Trail Camera Buck by Dave Conrad
Dave Conrad with a 190" class Boon & Crocket
Whitetail taken in Ohio, October 2004
have become an integrate part of my hunting regime the last
couple years. Over
the last three I have developed an interesting hobby of
building my own. With
the help from some ingenious people at www.jesseshuntingpage.com,
combined with electronic boards and supplies from www.pixcontroller.com,
I just completed my two latest digital cameras complete with
cameras were setup over intersecting trails on a new piece of
property that I had acquired the previous winter.
Now I knew from a couple scouting trips in late June
that there were a couple bucks with potential in the area.
But I was totally surprised when one digital revealed a
tremendous buck with the makings of great mass.
By the middle of August I had acquired many pictures of
him from the same area. Every
week he seemed to have added more tine length and mass.
Using this information I slipped
in at the end of August, installed a couple treestands and
removed the two cameras from the area.
I did this in order to let the area calm down until
opening day a little over a month away.
There is no
more excitement than hearing your alarm go off on opening
morning of archery season.
Well not exactly because I always get up way before the
alarm even thinks of waking up.
Next is the check list of everything you already went
over 50 times the night before as you shower, get dressed and
jump into the truck. As
you roll down the road in your mind you are going over what
type of day it will be and if you will be successful on that
buck you are after.
Trail camera photo
I arrived well
before daylight and slipped into my camouflage before heading to my
stand. On the way out I
ran into four does as I skirted a food plot.
I still had several hundred yards to go and I was sure the
skittish does would not bother the buck’s core area.
After arriving at
the tree I quickly and quietly climbed into the treestand.
It was still a good 45 minutes before first shooting light
but as I scanned the field I could barely make out some deer moving
a little over 50 yards away. I
brought up my binoculars and could make out the shapes of five deer.
The last one to my left was large and I could tell it was a
buck with a good set of antlers.
Still too dark to tell if it was the buck I had hopefully
Trail camera photo
the next half hour the deer continued feeding in the area.
It was then the buck began to make his way towards me.
I brought up my rangefinder and started taking readings
as he moved closer angling in front of me.
Fifty yards, forty two yards, at his closest he passed
by at thirty seven and a half yards.
At this distance I could clearly make out through the
rangefinder it was the buck I was hoping to connect on this
season. However it
was still too early for shooting light.
I remember thinking as I sat down, “Well at least I
saw him and didn’t spook him from the area” as he angled
out of the field and into a pine covered ridge. Looking
back down at my watch I noticed I still had close to fifteen
minutes before legal shooting light.
For the next half
hour I continued off and on to watch the does feed.
By this time I had removed my bow from the hook and made sure
that everything was ready. Just
then the deer moved off to my right where they were obscured by some
tree limbs, except one. She
decided to bed down and enjoy an early morning rest.
I was thinking how great of a morning it had been so far when
all of the sudden I was aware of a deer sniffing just off to my
left. I looked down and
immediately recognized it was the giant buck.
He had somehow slipped into my area by using a couple tree
limbs that obscured my view. He
was actually sniffing where I had paused to try and push back with
my hand some tall weeds and briars that were underneath the canopy
of the big maple tree.
I immediately rose
to my feet and drew the Bowtech Patriot Dually in one clean motion.
I was thinking to myself “take your time” as I centered
the sight pin just behind and to the right of his slightly
quartering to shoulder. As
I touched off the release the big buck jumped as the arrow angled
from the top of his chest area and exited just beneath and behind
his ribcage. He
immediately whirled and headed for the pine thicket.
I was able to follow him as he ran into the fence line
jumping the fence and crashing through the underbrush.
forty minutes of watching the other deer in the area, they
finally moved off. I
got down in order to inspect the arrow.
The red blood on the fletching was also accompanied by
a presence of stomach or intestinal contents.
I accepted this as normal as I replayed the hit back in
my mind. The angle
of the shot I judged had passed high just off to the right of
the deer’s spine (in my perspective but actually the
deer’s left side) as he was facing me but slightly
quartering to my left. I
accessed that it had taken out the deer’s left lung, passing
probably through some part of the liver and exiting out
through the stomach or small intestine and behind the ribs on
his right side.
I decided to play it safe since a cold front was coming
through and give the deer plenty of time before picking up the
chase. I walked
back to the truck replaying the whole situation through my
mind. While at the
truck I called my wife to let her know what had transpired and
that I was waiting before picking up the trail.
Trail camera photo
In the meantime I
contacted a good friend to accompany me on the tracking job. When my
friend Jon arrived I immediately informed him and his son
of what had taken place. We
immediately took up the trail..
Grabbing my bow, just in case, I showed them the last place
that I had saw the deer and we found blood.
While following the trail after about 100 yards we kicked up
a doe. The doe was in no
real hurry to vacate the area as she stopped at least twice before
finally high tailing it as we approached. Because
of the good blood trail I thought that the doe was probably bedded
somewhere close to the buck.
was the first to say that he saw white ahead of us.
I immediately picked up my pace, okay, okay, all of us
started to sprint, towards the downed buck.
He had traveled no more than 150 yards after the hit.
Most of it was on a downhill run through the wooded hillside.
dressing it was evident that the arrow had indeed passed through the
left lung, liver and perforated the stomach upon exit.
Upon examining the rack it can be determined that the buck
sports a typical 12 point frame.
Four non-typical points bring the total to sixteen with
several other points and bumps that fall short of the one inch
acceptable measurement. The
buck is currently at the taxidermist awaiting a pedestal mount.
couldn’t have come at a better time.
My wife and I are expecting our third child within the next
two weeks. Now everyone
knows that a new baby coupled with two other little ones, both less
than five years old, won’t leave much time in the near future for
my favorite pastime. Coupled
with starting a new business I didn’t even have time to get a
final measurement on the big buck.
Rough estimates put him in the 180-190 mark.
But one thing is for sure, God blessed me with an
unforgettable opening morning success on the ”Trail Camera