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It's been a great deer season this fall with plenty of close encounters with younger bucks. I had shooting opportunities on about a dozen two year old bucks during the bow season. I can't remember when I had so many deer close with a bow. The trouble was I couldn't get close to a good mature buck. On November 2nd, I had a nice four year old buck show up but he was just a little too far, and a little too much downwind and so went the season.
I was finally able to connect on Monday, the opening day of our late season muzzleloader season. I was hunting with a good friend near one of his destination food plot areas. Two acres of corn, two acres of clover and two acres of brassica laced with turnips had drawn about fifteen deer as darkness settled in. We like to hunt the late season for good reason, the big boys start to give up on girls and return back to the food before winter sets in. This mature buck finally made a mistake by showing up on to eat some turnips just before dark. The buck has a distinctive rack making him easy to track by cameras. His right side has been deformed for the past couple of years. Last year he had a 15 inch club like growth on the end of his deformed beam, this fall he grew a thin eyeguard and a stunted beam. As with most antler deformities it looks like an injury to his leg created the malformed antler. His right front leg showed signs of injury, although I haven't been able to find a definitive wound the muscle mass was half that of the other healthy leg. His other antler beam and tines are perfect, nice and heavy, exactly what you would expect from a mature buck.
Based on the photo history the "club buck" should be between five and six years old.
A great end to an enjoyable
Years of hard work paid off with the harvest of this mature deer. Oh, Dave had a little payback that same night, we doubled up. Dave harvested a great mature buck on the same evening. Not too shabby for two friends on a managed property during the NY late season.