dosse  wrote:    Kicker Ten Down

This morning was hot, muggy and apparantly just the right day to catch the kicker ten on his feet. This buck has been the emphasis of by far the majority of my hunts this season since October 1st. He showed up on camera while i was gone to montana in september and i fell in love with his giant g4s as well as the cool kickers coming off his g2s and one g3. I put him on the top of my hit list as he was a definite pope and young and a very cool buck. I initially thought he was a monster three year old but recognized him as a deer i encountered bow hunting the year before and knew he had to be the same buck.

Well this year i got my girlfriend into shooting a bow and she expressed that she was very interested in trying to bowhunt. She was coming into this as not only her first year to bowhunt but her first year to hunt in general. She had never taken a deer but really wanted to get a buck with her bow. That said i had a bean field left standing on the back of our place that was really getting pounded in early bowseason. I knew it was a great place for lauren to see deer and maybe even kill one so this stand eventually became laurens stand. She hunted it a few times and always saw deer but she wouldnt shoot a doe with fawns and the bucks were always out of range. So one day i decided to hunt with her and video and right at dark we see the kicker 10 for the first time. He stayed at 100 yards eating beans until it got dark but i knew now that we were on him. Around 2 weeks later lauren headed back to the beans, with a cold front coming in we expected it to be a good hunt. Just before dark she text me and said a buck was coming in and she was about to get a shot. She had full go ahead on any buck as i wanted her to get her first deer sooooo bad. As i climb down she calls me saying i shot one and its a big 10 point!! I Immediately knew it had to be kicker ten. We waited til the next morning and I found the arrow and some blood. I trailed him on specks with my bro in law for 3-400 yards and it eventually just played out. I was sick both for lauren and for the deer. With that a three week period of no pics of the kicker ten began. I then knew for certain she had shot him and that he was probably dead somewhere never to be seen again. After the third week i checked my camera and couldnt believe my eyes, there he was and i was pretty sure i could see the hole where she shot him high in the back. He had SURVIVED!!

I immediately got back on him and last week went in bowhunting him and he crossed the field with me while i was walking to my stand. i eased in the woods with him and watched him walk off at a mere 80 yards. I decided that day i wanted him and it was time to break out the gun that way if i saw him again i could make the decision and kill him if he looked as good as i thought. Yesterday i tried the tripod on the property that covers the field he crossed the week before and a pipeline to the east and west through big timber. I saw a few deer and killed a coyote. I also checked a camera and was discouraged to not have any pics of kicker ten. I returned this morning and as i rounded the corner into the field i saw a deer at about 400 yards in front of my tripod working a scrape. It was just getting light but i could see his frame and i just knew it was him. The wind was blowing straight to him and after glassing him maybe a minute he began staring at me. Even though it was still pretty dark i knew he had smelled and seen me. He spooked, but only at a fast walk into the big timber. I hauled it to the tripod climbed up and just knew it was over. 20 minutes later he stepped into the pipeline headed back into a thicket where they always bed and where i had been bowhunting him. It took all of a glimpse through the binoculars and i immediately saw the big g4s and got the gun up and on him as fast as i could. I put him on it and squeezed off the shot. He reared up on his hind legs and his shoulder hung limp. I knew i had him. After waiting 20 minutes i eased down to the scene and found a little blood and then to my horror, bone. I thought oh no please tell me i didnt leg shoot this buck!! I took up the blood trail very very slowly scanning ahead to try and see him bedded expecting the worst. After 50 yards i rounded a tree and about jumped out of my skin. There he was 5 feet from me stone dead. I was so intent on the blood trail i almost stepped on him. The 35 whelan took him low through the front shoulder and exitted low 3-4 inches behind the offside shoulder. I at first thought he wasnt as good as the trail cam pics looked, but then i put a tape on him. WIth the 3 kickers adding just under 5 inches to his gross he hit 140 4/8! and is only 14 inches wide. I still wish laurens arrow had taken him out but i would be lying if i told you i wasnt happy to be sitting behind him!