-By Rich Miller
This weekend was pretty discouraging as far as trying to manage our property and grow a quality whitetail buck. My parents own a little 50-acre piece of property that we refer to as “The Farm.” I live within just a few minutes of The Farm and am there several days a week. My father and I work all year planting food plots, trees, and doing everything within our means to attract and benefit all of the wildlife that we possibly can, especially the deer and turkey. For the most part, the other property owners around us try and do the same thing by letting the younger deer walk and trying to be somewhat selective about what they shoot. Of course there are still a few trigger-happy people on a couple pieces of property that think there is a never-ending supply of deer. Though these guys like to shoot everything that moves, it is legal and they have permission to hunt on the property. The ones that I have a problem with are the guys that do not have permission to hunt, ride the roads and try to shoot deer out of a truck window.
This story started back in the early spring when I started getting Game Spy photos of a bachelor group of bucks. I got photos of these bucks just about every week through the summer. There was one buck in particular that from the early stages of his antler growth you could tell that he was going to have a pretty good rack. Once he had a full rack it took me about three weeks to get a really good photo of the deer to get a good look at his rack and try to determine how old he was. The smaller bucks with him would always get right in front of the camera, but this buck would be in the background of the picture or he would always have his head down feeding. Eventually I placed a camera on a tripod in the middle of the food plot that he would hang out in all the time and got some good broadside pictures of him. After going through all of this to get his pictures, I nicknamed him “Slick.” Once I was able to get a good photo of him, I determined he was a three-year-old with a really nice eight-point rack. It was exciting to have a deer like this living on the property and even more exciting to think what he would look like next year.
I saw Slick on several different occasions after hunting season opened and kept getting game camera pictures of him about every week. It was really hard not to shoot this deer. For the area that I am hunting this is a better than average buck and some people would consider him a trophy. I just wanted to see him after he had one more year of age on him.
I got a call from my dad last Friday and he told me he was at one of the food plots that we call the salad patch. There was a really strong smell coming from the creek. He told me it smelled like something was dead. I walked down to the creek he was talking about Sunday afternoon and he was right, there was a real strong smell in the area. I made it down the creek about 50 yards and walked up on Slick. It appeared that he had been there for several days. The last picture I got of him had been about a week and a half before I found him. He was lying in the creek about 150 yards straight downhill from a road that borders the west side of our property. It looked as if someone had shot him from the road and he made it to the creek.
I appreciate you guys listening to me vent, but I just had to get this off my chest. We as hunters spend our time and hard earned dollars trying to make things better for the deer that we hunt. Though we are doing all this to ultimately kill them, we still love them too. When we hunt them it is done legally and ethically. I wish that the people who do things like this would think about this before they blatantly have disregard for other people’s property and hard work.