Since no one else has anything to say about this, I should add more of the story.
After a VERY slow morning, I spent the mid afternoon pheasant hunting with a guest. We did well, and they left for me to go out in the evening. I decided to hike into the pasture behind my in-laws farm.
There is a really nice stock dam about 1.5 miles west of their house. For those of you who are unfamiliar with midwest cattle farms, a stock dam is essentially a man made pond. Someone piles dirt and large rocks
into a draw making an artificial water source for cattle and/or wildlife. This dam in question is fenced off for the waterfowl and deer. It has a nice grove of trees shaped like a V, and even a small food plot of a millet
like plant called "buck and cock". The cover is great. It is at least 3/4 mile off of any gravel road, meaning it had the 4th important factor (besides - food, water, and cover) - lack of intrusion. It is set into the small rolling hills.
There are numerous draws and small hills and dimples that provide excellent cover for the deer to move around. Conversely, they provide excellent cover for a hunter to approach.
I came up to the 1 mile mark from the farm. I was on the peak of a hill and on a fence line. I glassed the buck and cock and spotted a doe feeding in the middle of the food plot. I knew if there was one deer, chances were that
there were at least 10-15 in that 5 acre area. I used the small draws to conceal my approach. About 500 yards out, I could see the deer moving through the tree lines. I'd see glimpses of body or antler, knowing the bucks were
moving the does around. I did hear what I would call Pepe L'peu buck chasing a doe. He was a small spike. The doe was running for her life from him as he grunted. I'll be nice and call it a grunt. He sounded more like a lamb.
Not that I want to cramp his style, but his chasing of this doe was comical.
After laughing at this, I saw him. He worked between two trees. I could see from behind that he was a nice wide deer. There were numerous basked racked 4 points (you probably call them 8 pts- SD only counts one side). My
heart jumped when he came to the view. Immediately I decided to approach the far side of the dam. If he stayed in the area, he would give me a 200 yard shot. I was nervous because where I had to be was just where pepe
and his doe friend were. No risk no gain, so I sneaked in.
Once in, I noticed the buck was chasing a doe aggressively. He had her running in and out of cover, and never gave me a good shot. Between my heavy breathing from a fast approach, his quick movements, and sudden turns, it
was not what I wanted. He pushed her toward the west side of the tree line. It's the actual dam part of the stock dam. It's essentially a 20-30 foot valley with trees, so they have cover from me. Given she had run in and out of
there over the last 10-15 minutes, I took the gamble that she would come out. After about 5 minutes, no deer, I was nervous.
My next choice was this...sit tight or move to where I last saw pepe and his doe. Moving to where they just were would either be a blessing (see the big guy) or a curse (push pepe and his doe out). I decided to be aggressive.
Usually, I'm more passive. But the rut was on in full, and they were focused on each other more than they were me. As I moved into position, I looked where the deer last were, no sign. I glanced to the left, and there he was.
He was about 150 yards away, and had already moved through the valley. He was moving pretty quickly. I double checked to make sure it was him, as there was only a side view. I could see the 3 points pointing up, and confirmed...
I placed the cross hairs on his shoulder and watched him walking, soon to be out of sight. I squeezed the trigger. I could hear the thud. Off he ran out of sight. It was 50 yards, but he made it around the hill where I couldn't see him
lay down. It was getting late, and I knew he was hit. I decided to pursue him to make sure he was down. As I came upon him, I found that he was hit hard in the liver. I made the call to my father in-law. He came out to the pasture
to help me load him. By that time, I had already gutted him.
It is the first deer that I've taken with 5 points on each side. At 20.5" wide, he is the widest as well. The one on my avatar is my second best at 17". He's a nice mature animal. I'm going to enjoy the meat and the mount.
I hope everyone else enjoys their season too.