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Take Vanished or Forgotten Buck Deer Day 5: Go to Extreme Measures for Deer

A deer in the field
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A deer in the fieldIn 2011, John Scott took a 172-point buck named Big Nasty – a truly big buck for Alabama – on 15 acres on the edge of an apartment complex in suburban Birmingham, where he had gotten permission to bowhunt. This place adjoined the edge of a small river with a sheer rock bluff on the other side of the river and a privet hedge thicket on the side of the river where Scott was hunting, and the deer was bedded-down.

“Another nice buck we called Escort was always with the Big Nasty buck I’d harvested in 2011,” John Scott says. “In 2012, Escort had become a 8 pointer that would weigh about 200 pounds field dressed and score about 125 points. Escort was 5-1/2 years old, and I felt his antlers were as big as they ever would be.”

John Scott had plenty of trail-camera pictures of Escort from the summer of 2012 and just prior to opening day. This nice buck was very patternable. Always the first buck to show up in the late afternoon, he’d come from a privet-hedge thicket, walk down the edge of the river and feed around the persimmon and oak trees, natural deer food for that area.

A hunter checks his trail camerasTo get to Scott’s stand site to hunt Escort, he had to cross a gulley (about 10-yards wide and 15- feet deep) that had a little branch in the bottom with steep, high banks on either side. The first time he went to this spot, he went down into the gulley, walked in the branch and climbed up the other side, coming out muddy, nasty and worn-out. After scouting the area, Scott realized if he had a bridge to cross the gulley he could reach this small hidden spot where forgotten big bucks liked to live.

One of the extreme measures the Scotts twins employ is taking homemade bridges with them when checking trail cameras and hunting and then bringing the bridges out when they leave a region. Their homemade bridges are constructed of angle irons. John knew if he shot a deer at this spot that he couldn’t get a deer across the gulley alone. This location required so much effort and determination to reach the spot where you could hunt that John Scott doubted anyone had tried. Not on the land where Scott had permission to hunt but behind the branch was also a paved road and a shopping mall.

Scott realized he had to have a favorable wind that didn’t blow down the river and into the bedding area to hunt this place, and that the depth of the water would impact his ability to hunt there. He also knew he’d have to put the deer down quickly and efficiently to keep the buck from getting in the river with its steep banks.

A hunter with a mounted buckScott climbed into his stand early in the afternoon of opening day and soon spotted a 9-point buck, a 10-pointer, a spike, a doe and a fawn. Next, Escort moved to the exact spot where Scott had shot Big Nasty the previous year, presenting a broadside shot. Although Escort was only 8 feet from the tree when Scott released the arrow, he had a somewhat difficult shot angle, since he was 22-feet high in his tree stand. Scott reports, “I like to hunt high to reduce the odds of an older-age-class buck seeing, hearing or smelling me.”

After taking the arrow, Escort only ran about 40 yards before he piled-up. Jim and John Scott field dressed Escort, drug him to the edge of the gulley and used ropes to get Escort across the gulley. “When we reached the edge of the gulley, we attached the end of the rope to Escort’s antlers,” John Scott explains. “Jim took the other end of the rope, crossed the bridge, stood on the other side and took up the slack in the rope, as I slowly slid the buck toward the edge of the gulley. Just as the deer started to fall in the gulley, Jim pulled as hard as he could on the rope, keeping the buck’s head up as his hindquarters fell into the gulley. As soon as the buck fell, I scurried across the homemade bridge. Jim and I both had to work hard to pull the buck out of the gulley. Then we only had to drag the deer about 50 yards to get him to my truck. Jim and I both live for this kind of excitement – hunting forgotten deer in places where no one else thinks about hunting.”

Cover: How to Hunt Deer Up CloseCover: 13 Deer Recipes You Can't Live WithoutTo learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, available in Kindle, print and Audible versions, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” (http://amzn.to/11dJRu8) and “13 Deer Recipes You Can’t Live Without,” available in Kindle at http://amzn.to/12AiyI9. You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free, and you can listen to 10% for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book. To see more of John’s deer-hunting books, visit www.amazon.com/author/johnephillips. John’s latest book, “Elk: Keys to 23 More Hunters’ Success,” was just published in Audible on November 15, 2021, and is available now in Kindle, print and Audible at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09B2H9V6Y/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i10.Elk: Keys to 23 More Hunters' Success

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