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This past spring a friend of mine acquired some property in northern Ohio where we could archery hunt. He put in a lot of time online and using topo apps to identify small wood lots that may hold some deer.
In august we came down for a day to scout. The first couple properties we walked were absolutely littered with tree stands. The landowner knew there were firearm hunters on the property but was unaware of any bow hunting presence. It was beginning to look like (based on the setups) there was a significant amount of archery pressure also.
We decided to avoid the conflict with any existing hunters since we were only going to make a couple of short trips during the season.
After meeting the landowner in person and gaining some knowledge of additional properties we continued our scouting mission.
After finding nothing but hunting pressure this shed was the first bit of positive sign. Needless to say it got our hopes up!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
We continued our scouting mission and hung some trail cams where we could get away from other hunters.
We walked along the St. Joseph river and found some good runways on dry ground between bedding areas and hung some cameras and identified good trees for climbers.
Fast forward to the end of September we made a trip back to hunt the opener. It had rained pretty heavy the day before but the forecast was tolerable. Normal temps for the weekend with hit or miss showers. We brought a quad along in case one of us was lucky enough to take a deer. We were dying to check the cameras see what was out there. Most locations were a simple walk to a camera that was a little disappointing to say the least.
This was Saturday morning and when we finished checking the other cams we unloaded the quad and drove in to check the river bottom cams. We ended up driving through a drainage that was just under 2’ deep. the river bottom cam had a few deer on it but nothing to write home about.
however the cam I set up at a heavy trail between bedding areas had a shooter buck walk through just the previous night! Things were looking up. So we got out, got ready to hunt and went out that evening.
I had one hell of a time to say the least trying to get in to my stand. We had to walk across this drainage and I just couldn’t quite seem to find the right place to cross without getting wet boots(knee high).
It took about 45 minutes for me to get 200 yards to my stand. By the time I got there I had wet boots and a sprained thumb from falling while trying to walk on a floating deadfall. Here is a pic from the stand.
 

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I didn’t see a deer that night. I chose to leave my stand and bow out there to make the walk back a little easier. My partner had already decided that we were going to cross the drainage with the quad in the morning to make the walk easier.
The next morning the two of us unloaded the quad and headed in. We put it in 4x4 and started creeping through the water. What we didn’t realize was that the water level had gone up over a foot that night! The quad damn near stalled out as the water was up to the handlebars!
Needless to say we were wet again and I pretty much focused all energy on getting my gear back out instead of hunting. I ended up wading through water up to my waist getting my gear that morning. Here is the view from my stand that morning
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That was pretty much a wrap on the opener! It felt like a pretty significant waste of time and money! If it weren’t for the weekend of camaraderie and memories it would have been a loss. Looking back on it, it helped me recognize an opportunity to laugh at ourselves.
Fast forward to Nov 1. All Saints Day. Brad and I went to Church in the morning and then took off around noon. Cameras have been out for a month. One cell cam has a few great looking bucks on it by the river. I purchased some waders when we came back from the last trip and they were in the truck with me. My partner hadn’t brought any waders. We had gotten some rain this week. While we were en route we got a photo of a deer standing in a foot of water where it had been dry on the last trip! The water level is actually higher now! That lead to a pit stop for another set of waders.
That evening I went to a parcel that we had not stepped foot on yet. there was a wood lot that was likely pretty wet and would provide bedding where it wasn’t. There were standing beans 400yds away. With no other crops around I figured this may provide some opportunity. I settled in to a fence row Connecting bedding to feed and would provide a good observation point without getting aggressive right away. It was a pretty great feeling being on stand in Ohio in November. I thanked God and said my usual prayer to St. Hubert.
I had been on stand for about an hour when a small 8 read the script perfectly passing at 10yds and feeding in the beans. 10 minutes Later a small doe did the same and she was greeted by another small 8 who had snuck in on me and the chase was on! I watched a few deer throughout the rest of the night. I felt the night was a success since I hadn’t gotten busted and had 3 small bucks in range.
As daylight was fading I heard a deer approaching quickly from behind me. A quick glance and something in my brain screamed SHOOTER!!
He was going to cross an opening in about 15 yards that would provide a 10yd shot. I fumbled around rushing to get my release on my loop. Finally got it and drew right as he stepped into the opening. I gave him a grunt to stop him. He stood perfectly broadside like statue allowing me plenty of time to steady check all anchor points.
I watched the green lighted nock blow through his lungs and watched him run off.
Start to finish was probably less than 30 seconds. This is when it hit me and the shakes set in.
Brad and I went and grabbed a bite to eat and I fielded all his questions while beginning to doubt everything I thought I knew.
A short track confirmed everything in my head...
 

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Crap, I posted the pics before the rest of the story somehow! Oh well, I’ve been known to scroll past some long winded stories at times to get to the good stuff!
I feel extremely blessed to be able to do this and I just wanted to mention something I heard earlier this week and I thought of often this weekend... Great suffering leads to greater good!
 

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Great buck! I enjoyed the story. I’ve a spot on MI state land that usually requires hip waders and sometimes chest waders to get in, but we know that so are ready. That looks like exceptional weather ya had down there. Congrats on sticking it out!
 

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That's a great buck! Hard work pays off!

Congratulations!
 
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Holy horns! I hate to say it but I hear a lot of wild Ohio now,there's another state that a buddy of mine lives in which I will not mention, has little to no hunting pressure!

You can thank the darn social media for that!


This past spring a friend of mine acquired some property in northern Ohio where we could archery hunt. He put in a lot of time online and using topo apps to identify small wood lots that may hold some deer.
In august we came down for a day to scout. The first couple properties we walked were absolutely littered with tree stands. The landowner knew there were firearm hunters on the property but was unaware of any bow hunting presence. It was beginning to look like (based on the setups) there was a significant amount of archery pressure also.
We decided to avoid the conflict with any existing hunters since we were only going to make a couple of short trips during the season.
After meeting the landowner in person and gaining some knowledge of additional properties we continued our scouting mission.
After finding nothing but hunting pressure this shed was the first bit of positive sign. Needless to say it got our hopes up!
 
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