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Old 12-02-2019, 09:53 AM   #1
BlackHogDown
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Default Duval Bucks Down - Long read/pic heavy

We host an annual Guys’ Hunting Weekend every year during the weekend after thanksgiving. It’s typically the ONE time a year that most of the attendees enjoy a bit of tequila. It’s also the only chance for some to do any hunting. As such, the guys really look forward to coming out and filling the freezers. Before we could get to hunting, though, we had to make sure all the rifles were hitting where they should be. Of course, we gave the youngins some time to do some shooting of their own.





All rifles sighted in or verified true, it was time to get to hunting. Before the recap, some background on the place:

The 640 acre LF ranch has no shortage of deer but we don’t see the monster bucks that people associate with STx. We feed corn year round but that’s it. My step dad Tom and I are the only regular visitors to the ranch, only bowhunters, and the only two that hunt throughout the season (and off season for pigs). While we stick pigs every chance we get, We are very selective in the deer we kill. For example, he’s never shot a deer there. Doe or buck. He’s waiting for the monster bucks that we have only seen when lucky enough to cross paths with while driving. I have not shot a deer on the property or elsewhere since my ~120” buck in 2017. My previous biggest to date. Overall 2-4 deer taken per year on the place. Most or all by visitors.

A typical bow sit in either of the two most-hunted tripods would involve 3-4 doe, their yearlings, and the occasional young buck. Small 6 or 8s. Every time. Seeing 15 deer in a sit isn’t unusual unless one of the groups of mature does shows up and busts you. I swear, its as if they know where to look. You can have 10 deer within 20 yds and they will bust you from across to pond within seconds of stepping out of the brush.



A rifle hunt at any of the 15’ towers would allow a hunter to see 15-20 doe in a given hunt as well as 3 or 4 young bucks. During the rut, one will witness multiple bucks running doe all over, right in front of you. It’s an awesome sight for a hunter, experienced or not.



Another pic of the circled buck from the same hunt in 2017 below. We don’t utilize cameras so we don’t really follow/name deer unless we see them while hunting. I referred to this guy as “basket buck” over the last couple years. It’s been Interesting to see him grow a bit.



FRIDAY

Friday evenings hunt was immediately productive as we knew it would be. Like I said, the deer are there. With hunters in EACH of 5 hunting sets (towers and tripods), the odds of a shooter buck presenting itself was almost a certainty.

The “Horseshoe”, so-called for the horseshoe shaped pond on which the blind sits, is a hot spot. Located on the N side of property, it seems a shot at a pig is a sure thing. I was sitting 20’ up a tree at a nearby feeder when AR shots rang out. My brother kris (shooter but not pictured) and the youngsters had hit a pig.



Wasn’t the only animal that needed processing that night though. A text came through the group chat that Phillip had hit a good 9 at the “South pond.” He was hunting the same blind where Basket was pictured above and in the same vicinity where he was seen earlier this season. I wonder...

With ice in his veins, cousin Phillip is a cold blooded killer! A great shot dropped him where he stood. RIP Ol’ Basket.



A productive Friday night ended with a few slabs of pork ribs, a couple dozen grilled quail thighs/legs, and some smoked pork belly. A few more beers and off to bed in preparation for what turned out to be an equally productive Saturday.




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Last edited by BlackHogDown; 12-02-2019 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:22 AM   #2
BlackHogDown
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Default Duval Bucks Down - Long read/pic heavy

SATURDAY AM

We had a little trouble getting out the door Saturday AM. I jumped into the same bow stand near the horseshoe, the “North Stand.” Everyone else switched up hunting spots.

It wasn’t long after the 7AM feeding that I heard a shot ring out from the Horseshoe. Cousin Brandon had made a tough, long shot at a young buck. With the deer hit high in the spine, Brandon quickly ran to humanely dispatch the buck. The “trash rack” that I had read about in the group chat turned out to be a VERY cool deer. I reassured Brandon that there was nothing to be upset about. He had shot a deer with a cool rack and despite being hit less than ideally, he dropped where he stood and was dispatched quickly/humanely. Nothing but “Congrats” all around from everybody.



It was then that the group chat blew up. My brother, Kris, reported shooting the “biggest buck I’ve ever seen here.”

We took the drive to the “Windmill” stand to find kris standing where he last saw blood. We probably should have given him some time but he had already been bumped and judging by the amount of blood, he wasn’t going much further. Worst case scenario, we let the Drahthaars out of the truck. Buck was found piled in some brush and dispatched immediately. The Old Warrior was gutted on the spot in order to more easily remove it from the thick brush.





Still, the morning wasn’t over. It was somewhat unclear in the group texts whether or not my step bro John had shot the buck he was looking at. As we approached the “South Pond”, we could see the white belly of an overturned buck 40 yds from the blind. It wasnt his biggest to date but John was beyond excited with his deer. We don’t often see drop tines but this guy tries his best to throw one. Looked more like a turkey spur. The deer also had a cool bladed tine. Almost mule fork looking. Would’ve been neat to see what he did in the next couple years but we were excited for John. Until very recently, he had been located in Midland so he was rarely able to make the 8 hour drive to hunt.





All in all, it was a heck of a Saturday. More deer had been shot than the previous two years total.









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Old 12-02-2019, 10:38 AM   #3
BlackHogDown
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The atmosphere of camp had changed. You could feel the relief in the air... Or maybe it was the celebratory tequila. Either way, I was getting nervous. Lots of deer going down while i hunted a 10 sq yd patch of dirt at a bow stand with little luck. Even the pigs that made an appearance (usually) didn't sit still long enough for a shot. The one that did show up was still squealing as a result of his buddy being shot 50 yds away. No doubt ran from one feeder to the next after the shot.

Since the previous evening (and few weeks prior), I had been talking with Tom about the "Big 8" that had been spotted. Tom and my Uncle Rick had seen him Friday PM after dropping off all the hunters! The big buck ran across the road near the gate to the North side of the property. Near the Horseshoe and North Bow stand where I'd been hunting. They said the buck was running full sprint and misjudged the 4 strand fence. He tumbled onto the other side, regained his feet, and was gone before the dust and hair settled. He hit the fence so hard that he loosened the top strand and left a few clumps of hair behind. Most importantly, it survived the morning slaughter.

These are the kind of deer we are after on our property. Those too smart to make an appearance at the feeder with the yearlings. "Big 8" had been spotted by our ranch hand and Tom several times. Tom hunts whitetail in MO every year. He's killed deer/elk all over so he doesn't get excited about deer down South like he did this one. He said he'd be shooting if he saw him.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:45 AM   #4
Pstraw
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Congratulations men! Very good write up on what appears to have an exciting weekend. Y'all got some real nice bucks.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:47 AM   #5
Rigger85
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getting in tune with mother nature
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:49 AM   #6
Traildust
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That's what huntin's all about!
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:49 AM   #7
BlackHogDown
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I have bowhunted exclusively the last couple years. This past Saturday, though, I got caught up in the celebration. I declined the first but joined in the second round of shots. Nothing too crazy but come hunting time, I didn’t feel comfortable climbing up a tree. Instead, I grabbed my 300 AR and one of the boys to have a sit at the Horseshoe. Immediately, we were covered in deer.

We spotted a pretty, young 8 on the opposite side of the pond. Probably 110 yds out. He sat and ate for a bit while the other 8-10 deer did the same as they worked their way around the corned berm around the pond. As we watched, we noticed the buck had some discoloration to its coat. Not piebald but something going on. It was patchy as if sick or something. Otherwise, it looked healthy though. Dadrian pointed out that there was another buck where the young one had been standing. I blew him off and said “Nah it’s the same deer”.

A few moments went by and I noticed that Patches was now on my side of the pond. I looked up at the other buck 110yds away. As if my vision had improved immediately (didn’t have my glasses) I could now see that the rack Dadrian pointed out was MUCH bigger. I hustled to get into position for a shot before even glassing the deer. This is the one we’ve been after.

Last edited by BlackHogDown; 12-02-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:49 AM   #8
Mexico
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Nicely done men!
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:01 AM   #9
BlackHogDown
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I threw my 4x scope to my eye and had enough time for one big breath. Squeezed the trigger as my lungs emptied and the deer began his retreat into the brush. His rack was already concealed when he performed the tell-tale mule kick indicating that he was hit GOOD. As if I willed him in my direction, the deer turned towards me and made his way onto the berm where the doe were still feeding. (Rifle is suppressed).

I knew he was hit well but all four legs were in tact and he was still moving pretty well. Instinct told me to send another round his way. He lumbered towards me as I put a second in his chest/neck area. He dropped, face-down, where he stood and gave one last kick before expiring.

Less than 10 secs from when the deer was spotted (by me), he was dead in sight. Dadrian was literally jumping with excitement. Not gonna lie, I was right there with him. My biggest deer to date. By far.

Upon his arrival, Tom was elated for me. Repeated how awesome of a deer it was. Huge bodied (for down there), tall tines, brows, age, etc. Had it all. Everybody was on cloud nine. What a weekend! Then it was back to camp for the dinner that was waiting. Cochon du Lait






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Last edited by BlackHogDown; 12-02-2019 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:08 AM   #10
BlackHogDown
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Proof that projectile placement is more important than selection. I was shooting Sig Match Grade ammo. 125gr with Sierra Match King projectile. On a sled, the gun clovers this ammo at 100 yds.

Turns out first shot would’ve sufficed. Double lunged the heck out of the big guy. Second shot through the base of the neck (facing me) turned the lights out though. Also, the "Big 8" we had been seeing was a "Big 10" with some pretty good brows.











I see deer like this on here or on nearby ranches and never thought i'd shoot one. I don't hunt outfitters or other states with big deer. We're limited to a natural forage, LF, heavily poached property in STX. We don't use cameras. I don't even know how to score a deer because I've never needed to LOL I typically just use age as an indicator of shootability. As such, i didn't even think to take measurements. Not even spread. Oops. While everyone else dropped deer off at the processor, mine is sitting in a neighbor and good friend's walk-in. I'll be back in a couple weeks to skin and quarter. I'm going to take the deer to TexanTaxi for a euro as i was really pleased with the hog he did for me last year.

I’m very fortunate to be able to hunt like this. I’m not going to get all cheesy but we’ll be talking about this weekend for a long time. Everyone is already looking forward to next year.

Last edited by BlackHogDown; 12-02-2019 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:19 AM   #11
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Forgot to mention... The rut starts in a couple weeks. Always the week after Christmas. While I didn't see any running, this guys neck was all swolled up. Maybe he was just big bodied. Not experienced with large deer. Anyways, thanks for reading.

Tim
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:19 AM   #12
BlackHogDown
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... double post...
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:49 AM   #13
Deuce16
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Great pics and great write up, and a heck of time for all involved. But..... I think your Basket Buck is still out there and alive. The buck in the crosshairs does not look like the next buck below pictured, maybe i misunderstood the time line there.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:52 AM   #14
BlackHogDown
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Originally Posted by Deuce16 View Post
Great pics and great write up, and a heck of time for all involved. But..... I think your Basket Buck is still out there and alive. The buck in the crosshairs does not look like the next buck below pictured, maybe i misunderstood the time line there.
You know... I just assumed based on shape but now that I'm able to look at pics on a larger screen, I think you're right. One would think he'd be a little bigger/taller by now.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:19 PM   #15
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Great buck down for you.
I see most of these guy's weekends to be pigs and does only to make sure those inexperienced aren't taking bucks that might turn into something better the next years.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:28 PM   #16
lovemylegacy
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Dang! Yall slaying them deer.
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:11 PM   #17
BlackHogDown
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Originally Posted by No-Tox View Post
Great buck down for you.
I see most of these guy's weekends to be pigs and does only to make sure those inexperienced aren't taking bucks that might turn into something better the next years.
Hey, I hear you. I think. BUT... If i had a single chance to hunt every year, I'd be a LOT less selective. Nothing but happy for everybody.

A single doe was killed last year. That's it. The year before, only 4 or 5 deer total. There are plenty to go around. We had a great time getting these guys onto deer. Every hunter passed on smaller deer before shooting theirs. Happy for everyone.

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Old 12-02-2019, 01:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackHogDown View Post
Hey, I hear you. Believe me. If i had a single chance to hunt every year, I'd be a LOT less selective. Nothing but happy for everybody.
The smiles say it all and it is your place to set the rules.
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:17 PM   #19
BlackHogDown
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The smiles say it all and it is your place to set the rules.
Amen to that. If Dad isn't upset, neither am i. His place. His rules.
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:24 PM   #20
Pstraw
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Really like the ten that you were able to get. Congratulations! Glad y'all had a great weekend.
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:10 PM   #21
TxSon1836
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heck of a write up and sounds like an even better weekend! congrats on the great deer for sure made memories for them that will last a lifetime
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:41 PM   #22
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Nice deer congrats!!!
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:58 PM   #23
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Congrats!!!
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:01 PM   #24
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wow congrats to all
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:13 AM   #25
fish4food
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Congrats sir!!! To you and everyone at camp. Sounds like a hell of a time.
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:19 AM   #26
OS_BRANDON
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Awesome man. Hopefully I can get me one down at my property soon.


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Old 12-03-2019, 06:16 AM   #27
Tomkat70
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Congratulations on all of your success.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:52 AM   #28
BlackHogDown
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OS_BRANDON View Post
Awesome man. Hopefully I can get me one down at my property soon.
It's gettin' to be that time of year. I'll give you a shout next time we're down that way.
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