I don't think I ever posted this story on here but I finally got a buck I had harvested in 2019 scored for the deer registry. I had planned on having it scored in 2020 but with covid on all that nonsense that when on it never happened then it just got put on the back burner till just recently picked up a project in Morristown so I figured while I was down there one day I would have TWRA score it for me. First I will start with the story of the deer.
I have a place I have been hunting at for about 15 years now and is approx. 200 acres with a mixture of hayfields and wooded ridges. My plan most years is during archery season I only hunt certain areas of the farm and leave certain areas till beginning of November when the rut is kicking in more and keeps the human impact in these areas low and ready for muzzleloader season. I don't remember all that had been going on that year but I know that work had been keeping from being able to hunt much of any that year and had missed the opening weekend of muzzleloader. This was the first weekend I had free to hunt all weekend and remember it being good weather and had decided I was going to hunt a ridge top of hardwoods that has several trails leading into a clear cut area that is used as a bedding area. This area is one of my favorite areas to hunt on the farm and years with a good acorn crop is a hot spot with all the white oaks in the area. I remember it being one of those hunts where I had trouble sleeping the night before just couldn't wait to get into the woods.
I remember getting into the woods way earlier then I normally do just because I was up and couldn't wait any longer. I also wanted to give myself plenty of time to get into my tree and not be sweating like crazy since like most places I hunt I always feel like I am having to walk uphill to get to them. It takes me about 30 min to walk in with taking breaks along the way to not get to hot and also try to not make alot of noise. I think by the time I got all set up in my tree stand I still had an hour before legal shooting light. I was there early but it was also refreshing to just hear the woods come alive. I had not been able to experience it yet that year and it is something I look forward to each year.
It is now about 15 min after shooting light and the woods are starting to come alive with squirrels and birds moving about then off in the distant I can start to hear the distinct crunch of leaves of a deer walking up the ridge toward me. Where I am set up at is a flat spot on the ridge line and I cannot see over the edge due to the steepness of the ridge but I can see all the trails leading to the clear cut thicket. I go ahead and get my muzzleloader ready and am watching the area where I can hear the deer walking. As he appeared over the ridge line I remember thinking oh wow that is the huge 6 I have been seeing the last few years and he is walking directly towards me. I make the decision then I going to shoot him and he has been a big 6 for to long and I have always wanted a large 6. I watch him walk directly towards me then turn for a broadside at about 12 yards from me heading directly towards the thicket. I made a slight bleat sound with my mouth, he stops, I aim, and I shoot. He then runs about 40 yards in large U shape going back the way he just came. He then stops at the top of the ridge and is just looking around like what the crap just happened while I am thinking the same thing but more like there is no way I missed this deer that close. About the time this is all running through my mind he starts to do the wobble, falls over, and he is lights out.
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As I start to walk up on him I started to realize he was alot bigger than I originally thought. I also can now tell he is not a 6 point anymore and had finally grew up to an 8 pt. I then began to realize the size of him couldn't believe it had gone down the way it did. It was like everything had gone perfect from the set up to the deer coming in exactly how you would want with him turning for a broadside shot right.
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There was some miscommunication between me and taxidermist and forgot to tell him to save the jaw bone to age him. I know I had seen this buck as a 6pt for 3 years and the taxidermist felt like he was 5.5 years old. He also said he thought he might score high 130's but had said he should easily make the min requirements for a muzzleloader kill in the deer registry. So fast forward to now and I had TWRA score him last week and ended up with a gross score of 145 3/8" and a net of 142 0/8"
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Anyway hope you guys enjoyed my story and it hard to believe it has already been 3 years since then but time seem to fly during the Covid years.