Thanks everyone! Needless to say I was pretty damn excited to get my hands on it!
To make a long story even longer... I have seen this buck for a number of years. I estimate him to be a 5 year old and as you can see I have pictures from the 2021, 2020, and 2019 of him. Last year this deer was extremely photogenic. He was all over my cameras however I don’t recall ever seeing him while on stand. He just seemed to be very good at avoiding me but apparently loved to get his picture taken. Fast forward to September 2021.... I was doing a preseason check on an existing set (trimming shooting lanes, checking straps, etc.) and then venture off to hang a camera after gaging the deer sign. I ended up about 75-100 yards from that set and found a ton of fresh sign. While there seemed to be a lot of sign around the other set, It just seemed like this area was the cross roads and a major intersection of runs from every direction. So, the search for a suitable tree began. I found a tree on the east side of where I thought the majority of activity was and hung a stand and a camera.
On the afternoon of the hunt the weather was perfect, and I had planned to hunt a different set. When I was walking in I didn’t like the wind. It was forecasted as NW but for some reason there it seemed to be W or even SW. As I am wind checking I notice that the wind is actually swirling (which it tends to do in the spot) and considered pulling the plug on the hunt all together. I called an audible decided to switch sets and wind checked it once I was there. Westerly... perfect.
About 4:00 or so, the does and fawns began to flood the field and by 6:00 I had eyes on 18. Not a rack to be seen. Then about 610ish I had a young buck trot down the head row and almost give me a heart attack. First rack of the year tends to do that to me. He got to the base of my tree, winded me, and stopped in his tracks. He seemed more curious then at full alert. And then it happened... I hear something walking the same path that the small buck just came down and it’s this stud. Problem is because of all the leaves on the trees I don’t notice him until he is under 30 yards from me. I try to grab my bow off the hanger and clip my release on without spooking the small buck but he spots me in the tree and takes off. And of course now the big buck is alert. Luckily when the little buck took off running he bumped a few does closer to my stand. The big buck sees that and he lets his guard down. I’m guessing he’s thinking that this young buck is just bumping does. He continues walking towards me. He’s moving from my right to left so I’m trying to plan out my shot. He ends up down wind and stops in his tracks. With a few deer directly in front of him he seemed at ease and continued walking. He changed direction slightly and now is quartering away from me. Perfect opportunity for a shot. I drew and shot. 20 yard shot. Quartering away. My shot ended up high and shot was not a pass through. Lumenock was blazing and the shot looked perfect. Buck ran about 75 yards, stumbled, and dropped. The field is about waist high so there was no way I could see him. I waited until dark to leave the stand because I had to walk out in that direction. Even though I was extremely confident that the deer was dead, I still gave him a couple hours to make sure. It was a long two and half hours!!! Went back with a buddy and was happy to find the buck dead right where I saw him drop.
My best buck to date and extremely happy to get it done with the bow! Nice to have some history with him!