Idaho, 2008, DIY, Public Land
My north Idaho 2008 hunting season began no differently than any other. Around February, when the snow begins to melt, my father-in-law Allan and I roam the woods in search of shed antlers from the elusive whitetail bucks that we were not successful in harvesting the season before.
In spring of 2008, three particular sheds were picked up in an area where my family and I spend a significant amount of time hunting in the fall. Two of these sheds were a very large matched set. The other antler was a large single four-point that displayed the very same genetics. Genetics from all three sheds showed a unique curling of the main beam.
Life continued on the next few months while I wondered how this buck eluded me and my family’s hunting pressure for the past couple of years. My gut feeling told me that he lived there all year long and that I needed to change my hunting tactics in order to see him on the hoof.
When July rolled around, I began preparations for the upcoming fall hunting season. I scouted game trails, corridors, and funnels that deer could travel both pre-rut and during the rut. I just knew that this big buck found his home in the dark brushy draw below where I do all of my hunting in the fall. I hung some trail cameras and began journaling the activity I found. Once I determined the optimum locations, I hung two different tree stands.
In mid August, my tactics began to pay off when I captured on trail camera the buck I had been searching for. Once I saw his photo, I knew instantly it was the buck that had left behind the big sheds my father-in-law and I had found. I nicknamed him “Curly,” after the unique curling of his main beams.
When archery season opened in late August, I wasted no time crawling into one of my tree stands hoping for the opportunity of a lifetime. While occasionally being diverted to hunt elk, I kept after the big whitetail. The season pushed on and I only made trips to and from my trail cameras and tree stands. I didn’t want to add any additional hunting pressure for fear that the buck would go nocturnal.
When November arrived, I became even more excited; the rut was on its way and that this would be my best opportunity to harvest Curly. However, by the end of November I had not seen or caught Curly on trail camera again and I began to get worried that he might not show himself, or even worse, that he had already been taken by another hunter. Up to this point, I had passed up a number of good bucks from my tree stand just to keep the slightest opportunity at Curly still open.
For a full account of BiJay's adventure, go to page 34 in the December/January 2010 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.