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Swamp Buck

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My 2017 deer season is off to a good start.  I was lucky enough to get drawn for a local public ground 7-day hunt from October 1st - 7th.

The area is very flat and swampy but holds an abundance of wildlife.

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While I was lucky to get drawn, I wasn't as lucky with the weather. I had been successful in years past hunting a field corner from a large Sycamore tree but this year was HOT and HUMID with temps in the 80's and periods of rain and storms throughout many of the 7 days. While I was seeing deer from the stand they were all does or small bucks.

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After a a few days I decided I needed to find a new location if I was going to put my tag on a buck. I decided to move a half mile north to a large area of timber bordering tall grass and a swampy area (thinking this might be where the bucks were bedding).

The first evening I was glassing from my stand in the timber and about an hour before dark and I could just make out a decent buck about 120 yards away. I looked closer and could see he was drinking from what appeared to be a small pond I wasn't aware of previously. He moved on after a minute or so and more does filtered in. It was very difficult to see them through the early October foliage but I knew the next evening my stand would be set up on that murky mosquito infested pond.

The next evening brought more humidity and temps in the high 80's. Thank the Lord for my Thermacell. A small 5 point came out and was drinking and eating the scum on the pond for an hour. A couple does joined him a little later but the bigger bucks were not to be found this evening.  Below is the 5 pointer viewed from my pond stand.

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Thursday evening (day 5 of the 7 day hunt) brought the worst weather of all. It was the first time I had to hunt without my glasses because they would continually fog up while on stand.  Of all the days I brought my water bottle this was the one I forgot it.

Finally, at 5:30pm the buck I had seen earlier came out of the timber from behind me (right under my stand). He could smell the ground I had walked on and got a little spooked. He bolted quickly but made a mistake that cost him. He stopped at 30 yards turned and looked back giving me a quartering away shot with my TenPoint crossbow. The shot was perfect - hitting both lungs. The buck ran about 50 yards and crashed. 

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I'd like to say this is where the story ends... but it's not.

After gutting the buck it got dark on me I had a long haul to get him back to my truck. The timber I was hunting had swampy areas that are impassable on foot. Trying to navigate in the dark with it being so hot and humid was not going to be easy.  Indeed I got turned around and came out of the timber in a location twice as far from the primary trail I intended to reach. I knew where I was but had to go back through that swamp in complete darkness. I wanted to rest but the mosquitoes were relentless keeping me on the move. After another hour I was finally out of the swamp and on the main trail but still a long distance from my truck when it hit me. I got light headed, nauseated, and felt like I was going to pass out. As a nurse I knew I was severely dehydrated and suffering from exhaustion.  I sat a while and got up and tried to drag the deer and about fell over again. I was now getting a little worried. This is when having a charged cell phone and good hunting buddy comes in handy. I called my friend Dave and he was happy to come out and help me get the deer to my truck. I spent some time re-hydrating in the air condition of my truck and after an hour felt well enough to drive home. It was the first time I had experienced dehydration and hopefully the last.

Edited by fly

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Nice swamp buck Frank.  Congratulations. 

Been turned around before tracking in the river bottom(swamps) here, easy to do in the dark where the willows and cover are so thick in the early season.  

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No kidding - heading in a direction from the GPS wasn't too helpful as the swampy terrain wouldn't allow me to drag a buck in that direction. I'll place reflectors on the trees marking the way in and out next time. There were areas I only had a few feet of dry land to walk across. He's not the giant I'm used to seeing out there but was the biggest buck I saw in my week long hunt and I was glad to get him.

Edited by fly

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Congrats Frank! He's a nice buck man. The weather has been so crummy and warm here it looks like a water hole is the place to be. I just really struggle with the mental drive to make it out when it's in the 80's, your soaked from sweat, and mosquito's are buzzing in my ears. Kudos for sticking with it.   

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Beautiful buck Frank, congrats! 

I'm also hesitant on shooting something when its that warm. I like to let the deer hang for a few days minimum before skinning it. Usually it's down around the freezing mark here this time of year at night and low 50s during the day. Once it starts hitting 60+ you don't have much time to let them hang.

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Thanks everyone. Indeed Shaun - I had that deer gutted within an hour and had him iced within 4 hours from the time he expired. I wrapped him in a tarp and butchered the following AM. The bacon wrapped tenderloins were fantastic!

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On 10/10/2017 at 9:04 AM, MUDRUNNER said:

....... I just really struggle with the mental drive to make it out when it's in the 80's, your soaked from sweat, and mosquito's are buzzing in my ears. Kudos for sticking with it.   

Yep, gotta agree with Tim on that.  Skeeters are so bad here right now thermacell does not stop them.  A face mask or head net is about the only way to keep them off your face and out of your ears.  Then here too you have everything so thick still and the rotten lowbellies are very active making tracking on your hands and knees a bit nerve racking.  

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Nice buck Frank...congratulations!!!

Been there before with dehydration too.  Not something I want to go through again either.

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Congrats on the buck Frank!  You always tell such great stories.  I'm glad everything worked out for you and you had someone to call.

Edited by RangerClay

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