2016 Opening Day Buck

Bottoms and is mainly open ground for cutting hay. After the purchase of the property I threw up some feeders and cameras to see if by chance I had any deer crossing our place. After a few weeks I began to get photos of several bucks and some were very impressive. As time passed by I continued to get more and more photos.

Once I saw that I had some very good deer on our property, I put in a few food plots. One small plot came in really good and the larger plot did not make. As time moved on I stopped getting photos of any deer at all. I hunted hard but never saw a single deer.

Fast forward to 2015. In January I started to get photos of deer again and a few decent bucks. As summer arrived I was getting photos of bucks every day. By the end of August, the deer activity had all but stopped. I was getting very few photos of deer at night but no shooter bucks. Food plots went in the ground in September, but I did not get any rain so none of them came up. Another season of hunting and not seeing a single deer during the season.

2016 arrived and the deer began to show up at the feeders again. Now I have been running feed for three seasons, year round. As the deer started to grow their horns I quickly noticed that I had several shooters that were hitting the feed every day. September arrived and I put 2 acres of food plots in the ground the last weekend of September and the following day we got rain and the food plots began to grow.

Now as you are reading along, you may think this sounds similar to the last two years and you are right. It does sound similar to the previous years with one major exception. I began getting regular photos of does and bucks hitting one of the food plots every few days. I even had a few of the shooters from the summer showing up every 7 days or so in the food plot.

Opening day of archery season came and went. With our property being 10 miles from my house I was able to hunt every weekend. Every time I hunted I would see does and yearlings but no shooters. Even though I never saw a shooter while on stand, I would still occasionally get photos of one of the bucks on my hit list right before day light or just after sunset. Knowing the bucks were still there I was able to maintain my motivation to get up and go hunt every weekend.

The opening day of the Texas general season arrived. I was not going to be able to hunt the entire weekend due to a work trip on Sunday, the weather was bad and I was tired so I decided to leave my bow at home and just take my rifle to the stand. This was a rifle I specifically built to use hunting our property. Since most of our place was open I wanted a light weight rifle that I could carry with me while I was bow hunting in the general season if I so desired. The rifle is a Colt 12” SBR chambered in 6.8 SPC with a Thunderbeast can topped off with a Steiner 1-4×24 M optic. The rifle was zeroed with Hornady 120 grain SST ammunition.

I got in the stand well before daylight, had the camera set up and was ready to see a monster river bottom deer appear in my food plot. Daylight came as well as the rain, but nothing was moving. I had had enough of sitting in the stand and not seeing anything so at about 0920, I decided it was time to pack up and head back to the UTV and call it a morning.

I gathered up all of my gear and got out of my elevated box blind and began the short walk to the UTV. I had my rifle in my right hand and I was texting my wife with a voice app in my left hand. I walked out of the timber onto the mowed right of way and looked up. As I looked up I saw a buck standing about 60 yards away from me staring in my direction. He had dark heavy horns that went way outside of his ears. I stopped and we locked eyes for what seemed like a minute or more but I am sure it was only a few seconds. He turned and started trotting straight away from me flagging his tail. It took me a second or two to remember that I had a rifle and not a bow (for the last 15 years I have only bow hunted whitetail). Once it hit me that I was holding a rifle I quickly shouldered the rifle and found the buck in my Steiner optic. As the buck was trotting I placed the dot of the optic right above the base of the buck’s tail and squeezed the trigger. The buck immediately rolled forward and hit the ground. He was down! The monster of a buck was down! I quickly approached the buck and I could not believe what I saw. Everyone has experienced ground shrinkage when approaching a buck but that was not the case with this buck. I had just killed a beast of a buck. As I grabbed the horns I began to count. He was a 12 point that I had guessed would be in the 160’s. I called my wife and told her I was standing over a monster buck. She said she was on her way. My wife and daughter arrived after about 30 minutes and we began taking photos.
After the photo session we loaded the buck in the UTV and headed home. Once the meat was taken care of I got the tape measure out and began to score the buck. As I began to add up the measurements I could not believe what the results were. The buck taped out to be 172 4/8 BC Gross, my largest buck to date. This truly is a buck of a life time and I am very thank full to be blessed with this majestic animal! All of the work and seat time in the stand finally paid off. This was one heck of a way to break my 15 year time line of hunting whitetail only with archery equipment.

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