With the last day of the Missouri archery season upon us, Nate and I knew it was time to get agressive! When the cold weather and snow rolls in, all the deer on my place tend to relocate to a big cedar thicket and really herd up. I typically do not go back into this sanctuary, but since it was the last day of season we decided we would give it a go. We slowly slipped through the timber taking note of the fresh tracks, beds, and droppings all around us. We didn’t want to push too far and bump deer, so when we found a tree that had several beat down trails around it we threw up the Muddy sticks and a couple hang-ons.
We were barely settled in when the deer started pouring out of the thicket. We had probably already seen 20+ deer when Nate spotted a buck headed right to us. He quickly noticed that he was missing one side and after I got the camera on him I knew right away what deer it was.
“Half Rack” is a 5.5 year old deer that has never grown a left side because of injury to his back right leg. This year he sported a big blood filled sack on his left side that had shrunken up and hardened to his face like a big blob, droptine mass. I have had several encounters with him throughout the season but was unable to put my tag on him.
I couldn’t believe that he was headed directly toward us closing the distance 30 yards at a time, stopping and looking around every so often just like old mature bucks do. Finally he got to about 30 yards and stopped – I thought it was game over. He seemed alert, like he knew something wasn’t right. Amazingly, he let his guard back down and turned to walk the trail less than 20 yds from the tree. Nate made a great shot and we watched him go down. Unfortunately he had since broke of or shed his droptine mass, but he is still an amazingly unique deer that Nate and I were very proud of.
What a fitting ending to our season here in MO. This is the first time in I don’t know how many years that I haven’t shot a buck in my home state, but I am completely okay with that. I got to be a part of Shawn shooting Junior, his biggest buck to date, on the very first day of season here in MO and then got to film Nate shooting Half Rack on the very last day of season. I certainly did a lot of hunting between those two days, but for 2011 those days will be the most memorable!