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Great deer Rich, congrats! Stand up move Rev...much respect.
 
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About the above post - been anticipating action at this PLB. While shed hunting this past spring, I found a great rub line in a thick creek bottom. You can see the cluster of maple trees behind the buck… they were all shredded. So I made a PLB set right next to it. I’m not sure if this buck is the culprit to last years sign, but I’m not complaining! Also, hung a tree stand about 13 yards away from the PLB.
 

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Spring of ’21 I had a record year shed hunting. During one of my outings, I came across one of the most impressive rub lines along a thick creek bottom. Within weeks, I set up a treestand and stayed out of the area until September, even then, my only trip in there was to hang a pine licking branch, a rub post, and a trail camera. Late October, he finally arrived.
Plant Natural environment Tree Natural landscape Organism


Plant Nature Green Terrestrial plant Natural landscape

More than anything, I was amazed by the size of the buck’s body. Big swollen neck, large broad shoulders, a deep sagging belly, and a HEAVY 9 point rack. My goal was to kill him with my Samick Sage recurve bow. Perfect access along the creek leading to my hang on stand - 10’ up a buckeye tree, in theory it seemed deadly. Despite many attempts and well over a dozen different bucks visiting the pine licking branch, after pre-rut, he’d abandoned the set up. In fact, Halloween evening was the last time I’d ever receive confirmation that he was alive. I shifted my focus to a different mature buck.

Fast forward to mid gun week. My dad was hunting the farm where the heavy 9 point resided during October. He called me just before the end of legal shooting time, and was excited that he’d just shot at a really nice buck. We searched for blood that night and the following day. Nothing. From that day onward, I’d wondered what buck he shot at, and in the back of my mind I thought perhaps it was the heavy 9.

Gun seasons came and went, I was excited to hunt Ohio’s late bow season. Also, tired, frustrated, and at times, no so optimistic. December 30th I decided to take my recurve out for an evening hunt. I hadn’t hunted the farm since rut and having found several sheds in years past, I knew bucks were attracted to the thick creek bottom during late season. It was a dark cloudy evening, and after an unsuccessful hunt, I spotted several deer in the corn stubble. That gave me hope. A week later, I decided to hunt there again, but along the field edge rather than the thicket. I saw 18 deer that evening and I knew I’d try to hunt it at least once during Ohio’s late muzzleloader season.

Tuesday, January 11th - the final day of late muzzleloader season, I left work at 1pm. By 3pm, I was almost to the spot I wanted to be set up for the afternoon when suddenly, six does slowly trotted away. It was a thick fencerow coming off the thick wooded creek bottom. It was cold, 20*F and a stiff south wind; the wind perfectly in my favor. I figured the doe group had seen me and spooked away, and for a moment, I thought the hunt was over just as it was getting started. Within about 10 minutes, I could hear turkeys yelping inside the woods edge, 60 yards to my south. I knew if there were anymore deer, the sounds of the flock of hens would ease up their unsettling feelings. And then a doe stepped out, then a small buck, followed by a 120” 8 point. I had my scope set on him and was going to shoot, but more and more deer were entering the field, so I lowered my gun. Finally, a heavy 5 point half rack stepped out and in an instant, I recognized him as the heavy 9. It didn’t take long for me to decide I would shoot him. Being and avid shed hunter, I’d gamble my odds of finding his missing antler. 75 yards out, I shot and he dropped! The 240 grain hollow point bullet blew out both lungs and one of his shoulders. When I approached him, I saw that his right side was broke off just a couple inches over his base. I was still certain I had a good chance of finding the lost antler.
Plant Chainsaw Tree People in nature Branch

I called my dad, texted a couple buddies, and then called the landowner to give thanks. He asked which buck I had killed. I told him it was the heavy 9 that I was hunting back in October. Just as I was explaining to him that his right antler was broke off, and with any luck, I’d find it shed hunting; I looked down and in the middle of the corn stubble field and found the missing antler! I was in absolute disbelief!

My dad and I drove back out into the field to retrieve the buck and search a bit more for the brow tine. While searching, I look at dad and said, “Dad, you see that tree leaning on the edge over there? That’s where you were standing when you shot at that big buck during gun season. And wasn’t that buck standing right about where we are right now?!!” Incredible. Here we come to full circle. Dad shot his antler off with the 12 gauge slug during deer gun season. You can still see led tracings on the broken antler. With plenty of trail camera photos, my good friend/taxidermist will be able to repair it.

Fate, must have been fate.
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Smile Head Hunting Deer hunting Vertebrate
 

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Discussion Starter · #315 ·
Just WOW! GREAT story and outcome!! Congrats to you Dillon! I know it was a long tough season for you chasing some GIANTS. Glad you tagged out on a big ole bruiser buck you had history with! Let me know if I can help find the brow tine. My BIG GOOBER labs just may sniff it out as they love antlers.
Awesome picture with the growing family too! :cool:

PINE LICKING BRANCHES ROCK!!!!!! :)
 

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Shaking my head....talk about all the stars lining up....just awesome, congrats!
 
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Fantastic story. Thanks for sharing and a big congradulations!
 
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