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A Hunter’s Diary: or how he lost the big one!

By Jerry Dodd
Special to The Journal

It had rained overnight, so it was pretty wet morning with 10-20 M.P.H. winds blowing out of the north.
A lot of people think that deer don’t move on days like this, but I know otherwise. I’ve hunted in a lot of bad weather and have killed most of my big bucks on days like this, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., the hours most people take a break!
This morning would be no different. I approached the alfalfa field that I hunt just off of and as I did I took a good look around making sure not to spook anything. It wasn’t quite sun up yet, so I was able to make it to my stand without bothering the one doe that was feeding in the field.
My stand sits 30 yards off the field on top of a hill loaded with oaks. I sat for three hours in the high winds not seeing anything. I had thoughts of leaving, but could not help but remember all the good hunts I’ve had on days like this, so I decided to hang in there.
Five minutes later I noticed a decent buck quartering away from me at the bottom of the hill approximately 100 yards away in a thicket. I rushed to grab my doe bleat, made three bleats, and the buck stopped and looked my way. A split second later he was headed right to me.
He came within twenty yards before turning and starting to quarter away, I took aim at 20 yards, fired my 20-year-old crossbow and watched the buck kick and run off like he was hit hard. I waited fifteen minutes, got out of my stand, found a good trail and fifty yards from where I shot him there lay a decent 8 point buck with 17” wide antlers and 8 inch tines. Status: A pretty good “bad weather” day for sure.
I decided to take a two-hour lunch to eat and check the deer before hanging it and skinning it. I was back in the woods by 2:30 when I decided to hunt my other stand 200 yards away. An hour later a doe and a yearling fed their way through the brush to me. I expected to see a buck trailing this time of year but an hour and a half later there was no sign of anything else.
At 5:45, near the end of the day I look to my right and saw a monster buck with eight points that was much bigger than the first one I had taken earlier. He was on the move and trailing the doe that had passed earlier. It happened so fast that I blew the shot at twenty yards away.
The shot was similar to the one I had made earlier that morning. I thought the shot was further out and therefore used my 40-yard pin. The shot went four inches over his back. He ran twenty yards, stopped and looked around and grazed out of sight. I was heart broken but it was I that choked the shot. I should have marked distances from my stand prior to hunting it. Lesson learned on that score!
Not marking those distances cost me a buck with twenty plus inches and ten-inch tines with six to eight inch brow tines. Remember to do those little things before the season that might cost you a big buck.
This story was told by Jerry Dodd. We are pleased to type it up and share it with readers. He passes along a good lesson. Mark Fike

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