I saw this buck occasionally over the last few fall months in 2012, but could never get him on the trail cameras to get a real good look at him. I did get a quick look at him on one occasion but he didn't stay around long enough for me to get a shot. I had seen and rattled in a few other deer but he was definitely the stud of the area.
The rut was in full swing here in Wyoming as I tried rattling and calling but could not get this guy to come in. So with the season winding down I had to do something drastic, and decided to pull out all the stops. I knew the buck was in the area chasing does and thought I would try a drag with some doe in heat. I put the urine on a cloth and drug it around my property hoping to get his attention. I started the drag early afternoon and after completing the drag I hung the rag in a tree about 3 to 3 ½ feet off the ground.
I got up well before daylight and before the wind started blowing. I began calling and rattling hoping he would hear the doe in estrus calls, as well as, a buck call that would make him mad enough to come investigate. Just about 20 minutes after sunrise I caught a glimpse of movement through some willows. I could see a deer and knew it had to be a buck because of his body size. Then I saw two other deer running on the opposite ridge. The two "runners" were a 2 ½-year-old 9-pointer and a 3 ½-year-old 10-pointer. The 3-½ year old had obviously caught scent and was on a mission to find the doe. I knew the 10-pointer was not the mature deer I was after but hoped he would cause enough excitement to bring in the mature deer I was after. The movement in the willows stopped and I couldn't see any antlers but again I knew it had to be a buck just by the body size. I also had an idea that he was mature deer because the immature 9- and 10-pointer stayed on the ridge and kept looking down into the willows. For reasons I found out later, they did not want to go into the bottom and look for the doe in heat. They were content to stay on the ridge, working it back and forth.
After what seemed like forever the "willow" deer came out and it was the heavy 8-pointer I was after. He began to walk down in the draw back and forth licking his lips trying to identify the doe. He stood in the bottom and walked around for several minutes never giving me a clear shot. I figured I was in good shape because he had no idea I was around, so I waited patiently until he gave me a clear shot.
It was quite the show with the 9- and 10-pointers standing on the hill and big 8 in bottom. On a couple occasions the 10-pointer creeped down the hill a little bit but never made it too far. On each attempt the big 8 would lower his ears and began to walk stiff legged towards the 10-pointer, which was a lesson the 10-pointer had already been taught, so he’d turn and run back up on the side of the ridge.
After a great display of rutting behavior and thinking to myself that I could watch them all day I noticed another deer running towards the bottom of the draw. It was a doe with a 1 1/2 year old 6-pointer chasing her. Now the big 8 didn't like that idea and put a stop to the 6-pointer chasing the doe. This put my shot on fast-forward as the big 8 had now found a doe in heat and didn't have to look for a doe anymore. The doe which was obviously out numbered, decided she to get out of the area as the big 8 was right on her heels, heading off my property. I was able to give him one last grunt, which stopped him long enough for the Sako A7 Tecomate to settle behind his shoulder and to get one round off which was all I needed. The deer fell where he stood and I had taken the deer I had been after the entire month.
It was a great hunt taking a deer on my very own (small) place. He is a tremendous buck especially for this area and I'm very pleased. Of course the girls heard the shot and were eager to help "dad" go retrieve the deer. I'm very thankful I have a couple of daughters who are going to be hunters and that I could share some of the experience with them! When we got to the deer he was even a little heavier than I thought and I'm guessing he was 5 1/2 years old.
Thank God for letting me take one of his creations, which was a great deer, and for being able to share the experience with the family!
Kroeger Country Outfitters
• Jadee Kroeger
• Phone: (307) 277-1118
About Tecomate Wildlife Systems
How it began...A revolutionary new management strategy...
What was started back in 1993 helped open an exciting new chapter in whitetail management history. Lead by Tecomate, food-plot-based nutritional management was introduced to an eager market and soon the whitetail management scene was literally revolutionized. Managers were introduced to an entirely new strategy that allowed them to take control of management on their property and greatly increase the size and number of their deer in ways never before possible.