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Alberta Archery Whitetail Deer Hunt

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Hunting tips and tricks member Dan Indenbosch was kind enough to send in his last season whitetail deer hunting September 2010 archery whitetail story. Dan's hunting equipment:

Archery Whitetail Deer2008 Bowtech Tomkat set at 68lbs and 31.5" draw length
Radial X weave STL hunter 400 arrows
G5 Tekan expandable broad heads
Cobra release
Whisker biscuit rest
Bohning quiver
Cobra sights 5pin
Leupold 10-20x40 spotting scope
Leupold 20-60x80 spotting scope
Nikon 800 range finder
Irish setter deer tracker boots
Redhead camo
Primos silver scentspray
Primos fresh earth scent wafers

My brother Ivan and I spend countless days spotting deer, starting at the first sign of antler growth. This year was no different as we do most of our spotting from a distance so as not to spook the deer. This year as in the past we hunt a 7000 acre ranch between two rivers. The deer spend most of the time in the bush lining these rivers but come out to feed on the thousands of acres of irrigated farmland. Its quite hard to pattern them as harvest starts the same time as the season opens and then everything changes, but spotting lets us know what we have out there for mature bucks and in what areas to focus. Most of our spotting is done from the top of a lonely hill that rises up in the middle of the ranch; from here we can see large areas at one time.
At the end of August the bucks are still in their bachelor groups and we have a pretty good idea what we are after. Early in the season we put three tree stands in the north section where we have done the majority of our hunting in years past, but we saved three to be placed else where. This is where the spotting came in, deciding which sections to place these stands. There was one good buck coming out of the east section, but by the time he was in a suitable place to hunt him it was always to dark so we decided to leave him for now. The south east section had a group of bucks that had two we were really interested in, the �brow tine buck� named for his 3 brow tines on each side and the �old buck� a very wide short tined buck that was probably down hilling but still a trophy. The bucks constantly traveled with in 40 yards of a natural blind that was a perfect set up for our predominantly west wind. No stands needed there. Now we still have to place these 3 stands and at the moment we are pretty sure the south east section is where we want to hunt.
Its getting close to opening day� we decide to scout a bit on the south west end of the property. We park the truck back behind a hill, take the spotting scope and hike up to a viewpoint. The crops are tall and we can see some antlers moving through them slowly. The bucks continue to feed down towards us and we start getting excited, he looks like a good one! As we wait its starts getting dark so we sneak down the hill to get a better view of the buck and some video, a solid 5x5. The buck feeds through an open gate and then heads out into the field. It�s a couple days later before it works out to go scouting again and it�s quite late in the afternoon. As we pull the truck up to our parking spot we see two bucks both quite wide silhouette into the sun as they crest a hill, we didn�t know where they came from but we were excited.
The final week before opening day and we have yet to hang our stands� its been raining a lot and there is no way that the farmers will be able to harvest. This is good news; the feeding patterns of the deer won�t change yet. Along with the wet weather comes north and east winds, so much for our pre-scouted locations and any of the stands on the north end of the property.
Opening day! We decide we will stick to the south west corner the rain is coming down and the wind is calm. Ivan decides to head to a pivot point in the middle of the grain field and use it as a blind. I head to the east edge of that quarter, along the way I see Ivan spook two good bucks out of the grain and back into the bush, the two wide antlered deer we had seen silhouetted. I get to the spot I was planning to sit, but decide to pass it and climb a tree at the corner where the field the river and the bush all meet up. Its raining hard now and im getting cold, the wind picks up from the north west. I should be fine but the trail I�m betting on is just west of my tree. As sunset approaches I haven�t seen any movement other then a doe and fawn that sneak up behind me, my foot has fallen asleep and Its really uncomfortable up here. Its now pretty much dark and I see a lone buck walking the edge of the field right to me, but it�s to dark to see his antlers clearly, much less my sight pins. He crosses a mere 10 yards from my tree. The next day its still raining and I figured that�s a good a time as any to hang my stand so I set it up close to where I was the night before.
Its about a week later before I get back to hunt that stand and im a little late. On my way in I see three does coming right underneath it� rats! I slowly move to the closest hiding spot, a pivot tire, and hunker down be hind it, it looks like I wont be getting a chance at anything tonight. The does prove me wrong and walk 50 yards from me on their way to the field, I have doe tags but I am not planning on filling them until the end of the season. Shortly after they pass I see a few more deer headed my way, as soon as I can see there is a shooter buck with them. One that became known as the �Armstrong buck� because of his thick oddly shaped main beams. He stopped 60 yards from me sensing something was wrong, and then walked off casually but staying out of arrow range. That was enough to get me excited, it�s almost dark and I can�t wait to get back to the truck and see how Ivan has made out. Another deer approaches, he is a great buck and I watch him disappear behind a small rise, I wait a few minutes and get ready to leave. Just as I go to stand, I see the buck re-appear and run for where I am hiding, it�s to dark to shoot now but I don�t want to spook him so I sit tight. The buck walks not less then 5 yards from where I am sitting; I am barely breathing but shaking with adrenaline what a great encounter! I am also thoroughly impressed with my scent removal efforts 5 yards and he didn�t know I was there! I hurry back to the truck to swap tales with my brother and we make plans to go out again.
This time I�m out in the field early, I get dressed into my hunting clothes and spray down quickly. I am up in my tree stand nicely on time. I get comfortable, hang my bow and start glassing. Before long deer start to move into the crop I am set up beside, but they all pass about 120 yards from me. I see the wide buck that I am after; he comes near dark but passes way out of range. Bummer. I head back to the truck Ivan hasn�t had much luck either he had a few does cross the river and walk by him at 7 yards, again impressed with our scent control, but no bucks.
Its now September 23rd and it�s windy. Blowing from the west. Ivan decides to hunt the south east section from the natural blind and I head to my stand. I have practiced shooting in the wind but I don�t plan on shooting from my tree in the wind, I go up there just to spot My bow is tied to the string at the base of the tree but I have no plans on using it . My game plan is to see where the buck is heading through the field and cut him off. I sit for an hour, no movement. I am looking out over the field hoping to see my buck come out of the trees, when I am surprised by a doe coming into the field 60 yards south of me. She starts off into the field and crosses the mark I had ranged out at 40 yards the day before and continues on her way. Shortly after that another doe and a fawn come out and follow the same path. Now I�m watching, I can�t believe my eyes there is my buck 60 yards from my tree! I slowly reach down and pull my bow up and notch an arrow just in case� the buck continues the same way as the doe had. I�ve got to make a decision, do I let him walk or do I take the shot in this wind? I decide if I can stop him and catch a break between gusts ill do it! The buck nears my 40 mark I drew my bow and let out a soft grunt� nothing� the wind stole it, I let out a really loud grunt and he stopped! I held full draw and waited the wind gusted and then calm again. I let out a shaky breath and pulled my elbow back for a perfect release. The arrow was right on and I watched the red fletching disappear. Maybe a little forward? I watched the buck run off, waiting for the collapse I was sure would follow� he disappeared into the trees 150 yards down. Now I start to second guess my self was it to far forward? Did it hit low and miss vitals? I replay the shot in my head over and over. I text Ivan � I got him� and climb down my tree. Walk to my 40 mark and look for my arrow� nothing, no blood no hair nothing. I follow where the buck had flattened the crop as he ran, looking for some sort of clue� nothing. I get to where he disappeared into the trees still no signs of a good hit. I decide to wait a while before going into the trees, but its getting dark so after about 30 minutes I sneak around to a clearing along the river where I though he might be headed. There he is! Hunched up and moving very slowly, I decide to come back in the morning. Hopefully the coyotes don�t get him before I do.
I meet Ivan at 9:00am and we go to where I last seen the buck. I see one spot of blood on a worn trail heading into thick bush, we follow the trail about 100 yards before I see something, and it�s the buck! But he is still standing� something isn�t right that hit looked good! The buck moves slowly into the thicket, Ivan decides to sneak along the south side of the trail and I take the north� the wind is in our face its perfect. After 30 minutes of crawling I have shed most of my layers, its getting warm out! A coyote sneaks past me at 15 yards but I am focused on getting my buck� I see antlers at 20 yards but that�s all and there is no way for me to get a shot, I sit tight and wait. I start glassing for Ivan and I see the words �Joe boxer� filling my monocular. I laugh inside Ivan is bent over awkwardly only 30 yards from me and all I can see is the top of his boxer shorts sticking out of his pants. I hope he sees the buck! I look over to the deer and then back to Ivan, but I can�t see him anymore. All of a sudden I hear a whoosh and the buck jumps up and runs right past me I can see the blood spray out of him� Ivan crawls over and says I got him broad side but a little back we wait about 45 minutes and follow the heavy blood trail. About 5 minutes later we spook the buck up� now we are kicking our selves� patience! We wait a good while longer and follow the blood again. It eventually stops now what? We spend and hour or two searching when I spot his antlers sticking up from behind a dead fall. I don�t take any chances and stalk stealthily up to where I can see him better and he is still alive! The feeling in my stomach was sickening I hate to see an animal suffer and this deer just wouldn�t die. I creep around to the far side of the bush and put one more arrow through his heart. The buck finally expires! I examine the shots and I see Ivan�s arrow had only hit one lung and that�s why the buck had made it this far but I can�t figure out how my first arrow didn�t kill him.
Whitetail Deer Mount TrophyIvan shows up 15 minutes later grinning from ear to ear he had a doe run right at him and stop at 7 yards so he decided to put her in the freezer. Then he had seen the buck. Wow he�s huge bro! In all this I had forgotten about antlers and had not even thought about the size. Turns out he was the biggest buck I had ever taken and my first whitetail with my bow. We took a few pictures, field dress and load him on the truck. A few days later we go to cut up the meat and as I cut along his back strap I feel something sharp. It was my broad head. Along with a foot long section of arrow! I couldn�t believe it the arrow had hit a bone and deflected just past his spine and lodged length ways in his loin. The whitetail deer ended up scoring 139 6/8 Pope and Young net official points.
A few weeks later I shot my mule deer buck on the last day of the season, I took a small buck at 20 yards and he only went another 20 before collapsing a perfect confidence booster after my white tail put me through the mill.

Posted November 30, -1 by Dan Indenbosch

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