Outdoor Snooper: The Tale of three buck

Nice to see you again. On the walls of my big room, I have four head mounts of buck deer -- three are 8-pointers and the other is a 10-pointer; two of the 8-pointers were shot locally, while the other was taken out of Bradford County. All of the 8-pointers were shot the first day, while the 10 pointer was killed on Nov. 23 at 4:15 p.m.

The buck taken in Bradford County was first seen at 1 p.m. as it walked out of a fog bank. When I shot at the buck I thought it was a big spike (spikes were legal in those days), as it ran down the mountain. The hunter I was talking to took off after the deer, found it, and began yelling, Man, what a buck - a big 8-pointer!

Another hunter who had been trailing the buck in the snow and fog also found the buck. He said his brother would be driving up the woods road with his snowmobile and would take it to their barn, and I could pick it up later, after I climbed the mountain to the cabin.

The second 8-pointer was shot the first day - 1/2 hour into the season. A group of deer came running through the woods -- maybe six or eight. I could see one of them had nice antlers. They ran from my left to right, and for some reason, stopped on the edge of the hill - among the deer stood a high 16 8-pointer. All were looking back from where they came. I laid the .270 rifle on the stand, found the buck in the scope, and fired -- the buck fell in his tracks.

Now my problem was a right knee that was going to be replaced in a month. Behind me and up the hill I hear, then see a friend who had heard me shoot. He had shot a buck with the bow in October, and was in the woods, just observing. He said he would drag the buck out to the woods road and gut it out. I was to walk up the hill and get my truck. By the time I brought the truck back, he had cleaned out the deer. So, both of these buck were shot the first day, and both were buck I had never seen before, and knew nothing about them.

The third buck had more history. I first saw him in mid-summer, about a mile from my house, always in the company of another buck, who was bigger in body and antlers. Most any time when I went into their summer stay, they would come into the feeding field, providing me with many minutes of video footage. In late August the two buddy buck disappeared just before the velvet drop.

In mid-September one morning while watching a feeding field, two four-pointers came into the field and began to chase the doe, one of which was a three-legged, first time mother. I saw this doe after she was shot the previous hunting season. She remained in the area for seven years, having twin fawns each year. My buck watched while his big partner decided to woo the three legged doe. While this little game of love tag was going on, the two four-pointers came down the field and approached my buck in a very aggressive manner.

One of the four-pointers lowered his head and my eight-pointer followed suit. Most buck at this time of the year tap their antlers together in what is called sparring. The twobuck locked antlers, dug in and sent the dirt flying. They pushed against each other up and down the field for 20 seconds or so, in a real knock-down-drag-out fight! When the big buck came back from his amorous foray and tried to join the fight, the four-pointers broke away and ran up the field, with the other one close behind. That was the last time I saw my buck until November.

I was on the barn roof, taking down a ladder when I saw him walking just inside the woods. He was in that rut walk mode; faster than a walk, but slower than a trot, head up highly smelling the air. He was looking for an amorous doe. Now, my place is about is about a mile from where I had seen him fighting with the four-pointer, so he had moved.

When I left the house to take the ladder down, I noticed my picked corn field had a number of doe feeding on the fallen kernels, so I knew where he was headed. I got off the barn roof and ran to the house, grabbed my video camera and tripod, and set up quietly, on the patio.

No sooner was this done then my buck comes out of the woods and into the field. All heads jerk up as the buck moved toward the mother doe and their yearlings. Many of the young deer ran when the buck approached, with his head down, antlers flashing, and emitting long deep grunts. The doe were nervous but they stood their ground as the buck visited each of them. Apparently, none of the doe were in heat, so the buck calmed down and began to feed on the scattered corn.

A doe suddenly appeared from the lower woods and the buck trotted towards her. When he approached her, she did a submissive, little run with her head down, swaying back and forth. She trotted into the woods with the buck close behind.

The first day of rifle season found me in a tree stand on the hillside in back of the barn. As it became light, I could see deer below me, but they were going along the bottom, around the hill and out of sight. I happened to glance up the hill and saw, maybe 90 yards from me, a deer with nice antlers, walking away. If he jumps that log, he is out sight, I thought to myself.

I threw the .270 to my shoulder, looked through the scope, put the cross hairs on his chest, and fired. The buck dropped and began to roll and slide down the rather steep hill, slippery with leaves. Somehow he missed all the rocks, trees and branches, and stopped within 20 yards of my stand. It was the summer-fall buck -- he was dead.

The weather prediction was for showers soon after daylight, and before I could get him dressed out, it rained. Now the buck that gave me so much pleasure when alive, now hangs with two others onmy wall. With all the video that I took, I can still watch him in action while he was alive.

See you next time.