We woke to howling winds. Forecast called for gusts to 45mph and even in the darkness it was probably close to that. Our options were limited but you just never know so we headed out.
I was the first to be dropped off. I climbed up the stand called the Condo which is out in the open and you can see for miles around. The stand is in a giant lone cottonwood and is surrounded by plumb thickets. I did have some does come in early and they were soon followed by a small eight. They came and went as I continued to watch the surroundings for a mature buck. At 7:30AM I spotted one. It was a solo buck with a great frame. From a distance I could not seen his left beam tines so I was a little concerned he may have been busted. He walked over a 1000 yards before plunging into a plumb thicket and bedding down. The wind gusts were 30mph sustained with gusts over 40. This big buck was entirely killable given where he went and the high winds. I called Kent and he came to attempt and video the stalk.
It took us all of 20 minutes. I stopped to glass with my Minox binoculars often and kept pushing forward to where I had last seen the buck. Kent was behind me the entire time with my video camera. As I got to the general area where I saw him bed, I spotted him. He was 5 yards from me facing in the opposite direction - sound asleep.
I motioned to Kent: "Buck was 5 yards away."
I had a perfect shot at him. I could have killed him instantly and ended my hunt. But my glassing suspicions were confirmed. He was totally busted on his left beam. His G1 and G3 were gone. Since he was only an 8 to begin with there was no way I could shoot him. I was sick too, I could have killed this buck by stalking and he was a big, heavy 5.5+ year old mature buck. On video too! I was tempted. The stalk and video would have been worth it. But that left beam was ugly so I motioned to Kent that I was not going to shoot him. Just for kicks I drew on him just to goof on all of you watching the live hunt. I grunted twice and woke him up, then I moved a little and he bounded off. Too much fun!
The other guys saw very little this AM. But my hunt will be one of those memories will stick. Very cool.
Saw absolutlely nothing this afternoon. The winds were ridiculous and 30 minutes before last light thunderstorms moved in. The weather is changing and the next few days should be great. But this afternoon was a write-off. Jake saw a couple of bucks and so did Ron.