure if I’d actually shoot him. I didn’t want to shoot him that close, it’d be too easy. I just kept watching. Every deer in the food plot, which must have been around 10 at this point, knew we were there. I would need to be careful with that many eyes on me. I just kept watching.

I waited and watched as he left the sweet feed to head to the corn. Just watching. Shaking. Still deciding if I’d pull the trigger. A part of me was still wondering about the 9-point and holding out to see if he’d show up, too.

He returned to the sweet feed again. It was starting to get dark. My mind was racing. He turned toward the corn and headed back in that direction and that’s when I decided: if he goes there, he’ll be gone. There can’t be much corn left. At this point, he was mine. I wanted to wrap my fingers around his antlers. He may not be a Ryan shooter, but he sure is an Emma Sue buck.

I slowly reached for my rifle, raised it, whispered to Ryan, “you ready?”. Watched him for a few more quiet and still moments — as he stood broadside the whole time, clicked off my safety, let out a final slow breath, and squeezed the trigger.

He didn’t go far and he landed pretty quietly. That’s according to Ryan, because my adrenaline was pumping and all I could hear was my heartbeat. After we made it out of the blind and Ryan took a chance on getting a doe, we began our search. It didn’t take long other than because of my sprained ankle hobble. I traced his path and looked up. I saw antlers. He was down.

We called to have Bap bring Joshua out and the story goes that when he told Joshua mommy got a deer, he couldn’t leave the house fast enough. So fast he didn’t even want to put clothes on and put his shoes on the wrong feet.

Let me tell you, it was fun experiencing this with Ryan — the first time he’s been with my while I’ve shot a buck and really any deer at all. It was exciting just in general. But I don’t think any of it compares to when Joshua showed up. How excited he was to see him, all his questions, excitement, pride, and more. His giant cheese and breaths of excitement. The way he held his antlers with me. How we counted each one together — every part of Joshua’s presence that can’t really be described in words.

He asked where he was when I shot him and I said I’d show him. So after all was said and done and he was strapped on the fourwheeler, I grabbed Joshua. I lead him to where he was, knelt beside him, and began my story — one that now I wish I would’ve waited for Ryan to record because that moment was extremely cherished. He loved my story. I loved telling it to him. He told me it was “really funny” and “cool”, cheesed big, made excited noises, laughed, and asserted that this big guy is headed for the basement wall TOMORROW.

There are so many things that I just can’t capture with this hunt. The two days worth of fun banter and just quietness with my husband, the hour or so I watched him and then the moment itself, and finally the details of sharing it all with my son.

For now I’ll say, 2020 just got a little better for me... and that I’m officially naming this one Ackumpucky Bucky — a Bap name for Joshua’s “job” spreading attractant over the sweet feed the last few days, and what I told Joshua is what he loved the most.

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In 2017 I did something I hadn't done in years, I shot two bucks.  Let me just say never listen to your brother-in-law when you have a gun in your hands!

The first evening I was sitting in a blind at the top of the pipeline hoping to see a nine point buck I knew was around.  I'd passed up a bow shot at this buck the year before hoping to let him walk another year and thankfully he stuck around and got a little bigger.

After an uneventful first hour or so a group of does showed up and began eating the clover and alfalfa on the pipeline.  All of a sudden a buck busted out of the woods chasing a doe.  They went left to right across the pipeline into the woods on the other side, circled around and came back out.  Fortunately he stopped and gave me a broadside shot that I took.  At the shot he ran another circle and stopped facing me.  I took a second shot after which he took off back into the woods from which he came.  His actions didn't look like he'd been hit.

It was about an 80 yard shot and it was difficult to locate exactly where he was on the open pipeline.  I couldn't find any blood and wasn't sure where he entered the woods.  Darkness came and I gave up the search for the night.

The next morning I resumed the search, busting through the briars walking back and forth looking for some sign of him.  The more I had thought about it the previous night I thought I needed to exhaust every inch of territory he could have ran.

After searching the thickest areas and pretty much convincing myself I'd missed I started walking down through the open woods to head back to the house.  Sure enough, right there in the open woods the nine point lay there dead where he should have been easy to see.

Dressing him out revealed I'd hit him both times, a double lung shot and a broken front leg.

After our evening hunt the next day, I met Tim about half way down the right of way.  He was sitting on a four wheeler with his gun slung over his shoulder and we were talking about what we had and hadn't seen that day.  As we were talking we looked up the pipeline and saw a buck standing up there not far below the blind I'd spent the last couple of hours in.  I took a look through my scope and saw that he was a ten point and that he was silhouetted against the skyline so we just watched him.  To be honest we couldn't believe this buck had walked out there while we were down there talking less than a hundred yards away.

After a bit he walked towards the woodline and stopped, still looking down at us.  His movement towards the woods had now put ground behind him.  I continued to look at him in disbelief.  That's when Tim said, "aren't you going to shoot him?"  So I did.  At the shot he kicked and ran into the woods only making it about thirty yards.

Emily shot her first buck on November 21, 2016. Here is the story in her own words that she wrote while she was sitting with me in our deer condo later that evening. An unforgettable day for both of us!

About a month ago, I was sitting across the kitchen table from Ryan when I received the following text from John, “Will you be off the first day of deer season?” Referring to gun season and when I responded with “no, why?” he said he was looking for someone to shoot “Overbite” and he wanted me to do it. In an instant, my eyes lit up.

And so it began, the journey to the shot of my very first buck. I took today off work and John and I bundled up for the 23 degree temperature and started out on an early morning hunt. We sat for two hours and saw only two deer running, neither were something I wanted to shoot and definitely weren't Overbite. We decided at 9 o'clock we would head to the house and come back out in a bit to check on the feeder that never spun. Around 11:30, we started out on separate four wheelers each loaded with corn and sweet feed.

The first stop was to the same place we hunted this morning with no luck. As we began to crest the hill, we caught a quick glance of a buck that we thought might have been him. We stopped briefly to take a good look and with my mouth dropped open, we looked at each other with wide eyes, most likely thinking the same thing....this could be it. We proceeded to the feeder and John told me to walk down a bit and keep an eye out on the chance he didn't go far. So John took care of the feed while I waited. No luck here. But two does came withing about 20 or so feet of us!

We walked back to the four wheelers and drove to the second stop, the Middle Clearing. There were two does at the feeder when we arrived and waited to make sure there wasn't a buck. Once that was clear, we filled the feeder and sweet feed. A moment later, John looked at me and asked if I wanted to go sit in the blind while he goes on to the next and final stop, the Old House. I replied “sure”. No more than two minutes elapsed since I sat down and he left, and the two deer retuned with three more to follow. I watched them for ten minutes. A button buck was playing with one of the four does. At around the ten minute mark, I noticed the deer start to become a little skittish. And then I saw him. I saw just the very tip of some antlers coming right in my direction. Just a seccond more, and I could see his whole rack. My heart is racing, pounding out of my chest. I whispered out loud, “oh migh gosh. Holy crap. Is that Overbite?”

I raised my rifle and clear as could be, I could count 8 points. He looked right at me while he ate sweet feed and I recognized the reason we call him “Overbite”. I whispered again “That is him”. He moved onto corn, then back to the sweet feed. I watched through my scope for five minutes, he was broadside the entire time.

I sent Ryan a few adrenaline fused texts when he arrived and then again when I confirmed it was him. I knew John didn't have his phone. Now what? I have a perfect shot, but do I take it? John wasn't here and I knew he'd be coming back any second, from the direction the shot would be placed. I thought to myself, “I can't not take the shot. This could be my only chance. I don't hear the four wheeler, so I know he's not coming yet”. I took a big deep breath in, let it out, watched him for one final, graceful moment, and squeezed the trigger. I took the shot around 12:10.

He jumped a little upon impact and headed down the hill. I couldn't exit the blind fast enough. My heart at this point was beating louder and faster than I ever thought possible. I couldn't catch my breath. I kept repeating “oh migh gosh”, “oh migh gosh, did I get him?”. I ran to where he was standing and spotted the first blood. I paused for a moment, debating whether I would wait for John to start tracking or if I'd go ahead. I thought it may take a while, so I began traccking at 12:14. I've only shot one deer before, a doe, and the blood trail was very light. This was the opposite. The blood trail was pretty significant, so I began to wonder what that may have meant for whether it was a good shot or not.

I continued on, heart still racing. I tracked on down the hill, scanning periodically, and with one more glance I spotted him, laying about 30 feet from me was my buck. My buck. At the same moment, I could hear the four wheeler traveling back my way and decided I didn't want John to miss any more of this, so I turned around there and bolted up the hill to get his attention. When I got to the top, he had just parked next to the blind. I shouted, “John!”, he turned, and I jumped up and down, pumping my arms, saying “I got him! I got him!” He smiled so big and ran towards me! We shared a jumping hug and I began to share the story. I was out of breath, running on adrenaline. He beamed for me. He said “well, let's go see him!”. John said he never heard the shot. In fact, his ride towards me was spent thinking about a strategy for this eveing when we would go back out to try again, not knowing he was already down!

I wrapped my hands around his antlers at 12:23 for the first picture. John commented on how nice of a buck he is countless times and shared in my thrill and excitement for this special experience. It was a perfect shot. We took pictures and shared an endless amount of hugs, smiles and fist pumps. What a time! Ryan worked last night, so we went back to the house to wake him up to come see. I ran in the house and up the stairs, jumped on the bed screaming, “I got him! I got Overbite! Get up and come see him, Ryan!” So we returned, took a few more pictures, I gutted him, and loaded him to take him to the barn. Amidst this excitement were texts going out to family, so that made it fun too to have so many get to share in the excitement.

I've shot both my deer with the help of John and with Ryan. It's what I've learned is one of the things that makes deer hunting so fun and special......sharing it with family.

So there it is. The story of my very first buck. There's so much I could still add, but the memory will be with me forever. I didn't even know it would happen when it did. Thanks to Ryan for making sure I took a gun with me just in case. Overbite is a 9 point and weighs 150 pounds, holding the record at the farm for the heaviest buck. Today was a day I hope I never forget and I doubt I ever will.

Emily's Buck

This is a screen shot of the texts Emily sent to Ryan. We still giggle about them. Ryan slept through them.

Text screenshot

Tim shot this buck on Monday afternoon on the first day of our rifle season. It's a ten point frame with the left G-2 broke off and a split left brow tine. Depending on how you look at it you can call this buck anything from a nine to an eleven point.He has an inside spread of fourteen and a quarter inches and weighed in field dressed at 135 pounds.

One interesting thing about this buck is that we hadn't seen him before. Sometimes these bucks will follow a doe and end up in a place outside of their normal haunts and this may have been the case with this buck. He was following some does when Tim shot him.

It's also interesting that this buck's G-2's are shorter than his G-3's. We see this on some of our bucks, so there must be a trait with this antler characteristic in our local deer.

Tim's 2015 Buck

Ryan shot this buck with a bow on Monday October 14th. This buck had been a ten point the past three years. Until this year he had only shown up in front of our cameras on very few occasions until late last year. It makes us wonder if one eye had kept this buck away since he started to show up more once I shot one eye last year.

Ryan picked this third year ten point to shoot this year and had sat a few times prior to getting his opportunity on the 14th. One shot and an easy 30 yard tracking job made it look a little too easy.

The buck weighed in the mid 130's dressed out and his antlers green scored 136 gross. He's not the biggest buck, but he's still a very nice buck and is the kind of buck that we're trying to grow on our property.

Ryan's 2013 Deer

This buck had been an eight point for four years and was given the name One Eye Buck two years ago after losing his eyesight in his right eye. He must have been whipped pretty bad at that time. He had major issues with his neck muscles that we found once we had the opportunity to put our hands on him. After being injured he became very meek for the rest of that year. Last year he laid back from most deer again, but this year he seemed to be pushing his weight around and dominated again.

He hadn't gained much in antler size over the past three years and he didn't seem to have the genetics for really large antlers. Fortunately we have at lest one shed from him for these years that we can compare.

His dressed weight was 137 pounds and he rough scores about 120 inches. He wouldn't be a trophy in some minds, but he was a legend on our property. I shot him with a bow on October 20, 2012.

One eye buck - Big eight point

Ryan shot this buck on November 5, 2011. The buck is a nine point with a sticker on its left G-2 rough scoring in the 140's. We watched this buck the past two years and would have taken him last year had we seen him. This year Ryan finally got a look at him and made the shot. Field dressed this buck weighed 148 pounds.

Ryan's 2011 Buck

This is a ten point buck that Ryan shot in 2009 also on the first day of bow season. It is a ten point that is very symmetrical and rough scored in the 140's gross. We watched this buck in 2008 as a nice nine point and we let him walk.

Big ten point buck

Ryan shot this buck in 2008 on the first day of bow season. It has an eight point frame with four nice sticker points, one off of the left G-2. The inside spread is 17 1/4 inches.

12 point buck

I shot this buck in late October 2007. Is has a ten point frame with a split brow tine, a sticker coming off of the right G-2 and another sticker point near one base. I didn't shoot this buck on our hunting property. I stared seeing this buck on camera behind my house and decided to get a shot at him after seeing him walk through our yard one morning.

12 point buck
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