Long story alittle shorter, this was my 3rd year going to Maryland and hunting public land, the first year I missed a decent buck then didn't see much the rest of the week, last year I saw 1 small buck all week. This year I put in extra time and made a scouting trip in the spring, one in late August and the last one beginning of October to hang cams and look for any fresh sign. I told myself if I didn't get a shot at a buck this year I won't return next year, the woods there are crazy thick and i found it almost impossible to find good areas to hunt because one, I'm from south jersey and I learned to set up between swamps and oaks, well everything here looks like swamp, who knows where they are bedding or feeding. And second even if I did find a good spot to set up, chances are I couldn't shoot to the ground it was so thick. I did find a few good spots over the past 3 years though
Fast forward to this year, back in October while hanging cameras, as I'm driving to my spot I look over and see open hardwoods and a nice little ridge along the road which is what I been looking for for 3 years, wouldn't you know its state land too so I did alittle scouting and liked what I saw but was running out of time and had to get home. This year I got there Sunday later than I wanted to and barely had enough time to check cams. Monday I didn't see much, Tuesday morning I saw a real big bodied buck at 50yds cruising buck couldn't see horns, saw a few does that evening. Yesterday it rained so I went to the spot I found back in october and did some walking, I walked the ridge and saw some rubs and scrapes all around the oaks that led right to thicker woods and a swamp, perfect just like what I'm used to back in jersey, I walked the edge of the thick stuff till I found a spot that just seemed perfect, fresh rubs and scrapes and some big runs coming out of the swamp. I came back with my climber and saw 5 deer total yesterday evening (more than I saw the last 2 years combined)
I came back this morning and conditions were ideal, a gentle breeze and nice and cool, the wind was blowing into the swamp which was good because I was hoping to catch the deer coming from the oaks and heading to the swamp but I put out some buck lure over a scrape and figured it may pull a buck out of there. Well it was quiet until 7am I hear a loud branch snap, figured it was the squirrels I was watching I ignored it when suddenly I look up and there's a big rack standing at 20yds and on the move, it happened so fast from the time he stepped out of the swamp, all I saw was big main beams and wide, I had to stand up and turn around while drawing my bow as he came strolling by on a mission. He walked under me at under 10yds, I aimed high on the shoulder and released, he took off and stopped at 30yds and the bow hunters best feeling happened, he did the drunk dance and was down. I've only ever hunted south jersey considered the pines and bucks this size are few and far between so I'm very happy to harvest my best buck to date. He's busted up pretty bad, one browtine broken, the G3 on his left side looks like it broke off in velvet and the tips of 2 other tines are chipped but he should be a 9pt. 18.5" wide inside to inside and I didn't weigh him yet but it's the biggest bodied deer I've ever killed too and my back is going to feel it from dragging him out and loading him by myself. After I got him loaded I went and collected all my cameras and had a bigger 10pt come out this morning at my other spot so I'd say things are heating up and I just can't wait to go back next year
Edited by jerseybowhunter, 11/10/16 - 09:43 PM.