With the firearms season now behind us this is a good time to take a look at our target bucks for this year and see who's still around. There's still a few weeks left before the 2012 season wraps up and by taking stock now we can set our sights on whoever's still around.
Last year we had a rather disappointed feeling as we left the buckpole in town the night of opening day. We had seen a few of our target bucks on the pole and had also heard of at least one more that had been taken but wasn't on the pole. Knowing that bucks you have chased hard all season are no longer out there can make the next mornings hunt feel a bit hollow and definitely takes a toll on you mentally. It's hard to give it your all and really work hard when you know that the deer you are looking for is no longer alive.
This year was a much different story than last year and we are pretty confident that our number one buck is still roaming our area. Just having that possibility makes the late season a whole lot more exciting this year than it was last year.
Lets take a look at the current status of your 2012 Hit List bucks. We'll start the list with the always exciting "bonus bucks". These are the bucks that weren't on our original hit list but showed up during the rut and surprised us.
Bonus Buck #1 -- This buck almost slipped past us thanks to a lousy picture from our camera but I caught just enough of this bucks rack to make me stop and lighten up the picture. Man was I glad I did once I saw what was hiding in the darkness.
This buck was a "bonus buck" for us this year.
We don't know who this buck is but he looks to be a big bodied deer with a wide rack. The edge that he is working has 12 scrapes covering its 80 yard length and this big boy was working those scrapes. I had found large tracks all along the edge of this winter wheat field all fall and this pictures likely shows the creator of those tracks.
The section of woods on the other side of this field is also full of scrapes and rubs and still has new scrapes and rubs popping up in the last week or week and a half. The rubs are pretty nice and we hope that this guy is the one making them.
Status: As far as we know this buck is still around but we have no other pictures of him. Hopefully with a little snow we can find those big tracks again and set up a late season ambush.
Bonus Buck #2 -- While our first bonus buck only produced a low quality image, this buck was just the opposite. He popped up out of nowhere and gave us an awesome close up along with two other pretty good pictures as well.
This "bonus buck" is a good looking buck but one more year would make a huge difference.
I think that this buck is 2.5yrs old which is a great sign because for our area his body and rack look great for a buck of that age. I don't know if this buck has been harvested or not but I hope that he made it through opening day and gets a chance to see 2013. I may change my mind if he offered me a shot but looking at the pictures I'd have to say I'd try to pass him during late season in the hopes that he makes it to next year and stays in the area. However, I would love to have an encounter with him and if someone else in our group was to get him I would be happy for them. He'd be a personal best for everyone else in our group.
Status: As far as we know he's still alive. If he was killed it wasn't by anyone right around us but we have no solid evidence one way or another.
Those were our only two bonus bucks this year which is a bit surprising but given how slow this season's been I guess I shouldn't be too shocked. Hopefully we can see those guys, or a new bonus buck, during the late season. Here are the bucks that made up our initial hit list back in September.
#3 -- "Bob Marley" -- This buck was one of our summer buddies and we had several photos and videos of him in velvet and a few in hard horn as well. Then all the sudden he just stopped showing up in late September. We were a bit surprised by the sudden disappearance and when we made it to late October with no pictures I think we just assumed he had moved on somewhere else and was no longer around.
This buck, who we call Bob Marley, disappeared on us this year.
While in camp for opening day of the firearms season we were chatting with our neighbor. He started talking about a buck that he passed while bowhunting a few days earlier and the buck sounded pretty familiar. We showed him a few pictures and he became pretty sure that the buck he had passed was the buck we'd nicknamed Bob Marley. I guess he hadn't moved all that far after all. Goes to show that you just never know with these bucks.
We think we have pictures of this buck from last year and we put him at 3.5 this year. He had a similarly odd rack last year and if he makes it through it will be interesting to see what he becomes at 4.5 next year. He has a frame and the beams to be be a stud if he can just put some tine's together.
Status: He was last seen days before firearms season opened and we know that nobody right around us harvested him. He's another one that we think is alive but we have no solid proof.
#2 -- "High Brow" -- This summer we got several pictures of the buck we call High Brow and Bob Marley running together but thankfully when Bob disappeared High Brow stayed around for a while. We didn't get a ton of pictures of him after he went hard horned but we got a few. High Brow was a solid buck and definitely one I had hopes of getting a crack at.
High Brow had an impressive spread and long, sweeping main beams. High Brow was shot about 1.5 miles north of us on November 15th.