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Missouri: Monster Mass Bow Buck!

Today’s blog is from Jacob “Dirty” Goodwin from Arkansas, who has hung with me on the blog for 7 years, from Day 1 when I started it. Thanks man for your support:

MO velvet 1Mike: Jamie Graves and I met here on the Big Deer Blog 7 years ago. We became great friends and hunting partners. I’ve killed a lot of game with him over the years, and have introduced a lot of my friends and family from back home to Jamie’s great hunting area in beautiful northern Missouri.

This year on our trip up there, in the early bow season, luck struck for a gentleman named Stacy Barron, a dear friend of mine. On the first sit of our hunt he arrowed an absolute giant! The deer was in full velvet and was 18 inches wide and had 8-inch bases! I asked Stacy to compose a short story about the hunt, and here’s what he came up with. –-Thanks “Dirty”

Growing up, hunting and fishing were my most important pastimes, but recently marriage, kids and work have gotten in the way. Especially since my job is super busy in October, and I work 80 hours a week. Good friend Jacob Goodwin has a deer processing business that obviously gets crazy this time of year, so he has a similar problem.

One time we were discussing our hunting dilemma, and he informed me that bow season opened September 15 in Missouri.  So we could go on a big deer hunt before we both got busy. Jacob had been hunting with Jamie before in northern Missouri, and he said that the hunting was incredible, with lots of deer sightings and big bucks. So 3 years ago I bought a Mathews bow and started practicing.

On our first trip to Missouri, we got there a couple of days early to scout, and then just set up where Jacob had hunted before. The first day I saw 2 does, and the second day 1. It was nothing like I had been told, but Jacobs’s previous trip was a gun hunt during the rut. We found out that September bowhunting is completely different.

This year we decided to do things differently. We made a trip up 2 weeks early to scout, and we put out 8 trail cams.

MO velvet 4

We returned to Missouri on the 14th.  Our first camera had some small bucks on it, so that was a little encouraging. But cameras 2-6 had few to no deer on them in daylight, so that was discouraging. One camera had a 160 buck on it twice, but only at night.

The cameras worked for us by eliminating a lot of places with fresh sign that I would have liked to have tried, but since any activity in those areas was only at night, I would probably have been wasting my time.

The eighth camera was in a creek bottom on a heavily traveled trail where Jamie says deer come to a nearby field every evening. Since we didn’t have any bucks moving in daylight on the other cameras, I decided to hunt the creek bottom without even checking the 8th camera so I wouldn’t disturb the area with scent and noise. I knew there were deer there, I just didn’t know what size.

I carried a climber in about 2 o’clock, hoping that the deer were still bedded down, and set up by the trail.  At 6 p.m. a doe and a small buck came by. The doe browsed leaves and the buck rubbed every bush it came to.

MO velvet 3At 7, I heard a buck grunt several times behind me, but I never saw anything.  At 7:22 I saw a huge deer move straight in front of me, about 20 yards in a thicket.  Then I saw the horns… It was the biggest deer I have ever seen, and the excitement began.

At 7:25, with less than 5 minutes of shooting light left, he came out right in front of me.  I had already drawn my bow; it was a good thing because he looked straight up at me. I guess I was so excited and shaking so badly that I was causing the tree to shake and he saw me! I released the arrow and made a poor shot, hitting him in the middle of the back. But even though it wasn’t a pass thru the Rage broadhead made a huge entry hole and left a blood trail easy enough to follow.  Turned out he only went 70-80 yards and piled up.

It was the deer of a lifetime, in velvet, with thick, heavy bases. A dream come true for me, and all I can say is, “PRAISE THE LORD.”–Stacey

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Minimal EHD for Deer Herds in 2014

sd ehd 1

The QDMA reports that hemorrhagic disease, including EHD and bluetongue virus, will have minimal impacts on whitetail herds this year. Small, scattered cases of EHD have been reported in Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Jersey, but with frosts and colder weather coming on, no major outbreaks will occur in 2014.

This is what the deer herds across America needed, especially after the record 2012 EHD outbreak. That, followed by a couple of brutal winters, killed thousands of deer in many states.

Ironically, while the hard winter of 2013 was tough on deer in the North, it likely helped herds nationwide by reducing the populations of midges that bite deer and transmit the EHD virus.

Minimal EHD is fantastic, but I hear predictions that the winter of 2014-15 might actually be colder and snowier than last winter’s brutality. I hope not, but if so that will make it tough on hunters and deer alike.

Kentucky: Giant Velvet Archery Buck, 175”

Ky velvet 2Today’s fine guest blog is from Kentucky bowhunter Jeff Fogle, who hunted the Crabclaw Buck for 4 long years:

Mike: I first saw him 4 years ago in the summer of 2010. He was 4 years old then and already completely nocturnal. I attempted to hunt him a few times, but never saw him.

In 2012 I studied aerial maps hard to try and find where he was bedding. I had a gut feeling about a particular ridge top that I had never hunted, so in late October that year I hung a stand and hunted it. I saw him on Halloween and again on Nov. 1st, but he slipped by me both times.

These were the only 2 times while hunting that I had ever seen this buck, but I had more than 3,000 trail cam pics of him. He was an old ghost! And I became obsessed with him.

This past summer I completely dedicated every waking moment to killing the Crabclaw Buck. Based on trail cam pics I had determined he was living in a 30-acre section on top of the ridge directly behind my house. I planted a food plot behind my pasture in the woods, hoping that as he transitioned from summer to fall patterns, he would stick around long enough for me to have an encounter with him.

One week prior to the bow opener in Kentucky I stopped getting pics of Crabclaw. I was heartbroken. I hunted opening afternoon at my food plot and saw nothing. I thought about totally giving up on him again this year, but something told me to stick with it.

A cold front had come thru that weekend, dropping temps 15 degrees. Just what the doctor ordered. At 7:25 pm on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 7th, he appeared thru the woods coming directly at me. I waited for him to enter the field, drew back and released an arrow as he quartered away at 20 yards. He ran into a nearby hay field.

KY velvet 2014 1I gave him a couple hours before I went to look because I was worried about the shot being too far back. But the hit turned out to be good, and the rest is history. Four years, 3,000 plus trail cam pics and countless sleepless nights studying deer habits and game planning had all come to fruition. What a rewarding feeling!

The Crabclaw Buck had 17 points and scored 175 5/8”…full velvet…270 pounds live weight…an 8-year-old ghost! He was my first buck with a bow after 10 years of trying. Finally I had sealed the deal!

I could write a full book detailing exactly all that I went thru to kill this dude and how crazy the hunt for him has been the last 4 years, but I don’t think there’s enough space on any blog for all that, haha. I’ve already got my eye on some net Booners for next year that I’ve been watching grow. I can’t wait to hopefully share more stories. Hope you and all the BIG DEER Bloggers have the best season ever. Stay safe out there. Thanks for following my journey with the Crabclaw Buck.–Best wishes, Jeff Fogle

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