Oldie but a Goodie

While inventorying my pile of rotting skulls waiting for their Jacuzzi treatment I realized I forgot to share with you the old timer I ambushed this past hunting season. I was back in South Dakota hunting a property I manage with several other hunters. Our goal is to shoot mature deer and let anything 3 1/2 years or younger walk. One of the bucks that had been walking wasn't by choice. He was being as slippery as a socket wrench that accidentally fell into a pan of waste oil.

I first set my eyes on the buck three seasons ago. I suspect he was at least 4 ½ years old by the brawn of his frame and the bulk of his front shoulders. He sported a decent rack, but his main downfall was the fact that he only had three points on his left side. His right side sported four.

Although I got a good look at him, it was through a spotting scope and that was as close as I could get. I never saw him in shooting range and it was a good thing. I shot a bruiser buck at the end of the season and had I filled my tag on the 3x4 I would have been out of the game.

In 2009 I figured he'd be bigger and trail camera photos proved he had survived and gained mass. Nevertheless, he was still a 3x4. I scouted the property and spotted him a couple days before season. When season opened I hunted hard for a bigger buck, but after several days I decided to go after the 3x4 instead of settling for a younger buck with potential.

Guess what?

He gave me the slip again.

I looked in every nook and cranny of the property hoping to catch him in an embarrassing moment of weakness with a doe, but to no avail. I ended up shooting a crazy-looking 6x7, but I would have been happy with the old timer.

Last season I decided again to target the 3x4. He was already showing up on my friend's trail camera and surprisingly, in the same place as always. Instead of hunting all over the property I camped on his home territory and set up watching a pinch point between two large sections of bedding cover.

On day four of the season the old timer couldn't help himself.

A doe walked from the cover and began browsing in an opening. Minutes later the brawny buck followed. My Nikon EDG binocular (www.nikonhunting.com) confirmed it was the 3x4, but he was nearly 300 yards away and busy doing laps around the doe. Finally he stopped to rub a willow tree and I sent a Hornady GMX (www.hornady.com) bullet on its way.

I found him a short time later and was truly pleased with the results. Not only did he sport a heavy frame with long, polished points, he had the body and look of a senior citizen buck. How old was he? I'm not sure, but I estimated him at 6 ½ or older based on tooth wear and how many years we'd been seeing him.

It really didn't matter though. He was a mature deer that gave me the slip for several seasons and finally getting to put my tag on him was a privilege.