How was your deer season

YanceyGreenhorn

Not a Moderator
My season started out in archery, never had a chance at anything.

Opening day of muzzleloader I go out with my friend's dad(I'll just call him mentor from now on). As we are slowly walking to the knob of a finger ridge, we hear deer walking down the ridge towards us (We came from the top of the ridge, they somehow didn't spook as we walked through the brushy pipeline into the hardwoods). It was 7:14, just barely shooting light. We both had shots, but it was simply too dark in the thick hardwoods we were in. My excitement and inner half-redneck was telling me to shoot, but I knew I needed to follow what the more experienced hunter beside me did. We then split up and the rest of the morning was uneventful. This all happened on a Saturday.

Fast forward to the following Monday morning. My mentor had let me borrow a muzzleloader so I could continue hunting when he had work during the week. I got out on time, but in the pre-dawn darkness, I got confused and walked out on the wrong ridge. Luckily, I found sign on the ridge I ended up on and set up. After having does blow at me from downwind(I didn't expect them to be bedded where they were and also somehow didn't spook them while walking in), I decided to start heading back, as I was improperly dressed for the temps and was not having a good time with my numb hands. As I was walking in the clearcut that the access path peters out into I saw something (I don't remember what) that caught my eye and had me walk right over the skyline of a ridge and interrupt a small buck chasing a doe. As soon as I was skylined he saw me, but for whatever reason, he just stayed focused on feeding beside the doe who had not seen me. I immediately aimed, but could not for the life of me calm down. I was literally shaking in my boots. I knew I needed to be more stable, so I dropped into a prone position and started to crawl towards a a position where I had a shot. I got to that position, aimed, pulled back the hammer, waited for him to stop, and squeezed the trigger. Boom. As my ears are ringing, I jumped up and run out of the smoke cloud. The buck was still standing there. Completely unfazed. I get back down into the tall grasses and reload the muzzleloader, hoping that the buck decides to stay put. I crawl back into position. The buck has moved slightly, but I still have a shot. I do the whole process, boom. I walk out of the smoke to see two white butts prancing off. At this point I was feeling a combination of frustration, hopefulness, excitement, and overwhelming confusion. This did not go as planned. I had so many questions. Why was that deer so darn stupid? Did I hit him? Did I miss? I decided to sneak out of the area and just take a seat and wait. I knew that if I went in there and checked for blood I might bump him, and I did not want my first deer to be lost because of my stupidity. After a good hour, I headed exactly to where he was standing when I shot at him a second time. I searched for 30 minutes, and did not see a drop of blood, hair, or anything. I felt relieved and angry. I headed home, mentally wore out. My friends dad later took out the muzzleloader and shot it, trying to figure out what in the world was wrong. It was shooting something like 2 feet low.

The next Saturday my friend's dad shot a 4 point and I got to gut, help drag, help skin, and prepare a deer for cooking for the first time. Great learning experience.

Fast forward again to opening day of gun season. November 13th. We (mentor and I) head out in the morning. I am borrowing a Remington Model 783 in .243 using corelokts. We split up at the access path and I go to the ridge I was trying to go to on that Monday mentioned previously. I found a spot, sat down behind a fallen tree, and waited. After literally 15 minutes, I hear a deer come trotting down the side of the ridge below me, not 40 yards. I stand up, take aim, and fire. I don't wait for it to stop, I don't do the "mehhh" thing to make it stop, I just shoot. It was a total miss, I shot behind it. Stupid mistake in the heat of the moment that I won't make again. Luckily, all the commotion above the deer from me fumbling around to rack another round in the chamber with a gun I'm unfamiliar with makes it stop. It stayed long enough to give me another chance and I aim, squeeze the 30 pound trigger, and fire. From the way the deer acts I just know that it's hit good. I hear it crash in the drainage below me. I walk over to where I hit it, "blood trail" it, and walk up to it. I check that its dead, pull it out of the ditch, and start walking back to where I was set up. As I'm walking back up the ridge, I hear another deer! It walks not 30 yards from me, sees me, but by then it's too late. I see antlers. I want my first buck and there's a great opportunity right in front of me. I shoot, it runs off into some nasty thick stuff, I hear a massive crash, and I realize I'm out of bullets. I call my friends dad and ask him if he can walk over here so I have some sort of gun when I walk up on this thing. He gladly walks over and we find him. A nice 4 pointer. I discover that the massive crash I heard was him tripping and ramming head first into a fallen tree, knocking one off his antlers off of its pedicle. We gut and drag both of these deer out, get home and skin them, and let them sit over night. It was perfect weather for this and I had some school work to do that Saturday. I supplemented the freezer, and learned a ton.
About the performance of the bullets, both passed through both lungs and out the other side, one hit a shoulder and still passed through. Just thought this might be helpful to someone.

Now for the rest of the season. I saw some does, but it wasn't in season anymore on the gameland, only bucks. Found a ton of sign and good spots for the rut for next season. I discovered that there were bears on the tract of caswell gamelands that I was hunting a lot. Had my first frustrations with dog hunters, but only for selfish reasons. I still think it's really cool and would totally run dogs if I had the time and determination to take care of all those hounds and had buddies to hunt with. I also saw a guinea fowl just minding its own business a good mile and a half from the nearest house. I experienced a mid deer season prescribed burn, that was interesting. Made squirrel hunting pretty easy.

All in all, for my first season of hunting with more than just a crossbow, I would say this one has been very educational, memorable, and I might go as far as saying that its life changing. Now I can't even imagine myself not hunting. It just like... what I do now. When I see a calendar, I see different hunting seasons. When I look at a college, I catch me asking myself, "Yeah sure its a great school, but is there public ground nearby?" It's an addiction with no bad side effects, except maybe a hurting wallet. This was a long read if you got this far, and it's probably not typed too well, but I think it is beneficial for me to organize these things anyway.

TLDR(Too long didn't read): I got a buck and a doe and learned some things. Pretty cool.
Really enjoyed this. For a guy just getting to be college age, keep that mindset. The college scene can and likely will give you plenty of opportunities to establish good habits and life choices, or bad ones. I really related to what you said about how you couldn’t imagine NOT hunting. Stay after it and don’t make the mistakes I did. If ya ever find yourself out here in the western region and wanna hit some game lands, holler at me.
 

jug

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Had a great season !!
Met a bunch of people and made new friends during the public land hunt in October.
Joined a new club in SC that was as promised, killed a nice buck and a few does down there.
My daughter killed her first deer, it wound up being the biggest doe Ive ever seen in NC, and I got one 3 minutes later. Made for an awesome day with a double kill.

I wouldn't trade this season for anything else on this earth...
Enjoyed reading this post.
Yes I wouldn't trade this season either.
 

PPosey

Twelve Pointer
Got a good buck in ML season, passed on more bucks during bow, rifle, and late bow than I have in the past 5 years because I had a really nice buck on camera. Then finally got the nice buck in late Bow, best buck I've ever got, and my left knee is still not happy due to all the climbing and hiking in I did to get him.

But a good season, my daughter missed a buck , but did not get another opportunity. That's the only thing I would have changed.
 

haywoodhunter

Eight Pointer
This is kinda backwards. This has been my best season ever. I did not kill anything but time. I did make allot of friends, (@appmtnhntr, @haywoodhunter, @timekiller13 and @valetroutfisherman) -already knew @ncstatehunter, I saw lots of deer ( I think 36 not bad for only mountain public land) learned allot about hunting mature mountain bucks. Learned to spot and stalk and slip hunt. Camped more to hunt. Learned allot from others and got to go to the woods more than I have in several years. Got a good start on a big buck for next year and allot more confidence than I started with this year. I did miss a doe and a 5 point with my bow. Also learned I love to hunt from a saddle and figured out my clothes pretty much and never got cold not even my feet. So I call it a successful year. Spent allot of time teaching my boy what to look for and just enjoying camping hunting with him. We got to camp my dad, my son and me for muzzleloader and met up with @appmtnhntr and @haywoodhunter. Then a rifle day with @appmtnhntr So well yea a great year
Can’t wait till we can do it again!
 

DRS

Old Mossy Horns
Had a ball! Especially with the hounds. One farm something caused the deer to change patterns, from years past. Didn't hunt the farm until later in the season, so it wasn't us. We didn't see deer for couple weeks at the time. Deer on cameras were even sporadic. Last couple weeks finely got on them. Think I may have figured out what was going on to some extent. Still making me scratch my head though.
 

Rubline

Ten Pointer
Well, started off witha couple of bow hunts with my wife, saw some deer but no shots.
My wife got an 8 point with muzzleloader and during all this I was fighting kidneystone pain.
I shot an 8 point opening week of gun and things went downhill from there.
Had surgery to remove a stone from my bladder in November that was too big to pass and then two weeks later had to have another one removed from my right kidney.
After all that had to geta shot in my left knee.
I'm all good to go now but the season is over with.
Poor planning on my part I guess.
 
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Crappie_Hunter

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
My tract started being logged first of October and it made the deer pretty nocturnal and messed up their travel patterns so I just abandoned that. Had some friends offer their places up so my kids could hunt, and my daughter killed her first deer. So a new seed was planted in a young female hunter (which we need more of).

All in all a successful year for sure, quality time spent in the woods with my kids and got to experience another first deer. I've been with 3 people when they got their first deer during my hunting career, my 2 kids and one of my cousins... never gets old watching them experience that!!

If I never kill another animal but get to sit beside my kids, or any kid really and watch them do it, that's fine with me...
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
My son got his first buck on first day of deer season with crossbow. That's been something we've been trying to do for years and was quite the relief. I went a few times on my own, it was mainly therapeutic. I do have two young 130's that survived and I'll probably put more pressure on them next year. As far as Cooper tracking, I don't know anybody he didn't impress, and he came through in some very difficult situations.
 

klim

Twelve Pointer
Honestly not that bad. I only ended up killing one but that was with about 30 walker dogs 15 seconds behind it. Man that was fun!! I heard a few good deer dog races but never could get in front of them but that’s ok. Seen several still hunting behind the house but, I had more fun watching them than I would have killing them. The thing is I really didn’t go that much this year because life kinda got in the way.Again, it’s all good though.
 

HarryNC

Eight Pointer
Had a good season. Saw a lot of deer, several bucks that have potential for next season. I put two does in the freezer, and my son got a decent 8 point. Didn't hunt as much as I wanted. Had two weddings to attend during deer season. Have to question my choice in friends. I mean, what kind of a person plans a wedding on a Saturday during the rut? 🤔
 
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Zach's Grandpa

Old Mossy Horns
It was the best season I've ever had when I didn't kill a deer. LOL Hunted a lot, hunted hard in all kinds of weather, enjoyed every minute of it, and never even looked at a deer through the scope. The biggest buck I saw was a four pointer, seen him so many times he became a pet, and I hunted the same stands that Dan did where he killed those two nice bucks.

Just wasn't my year to shoot but as others will attest, age brings on the realization that it ain't about the shooting it's about the being out there and being able to be out there. Already looking forward to hearing those gobbles.
 

Eric Revo

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
First year on a new lease, very small cutovers. It was a learning experience and I had a couple of good bucks in the scope with no ethical shots.
We didn't kill a deer between the three of us, but count this as a decent year.
 
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Scrub

Ten Pointer
Contributor
It was good… killed my biggest buck on my land behind the house and on a farm I have about 15mins from the house. Put a stand up on a oak ridge on the farm two years ago and alway envisioned a big buck coming from the creek up to that ridge. It happened just like I hoped it would he came right up the hill to the ridge. I hunted the stand 3 times and saw bucks all 3 times, so I’m hoping it continues down the road. But either way just happy to be healthy enough to enjoy being out there.
 
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Shockgobbles

Four Pointer
We had a good amount of 50+ year old pines cut on our property this year and it vastly changed the way deer travel so it was fun and a challenge to figure out what they were going to do. Unfortunately due to school I didn't go as much as I'd like to but when I did go I was fairly indiscriminate. Shot 3 does and this grad student has a full freezer
 
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30/06

Twelve Pointer
Mixed. Drew an Iowa bow tag, spent 2 weeks out there and got my tail whipped. Saw 100s of deer literally over those 2 weeks. Saw the same 150 + inch 10 pt 5 times and had him at 30 yards but couldn’t get him stopped. Buddy shot a big 7 pt but found him plenty alive the next day. Enjoyed it, hated to eat the tag. Shot one big doe and a bobcat. Passed two real nice bucks here that 5 years ago woulda shot and mounted.

My daughter shot her fist buck and a good one at that. Watching her grow up as a hunter and young lady made my season.

got to spend time with great friends, never as much as I’d like but that’s life.
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
rew an Iowa bow tag, spent 2 weeks out there and got my tail whipped. Saw 100s of deer literally over those 2 weeks. Saw the same 150 + inch 10 pt 5 times and had him at 30 yards but couldn’t get him stopped. Buddy shot a big 7 pt but found him plenty alive the next day. Enjoyed it, hated to eat the tag. Shot one big doe and a bobcat. Passed two real nice bucks here that 5 years ago woulda shot and mounted.


sounds like my Iowa trip,,, passed bucks that I wouldn't have in the past,,, and enjoyed it (sick ain't I),,,
 

wcjones

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Our first son was due middle of december so i wanted to get my hunting done as early as possible....I shot a small basket 9 opening day of archery but i didnt not go again until muzzleloader cause it was so hot. I hunted 6 times during muzzleloading and saw 3 deer including the 7 point i shot. I then took my niece out 5 times during rifle and never saw another deer. Over all I saw 5 deer total while hunting and all of them were bucks. I have no trail cameras so I am curious as to where the does went. Normally I am covered up in does.

All that being said I would rank this deer season as successful but strange
 

30/06

Twelve Pointer
sounds like my Iowa trip,,, passed bucks that I wouldn't have in the past,,, and enjoyed it (sick ain't I),,,

saw bucks every day I would have shot here without thinking twice. 18 inch 8 pts were everywhere but even in Iowa getting a big one ain’t easy. Several large bucks were found dead from EHD, we found one too and could smell others. think we started out in the hole.

PP applied for, god willing I’ll be headed back in 2026.
 

Lucky Clucker

Old Mossy Horns
Mixed. Drew an Iowa bow tag, spent 2 weeks out there and got my tail whipped. Saw 100s of deer literally over those 2 weeks. Saw the same 150 + inch 10 pt 5 times and had him at 30 yards but couldn’t get him stopped. Buddy shot a big 7 pt but found him plenty alive the next day. Enjoyed it, hated to eat the tag. Shot one big doe and a bobcat. Passed two real nice bucks here that 5 years ago woulda shot and mounted.

My daughter shot her fist buck and a good one at that. Watching her grow up as a hunter and young lady made my season.

got to spend time with great friends, never as much as I’d like but that’s life.
Sounds great but why not shoot a good buck.It will be years before you go back and the deer thatst there now will be dead by then. I e always wanted to go to Iowa. Makes you seewhy those HTP boys kill so many.plentu of semi tame deer
 

Lucky Clucker

Old Mossy Horns
Had a good season. Saw a lot of deer, several bucks that have potential for next season. I put two does in the freezer, and my son got a decent 8 point. Didn't hunt as much as I wanted. Had two weddings to attend during deer season. Have to question my choice in friends. I mean, what kind of a person plans a wedding on a Saturday during the rut? 🤔
Just say no.
 

Lucky Clucker

Old Mossy Horns
As deer sighting went this was the worst season in years. Hunted my land most season,seen same deer which was a few does and fawnsand small bucks regular.Had some permit hunts.my son killed 3 on. I seen 3 deer in 7 days of hunting them.had a foot injury that my ligaments were pulled apart from my toes.very painful and couldn't walk far.This ruined my hunting most of season as couldn't walk as far and climb . Local dog hunters kept the deer ran off most days and nocturnal. Family killed a few deer earlier in gun season as I put them on stands. Finally killed 4 the last day .Hope next season is better. Go the rut and larger buck sighting down to the 17 the. October,to the 12 of November. After that most were dead or roamed off
 
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woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
I have Cabelas or I think they’re WTA now do it for me. I pay them, they keep up with paperwork, application, etc. I’d end up forgetting or mess up something on the application and miss a deadline.


ok, thanks - thought I had missed the deadline!!!
 

30/06

Twelve Pointer
Sounds great but why not shoot a good buck.It will be years before you go back and the deer thatst there now will be dead by then. I e always wanted to go to Iowa. Makes you seewhy those HTP boys kill so many.plentu of semi tame deer
Why settle for a deer you could kill here? I’d seen the same big buck 5x including the last morning in a very tight area. Figured sooner or later the doe he’d been locked down with would drag em by me. Didn’t happen but I wouldn’t of been happy shooting a smaller buck knowing he’s most likely within 300 yards of me! Had a very nice 9 pt walk right under me the last morning, wasn’t even tempted.
 
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