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Phill Aldahl

First Archery Buck (Story & Pics)

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First Off, I want to thank all of you for the information that is provided through all of your posts. Everyday it is a joy to come onto FM. I hunt public land near Mankato, MN and always on the ground. Last year I was fortunate to connect with my first archery doe in my first year bow hunting on this same piece of land. Here is the lay of the land:

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A buddy and I headed out to the woods at 2:45 and we were in the woods by 3:30 or so. I was going to sit on the second finger but couldn't find a suitable spot so I called my buddy who said "walk back to the first point and sit in my spot" (he had been seeing deer from this spot before). My buddy decided to walk down in the second point and find a spot. The spot he was sitting in was a great spot for ground hunting. An old oak tree that came up from the ground in three parts so you could stand in the middle and have clear shots in every direction as well as staying concealed.

By the time I got situated it was nearing 4 pm. The wind was blowing hard, 20 mph with gusts nearing 30 mph. The worst part was it was blowing at my back sending my scent out in front of me where I had my best shooting lane. The only good thing is that it was getting cold and I knew with the storm that blew through the day before the deer were going to be moving.

At 4:30 pm another friend entered the woods and sat on the corner of woods on the bean field (also where he had been seeing deer and where there was heavily traveled trails).

At 5:30 pm, and after not seeing a deer yet, I talked to my buddy on the second point and we decided that he would push a drive at 6:30, just before shooting time. He would push towards where I was sitting and where my other friend was sitting.

At 6 pm the wind started to die down a little and there was some quiet times between the gusts of wind. Every time the wind died down I would hear something at the scrape on the left side. It sounded like something was rustling in the leaves, but I could never make out anything. And this went on for about 15 minutes, the wind would die down and I would hear something. Finally at about 6:15 he made his way out of the brush and into the grass, I thought he was a 6 pointer. He turned and started walking down the deer trail that ran perpendicular 10 yards away from me. I knew this could go one of two ways. He could get downwind of me and smell me, take off and I would never get a shot, or he would just go about his business continuing down the path to work his other scrape. As he came down the path he got behind the tree was standing in and I drew. He kept coming down the path and he was just about in my shooting lane. I narrowed my pin on him just as he looked up like he had caught wind of me, so I let the arrow fly. The shot looked like it was just a hair back and just a hair high but still a good shot (Although that all changed).

I proceeded to call both of my friends and tell them the news. The friend on the second point was still pushing his unneeded drive, but cut it off and walked around where I thought the deer had went. We then looked around at where he was standing when I shot and looked for blood coming up empty handed. I managed to somehow find the arrow in the tall grass, a mini miracle. The blood on the arrow was good, bright pink. The blood on the ground, however, was not. We didn't find any blood until about 50 yards from where I shot him, where he had stopped for a little bit. It was one spot about the size of half a dime. Not looking good at this point. I decided to walk to the truck to get a better light and left my two friends searching. Before I left I showed them where I had last seen it. When I got back to the truck 20 minutes later I called to see if they had found anymore blood. They did, another spot the same size as the previous one 30 yards away from the first blood. Again, not looking good. I told them to come back to the truck and we would look in the morning when there was better light.

We went back out in the morning and found good blood in the back of the field and tracking from there was easy. All in all he ran roughly 125 yards. The only bad thing is that the coyotes found him before I did. They ate one of the hind quarters, but left the two shoulders and the other hind in tack. Made me mad, but I think the right call was made to back out. The shot was better than I thought, just about perfect, getting both lungs. There also wasn't any ground shrinkage, actually he gained two points. An 8 pointer with a 13 3/4" spread. Not a huge deer, but a trophy in my book being my first buck ever and first archery buck. Sorry about the blood I didn't have anything to clean it off with.

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congrats. Glad to see its not the big boy i took part of this week off work to cahse. I hunt very close to that location, on private land. Good job nice buck!!

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Phill:

Very, very cool. Congratulations on getting it done!

Also, I really liked the imagery with some on-screen editing. Being a map guy, and just a hunter, I think anyone can appreciate the story being painted like you did it. Really puts us "there"!

Joel

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Great job on that buck. I have a question tho, is the rest of the meat good? I have never had that problem having to leave it overnight and coming in the morning and finding the thing eaten on. Do you just take all but that hind?

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Yeah we are actually cutting it up right now. The one hind and back strap were no good, maybe could have salvaged some of it. I hear of some guys leaving a deer lay after the coyotes have gotten to them, but I feel like that is a waste and when three of the four quarters are still good, why not?

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Congrats on the deer! I was actually scouting out that area where you shot that buck last week....was planning on hunting it this weekend. Do your buddies still plan on hunting that area? I think I might try another location now :-)

Dustin

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I know exactly where the deer was shot. I turkey hunt there occasionally. That is a some rough country if that deer was found down the hill at all. Congrats on that deer. It is not an easy area to access.

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