We had some great rutting action in MO during our late October/early November bowhunt. My buddy (Ernie) and his guest (John) arrived a day ahead of me (10/28). I got a call from Ernie mid-day on the 29th brainstorming where to send John for that afternoon's hunt for a N wind. We settled on one of my ladder stands near an old stock pond. Late that afternoon he shot this 10 point that fell within sight of the stand. I arrived there just in time to help drag. Fortunately...a real short drag.
After we got ~3" of snow that evening, activity slowed down for the next 2 days. The bucks we were seeing were all young.
The wind was perfect for one of my favorite stands the afternoon of Nov. 1st. It's positioned in a brushy flat where 2 bends of a big creek creates a large peninsula...great bedding area. I headed to the stand shortly after lunch. The 1st buck I saw was around 2:45...a 3 year old 10 point I have on cams. Real short G4's but nice to finally see a buck over 2 years old. About 30 minutes later I see movement in brush about 100 yards away SW of me. A rack buck behind a doe. Wow...he's tending her! I finally see he's a nice 10 point (didn't see the split brow tine yet). She slowly works her way toward me, pausing to feed along the way. The buck just maintains a 15 yard distance or so behind her, watching her every move. Seemed like forever but finally the doe passes trough a trail to my right and stops to feed a bit just inside my 28 yard tree NW of me. The buck pauses just beyond my 31 yard tree W of me slightly quartering toward me with his eyes fixed on her. Then I felt a wind shift...this gig is about to be over if she winds me so it was now or never. I turned my arrow loose and he hits the ground after a loud "CRACK". My 1st thought was...reload!!! That kind of sound and his hitting the dirt had me thinking spine shot so I didn't hesitate to stick a 2nd arrow in him. Turned out not to be spine but he didn't go 10' from where I 1st hit him. I like those kind of tracking jobs!
Ernie had seen a big 8 but well out of range in early October. During that trip we set a Millennium 360 Revolution hang-on stand covering the trails he used to enter a bean field to be ready for the rut. The wind was perfect for it the afternoon of Nov. 3rd. Around 4:00 he said he saw the big 8 chasing a doe (he thinks it was that buck anyway). The doe came trotting in and stopped 15 yards from the stand...squatted and dropped some fresh doe urine. A buck charged to the spot and stopped and he said he assumed it was the big 8 and put an arrow in him. Obviously, Ernie was real confused to find this 10 point instead of the 8 at the end of his tracking job. We all are!!! Gotta love it!
We are down to the last afternoon of the trip now (Nov. 7th) with just 2 hunters left with buck tags. My son (Bailey) was hunting where I got a huge 8 on cams a few days earlier. Our young buddy Scott decides to hunt a stand in the timber between 2 standing corn fields where I'd been getting pics of a mature main frame 9 point with split brow tines on both sides. They both decided to head to the stand early. Around 2:15 I get a text from Scott asking if I can come pick him up...he'd just shot his target buck. He hadn't been in the stand 15 minutes when the buck came cruising through on a trail inside the 20 yard line. Flash hunt. That's the 3rd buck he's killed on the last afternoon out of the 4 Missouri bucks he's killed there with us.
Bailey didn't see a shooter during his limited time of 3 days to hunt but he did pass a 3 year old 8 (135 class) we have on cams. I was proud of him for his decision to pass that buck. Made it easy looking a daylight trail cam pics from 2 days earlier of that big 8 that's somewhere around there. That 8 will be one of the bucks I'll be looking for come the MO gun season opener this coming Saturday. Headed back Friday.