September 22, 2010
After going through two tough seasons on his deer lease because of logging and cow issues, Matt Carter was really looking forward to the 2007 season. He wasn't disappointed!
The author's awesome main-frame 6x6 brute sported a drop tine on the left side and a split brow tine on the right. The Missouri dream buck grossed 177 4/8, but after deductions it netted 169 2/8 non-typical.
My deer-hunting career began in 2000 at the age of 27. I've always been an outdoorsman, but it wasn't until November 2000 that I started deer hunting after being invited to hunt with neighbors. I jumped at the chance. That year I harvested my first deer, a nice 10-pointer. I've been hooked ever since. I started bowhunting the next year. Later, with help from friends, I found a 200-acre farm to lease in Callaway County, Missouri.
I shared the lease with Matt Seger and Terry Wells. Several other friends own or lease ground in the same area. Prior to the 2007 season, the previous few years of hunting on this farm were tough. The land was logged in 2005 during prime hunting time. In 2006 we had cow issues. But by the summer of 2007, the woods had started to thicken up from the logging and the fields had recovered from the previous cattle problem. We were excited.
Since our lease has a good mix of woods, fields and creek bottoms, we decided to put in some food plots. We planted several plots of clover, wheat, turnips and other whitetail mixes. We also put out trail cameras in the hopes that the new food plots would draw in some really nice bucks. By the time the 2007 bow season arrived, I had a good collection of pictures from the cameras, including a couple of nice bucks.
Bow season turned out to be quite warm, and I did not see much buck activity. I was able to harvest a nice mature doe early in the season. After that, I concentrated on hunting for a mature buck. I was looking forward to the last week of bow season, as I always take off from work and hunt the week before gun season.
THE FIREARMS OPENER
The last week of bow season came and went. Even though I passed on a few medium-sized bucks, I was disappointed that I never saw a mature buck. The good news was that rifle season started the next morning, and I had already decided where I was going to set up. I made sure my Remington Model 700 BDL 7mm Magnum was sighted in. I had no doubt that, if given the opportunity, I could make a great shot.
A cold front was supposed to move though by midweek, and I was ready to start seeing some buck movement. The rut could start at any time, and even though it had been a lackluster season so far, I knew that things could change very quickly.
I'm not much on tree stand hunting during rifle season, so I decided to set up on hillside that overlooked a food plot and creek bottom. This was the same spot where I had shot a decent 8-pointer the year before. I set up in a spot that gave me a good view of the food plot and a decent view of the bottom area.
About an hour into the hunt, a doe walked within 10 feet of me. I was hoping that a buck might be following, but no such luck. By 11 a.m., not much had happened. I decided to make the hike back to camp and see if anyone had seen any bucks. On my way out, I spooked a nice buck from some treetops that were piled up in a creek bottom. I scouted around the area for a few minutes and decided that I would hunt that area when I returned.
A PROMISING AFTERNOON
I took a quick lunch break and headed back out. I found a good spot on a really steep hillside where I could see the creek bottom. Several hours went by and the wind began to pick up. Leaves were falling off the trees in bunches. This was making it harder to see or catch any movement from deer. I decided to shift my vantage point to keep the sun out of my eyes. About 10 minutes later, I noticed movement to the left and looked over to see what appeared to be a nice buck standing at the edge of the creek. I quickly moved to get into shooting position. I raised my rifle and looked though the scope, but the deer was gone.
After a couple of lackluster seasons of hunting on leased property in Missouri, Matt Carter ended the 2007 season with this heavy-framed brute. The big buck netted 169 2/8 non-typical.
The buck was moving through the creek bottom, but there was no way I could get a shot. I could see only portions of the rack as the deer moved through the cover. I decided to move about five feet to my left so I could rest my gun against a small tree and take better aim. Just as I moved, the buck exited the creek bottom the same way he had gone in. He was now facing away from me. I had him in my sights, but I knew I had to wait for him to turn so I could get a good broadside shot.
I made a few loud hoots in the hopes of getting his attention, but he was about 100 yards away and the wind and leaves were too loud for him to hear me. I watched him in my scope for what seemed like hours. In reality I knew the elapsed time was only a few seconds. My heart was pounding as I waited for the right shot, and I knew that if he started moving away I'd never be able to shoot. Finally he turned slightly to the left and I was able to fire a round. I watched though the scope as his back legs kicked up and he ran off.
END OF THE TRAIL
He quickly went out of sight. I gathered my thoughts and tried to breathe normally. I was confident I had made a good shot. I grabbed my things and ran to the area where he'd been standing. When I arrived I was shocked to find no sign of blood. I knew it had been a quartering-away shot, and I expected to find a massive amount of blood.
I looked the area over, and my heart sank at the thought that I might have missed. Unsure at this point if I had made a good shot, and not wanting to track him too soon in case the shot had not been dead on, I decided to walk about 30 yards in the direction I had last seen him run. I went about 20 yards and found the first drop of blood. Then I looked up the hillside and I could see a trail of blood. I knew at this point that my shot had been right on target, and I quickly ran up the hillside to find him.
When I first saw him piled up on the ground, I let out a yell that I'm sure was heard for miles. He was awesome. I never had the time to count points before the shot. I now discovered that he was a wide main-frame 6x6 with a drop tine on one side and a split brow on the other.
It was now 3:45 p.m. and I decided to hea
d back to camp. I hoped that one of my buddies had heard me shoot and yell, but no one was around. I then decided to go back and field dress the buck while everyone else hunted the last hours of daylight. Once I got back to the buck, though, I realized that in all the excitement, I had forgotten my hunting pack containing my knives. So I sat and waited for the sun to set.
After dark, I headed back to camp. My buddies asked what I had seen. I told them that I shot a buck, but I didn't let on how big he was. I asked several friends to help me drag him out, and we all hopped in the truck. When we reached the buck and walked up to him, everyone was speechless. We began high-fiving and jumping around like school kids.
Word soon spread from camp to camp, and quite a few people showed up to see the buck that night. The best part was that all my friends were there to celebrate with me. My buck field dressed at 200 pounds and grossed 177 4/8 inches. For me, he was truly the buck of a lifetime!€