Hey guys, great news! In 2014 Small Acre Hunting is going through a tremendous amount of change. A new website domain and design will be launched in an effort to bring everything I know and do on my properties to everyone who desires to learn along the way!
Many added features and ideas on in the works, so stay tuned!!!
Also just wanted to share something. Many people have asked me why do you believe in Monsterraxx Supplements....well they say pictures are worth a thousand words. Check out this post on bowhunting.com HERE and you'll see tons of pictures (Tom keeps posting more so check back from time to time!).
*My father's buck story coming soon!
Monday, November 18, 2013
The West Island Buck
Pretty shortly after I started documenting and sharing my experiences and "knowledge" here at Small Acre Hunting I got to know a I guy I know as Goose. Seriously I know his name but I always refer to him as Goose...phone even has him in as such. Anyways Goose is a fellow Hoosier and was getting into bowhunting quite heavily and was hoping 2013 would be the year he finally would connect on a buck!
Well....I will let his own words share the story. (taken from a thread he created on a forum we both subscribe to *with permission of course)
Today was a roller coaster of emotions. (11-3-2013)
I wound up sleeping in yesterday and hunting at my grandma's in the afternoon, but saw nothing. I checked my trail cam and saw that I missed a chance at some does in the morning. My season had been very slow, so that only added to the frustration. I decided that I'd wake up and get over there this morning no matter what. I was a few minutes late getting over there, but still got in the stand before sunrise. I kept looking to my south looking for the does, but didn't see anything. A little before 8:00 I caught movement to my left (north) I saw it was a deer and then I saw antlers.
He was making his way right to me with his nose to the ground. I tried not to look at his rack to maintain my nerves. I was able to get to my feet and grab my bow when he was about thirty yards out. I thought he might go behind me, but he took a path that put him about ten yards pretty much in front of me. I waited for him to stop, settled the pin and let the arrow fly. He took off hauling balls for about fifty yards and then stopped.
I was watching, hoping he'd drop, but he never did.
I watched him for around ten minutes before he went behind some trees and I couldn't see him any longer. I heard some leaves rustle and thought that was him going down.
I stayed in the stand for about thirty minutes before I climbed down to check the arrow. I could see from the stand that it was covered in blood, so I was feeling pretty good. I climbed down and picked up the arrow. It was dark, red blood and didn't smell of guts, so again, I was feeling good about it. It looked like I hit him a little far back, so I figured it was a liver shot and that he'd need a couple hours to expire.
I want to interject into the story here for a moment. The last sentence above this paragraph is CRUCIAL as this is one of the time Goose makes the proper call in not pursuing this buck right away. I shared many texts with Goose and for being the first buck he was very composed and smart about it. While waiting on stand to get down he texted me details of the shot and such and I gave my opinion as to what to look for on the arrow and such. The dude hit a homerun though, by trusting his gut that it was farther back then he'd wanted and despite not smelling guts backed out.
I walked up to my grandma's house and she fixed me breakfast. I called my father-in-law to help me track and called the neighbors to make sure I could retrieve the deer.
About 10:00 my f-i-l showed up and we made our way to the woods. There was drops of blood and white hair at the shot location. We followed the blood to where I saw him stop and look around. We had consistent blood and a decent puddle where he stopped. He turned at that point, but we didn't find anymore blood.
We started to continue on when he blew and jumped up about twenty-five yards in front of us. He didn't bolt off, so we backed out to give him some time. We went back to the in-law's house while we waited. It was a pretty frustrating time, because I was worried about what happened after the buck jumped. It didn't sound like he went far, but we didn't press him.
Gonna interject again. Goose is nailing this one to perfection, he'd waited nearly two hours before first tracking, now upon jumping him he immediately backed out. He relayed to me that the buck appeared to move begrudgingly and I knew if it'd let them get that close and didn't flag when jumped that buck was gonna bed down asap and die. So Goose was a genius yet again and decided to give him 5-6 hours, because if he died with minutes he would still be dead when he came back. *Also noticed how when he could he brought in more eyes to assist in the track job, I've noticed the other set of eyes sometimes see more because they're not so amped up as the hunter typically is.
We made it back to my grandma's around 4:00 to take up the track again. My f-i-l's buddy was along for another set of eyes. We picked up some drops of blood close to where we jumped him earlier. We followed blood while my f-i-l scanned the woods with his binoculars. He finally told us not to move thinking the buck wasn't down, but he soon realized that he was down for the count.
My grandma suggested riding her mower back into the woods and hauling him out in her lawn cart. It worked like a charm. She was pretty proud of herself for making the suggestion.
He's not the biggest buck, but he's my first buck and I killed him, basically, in my grandma's backyard. The buck is a main frame seven with some kickers on his bases for a total of ten points. I'm pretty sure he's an older deer as well. My f-i-l said he thought he was at least five years old.
I was super pumped at the shot with it being my first shot at a buck. I hit a low spot when we jumped him after two hours.
Then came the ultimate high when I finally saw him on the ground.
As I found him...
A shot from the recovery spot...
Goose did everything right in this hunt. He made a good shot choice, knew he didn't hit exactly where he wanted to and followed sound post-shot patience. CONGRATULATIONS GOOSE! You sir set a fine example of how everyone needs to act post-shot...you push this deer sadly I bet our text conversations wouldn't have ended nearly as good! Thanks for communicating with me the whole day as the story unfolded!
All this happened on about 3acres of woods at Goose's grandma's house....so much for the idea you gotta have tons of acres to have an amazing hunt.
God bless everyone and good luck the rest of the season!
(My pops connected with a buck at our Homestead just this past Saturday...that Small Acre Success story to come!)
*Have a Small Acre Success story? Share it with me and maybe I'll post it up here or on the brand new site I'm hoping to have launched in 2014!! tylanmiller(at)gmail.com
*Have a Small Acre Success story? Share it with me and maybe I'll post it up here or on the brand new site I'm hoping to have launched in 2014!! tylanmiller(at)gmail.com
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
'Kicks' Hits The Ground
So before we get to the end let's start with the beginning. This summer my father and I were on pins and needles just waiting to see what RD, AWD, Houdini, Hobble and more bucks on our properties were going to be in the 2013 season. The first three were already 150+/- inch bucks in 2012 and every single one lived through the hunting season...assuring some possible GIANTS around. Not to mention many young 2 1/2 year olds had gotten the pass in hopes of 2013 being special. Well it wasn't...honestly it was the slowest year for shooter bucks on the numerous cameras running on our 3 small properties.
This was the only buck showing his face regularly at one of the properties. He was a fairly consistent visitor to the Monsterraxx site during the summer. I wasn't sure what he'd grow into but I felt that I'd probably not be able to pass him up should he walk out in front of me come the fall.
Never gave much thought to a nickname for him, but I often referred to him as 'Kicks' in my notes or own thoughts due to his kicker of his right G2...so 'Kicks' it is.
Pretty much all of August, September and up until one pull in October we got nothing of any substantial size on camera pulls anywhere....Rocket Man a buck with growths was it...Kicks was not around it seemed.
Well I would hunt fairly often between October 1st through October 28th and going into that 28th hunt I had yet to see a buck...not even a spike. My father did likewise and actually saw two shooters at one property but never had a shot...outside those two bucks he also wasn't seeing much. So needless to say as 4:30am came on Monday morning of the 28th I had a hard time rolling out...but with the coming New Moon just a touch over a week away (Perigee) as well I knew things could start warming up and I might as well take advantage of having the day off.
I left the house just a touch later than I'd liked...and forgot sd cards for possible cam checks between hunts so had to turn around once....not a good start to the hunt.
I did snap this photo and posted to instagram:
Crisp and cold morning...heading to my office 25ft up in God's creation.
(disclaimer...the stand really puts the hunter at around 27 feet...)
I was heading to an oak stand positioned in a stretch of oaks overlooking a micro food plot which was primarily brassicas. The stand choice was based on the fact it's a minimally invasive stand with great cover and a great travel corridor between night food and potential bedding. The wind for some would be deemed possibly bad for the stand but with rising thermals and only light and variable winds present I trusted my scent control and hunted despite the slight wind possibly blowing towards the night time fields the deer would "most likely" come from.
|Shot of the MicroPlot to my front/left (SW)|
Got up the stand and nearly had frostbite in my fingers which had no gloves on them...BIG MISTAKE. I had to spend time rubbing and blowing my fingers just to be able to nock an arrow. Got headgear on, gloves on (albeit late), new deer call hook hung to my right and rattle bag out in case needed. (that newly hung hook would be HUGE)
All was silent as light crept across the forest floor save for the squirrels waking up. So I decided to do some grunting and light rattling...this was approximately around 8am....shooting light had only been present for 20 minutes or so.
Everything would be silent for the entire first two hours of the hunt.
As 9:30am approached I chalked it up as another hunt of zilch to show for it. I even posted in an online forum to my 2013 forum team members this message:
"Well another sit is looking pretty ugly in the deer category....story of my season. All can change in one minute on one sit though keeping the faith." -tynimiller
Then around 9:45 a dinky little buck (fork horn at best) moved in directly behind me and slipped N of me out of sight.
Relieved I'd finally seen my first buck of the year I decided at 10am I'd get down and check the camera setting right in front of the stand, head back to the truck, warm up and then head back out possibly to a new stand for the afternoon....obviously nothing was really moving this morning.
|Panoramic view from an early October sit in the same stand.|
That's when I saw legs of a deer moving off to my NW slipping south over near another set up we have about 90 yards away....a series of calls to it never did yield anything and it went out of sight. It was just minutes after 10 once this was concluded and I decided what the heck I'll stay till 11 instead.
At about 10:20am another deer in basically the same spot as the last one, slipping S about 80-90 yards away to my NW. Looked slightly larger so I decided to softly bleat at it just to see if buck and toy with it if it was. Soft bleat, it stops moving....puts head down-soft bleat again...it stops and looks my way. Not having binocs up still not sure buck or doe....it turns S slightly and I noticed antlers but looks like something small...I bleat anyways to test calling skills...he turns and starts walking my way. At this point he's probably 70 yards away and I'm looking through woods filled with bare bushes and sapplings....at a bout 50 yards he turns S again-soft bleat-he stops, turns and keeps coming my way again...
At about 50 yards and still coming directly at me I see he's not the fork but appeared to actually be a young decent little buck...not one I'd probably shoot but nice. Well at about 40 yards he turns S and as he does I instinctively without hesitating grab the bow with my left hand and right hand re-grabs the True-Talker hanging there on the freshly hung accessory hook put there just for times like this...I did this all because I caught a glimpse of his one side and it was much bigger than I'd thought. From this moment on I never again glanced at his rack...and to be honest wasn't sure what he was really until the moment I walked up to him...I just knew "enough".
The next seconds seemed like eternity...you see when he turned S at 40 yards he now was walking behind some Oak trees directly in front of me...I could see nothing. I anxiously peered into the poplar trees to the S of the Oaks which is where I suspected he'd pop out of his angle was judged correctly.....nothing......nothing......nothing......LEGS! He is angled to hit the micro plot to my left front right around 25 yards and be perfectly broadside.
I put my release on the string and get ready to draw before he stepped out....wait, he's turning S again...crap. I quickly un-hook release, grab the True-Talker hanging right there ready for this moment like before and turn the call away from him and let out a very soft bleat....let go of True-Talker and hook the release back up as I turn my head back to him just in time to see he's turning on a dime and angling SE now and coming into the micro plot.
This put him quartering to me at about 25 yards when he entered the plot...believe it or not this three shot burst of him is taken just seconds before I would shoot him. During this moment his head turns and looks SE, this is the moment I am drawing....and trying to read his body. If he was going to turn and go N along the two-track trail, which would give me 3 shot openings...or was he going to turn SE, giving me just one shot right at the turn.
|This is when I draw...and wait as he walks to see which path he takes.|
|Double Lunged him and he didn't last long....|
It was a 20 yard shot at most and I knew instantly he wasn't gonna live, it was just a matter of how far would he make it. He spins around and runs back into the woods (Poplars he just walked through)....lots of noise...then I see him wobbling back south right at the end of the micro plot 40 yards away. That's when the drunk wobble happens and he drops...takes one....two...three breaths and then no more.
|Diagram of where he popped out, when I drew, shot and where he died.|
The moments which followed are those which all of us love....disbelief...thankfulness....sadness for the animal....unexplainable joy for the hunter. I quickly texted my father and sat down...thank you God.
40 yards away laid a deer which I knew was big enough but still couldn't really see his rack clearly to know what I had for sure. I wait some time and slip down and out back to the truck...can still remember Tom Lester calling to congratulate me and when he asked, "So, what is he?" I had to say "I don't know yet".
I would head back to the deer for the walk up and it is always special when you put down a buck you've gotten pictures of...I instantly suspected it was 'Kicks' but wasn't 100% at the moment.
I patiently awaited my father who was on his way....all who know me know my hunting relationship with my father is something I cherish more than nearly everything in this world (save for God, spouse and family as a whole)...this picture on the trail camera captured the moment he sees him laying dead just 20 yards off camera:
|Love it and love this man!!!|
And so 'Kicks was down and this Hoosier boy was quite happy about that even if he isn't one of the giants!
"It just takes that 1 minute, on that 1 sit...when you stay that 1 hour longer."
Specs of the Hunt-Date: October 28th, 2013
-Temperatures: At sunrise-30, time of shot-43
-Wind: Light and Variable morning through till shot (ENE if existing though)
-Bow: Mission Venture 63lbs w/28.5 DL
-Broadhead: 125grain Slick Trick Magnum
-Arrow: Gold Tip Pro Hunters (with 50grain inserts up front)
-NAP Quickfletch Quickspins
-Shot Distance/Death: 20 yard shot, died at 40 yards
-Neck Swell Estimation: 60-70% neck swell, wanted the doe I made him think was there.
-Rut?: I would say pre-explosion...scrapes were everywhere but he wasn't rushing anywhere...but like stated was very curious and receptive to the doe bleats.
-Age Estimation: If pressed I'd guess 3 1/2...not over 4 1/2 (may send jaw bone in though)
List of Thank Yous
-Thank you first to God, what an awesome creation He made and I'm simply in love with it in every shape and form. He blessed me with warmth, health, safety and still flowed my cup over more with this buck.
-My Father, I won't attempt to express the love I have for you and the hunting bond we share.
-My Wife, the countless stories you hate to listen to and the hours spent away I know are hard on you....you are amazing!
-Bill Vale, my dear friend, brother and mentor. Your deer knowledge is so vast I pray to keep absorbing more and more of it each and every day. I truly know this buck may not have been possible without your book, your advice and your visiting the property.
-Randy Vanderveen, introducing me to the wonderful site of WAS (Whitetail Ambush Secrets). Love everything about it and what it stands for.
-Tom Lester of Monsterraxx. Your friendship is priceless and your product is amazing!!! 'Kicks' utilized the mineral during the off-season habitually.
-Covert Cameras for simply being amazing.
-Anyone and everyone else which has been in my hunting brethren, love each and everyone of you.