Taken in Edgecombe County

Taken in Edgecombe County. Jawbone wear estimates suggest the buck was 3.5 years old.

I checked my trail cameras on October 26th to find out a buck I had been following had not only appeared back on my hunting property, but had spent a substantial amount in a soybean field bordering a fallow field. I reviewed the photos for what seemed like hours in order to determine the best type of approach to harvest him.

I had left this hunting tract undisturbed, other than a few trail cameras. I had decided that Tuesday afternoon, if my schedule allowed, I would quickly erect a stand along the edge of the soybeans. I did exactly that…in the rain. I let the stand sit idle for a day and planned to hunt it Thursday, since the wind was predicted to be perfect.

Thursday evening I spotted one doe that spent the majority of the evening out in the field browsing. She walked to the edge of the fallow field and out of the brush, not 10 yards from where I sat, her fawn appeared. Another small spike was also spotted but spent very little time in the open field.

The buck sported 8 points and impressive brow tines over 6 inches long

The buck sported 8 points and impressive brow tines over 6 inches long

With 20 minutes of shooting left remaining, I heard a twig snap roughly 30 yards behind me. I spotted a buck but was unsure if it was the mature buck I wanted to tag. I could tell her was mature, but wanted to make sure he was the buck I was after.  One look through the tulip poplar branches with my binoculars proved he was. He swaggered out of the fallow field into the soybean field and froze. I waited patiently for several minutes, hoping he would walk further out into the field where a broadside shot would be provided. This didn’t happen. The large buck froze just a few yards into the field edge. With legal shooting light fading, and not knowing how long he would stick around, I took a 30 yard shot through a basketball-sized opening in the branches. A neck shot instantly dropped the buck.

To top it off, this buck was taken on a 40 acre hunting tract. The same tract where over the past three years, a turkey hen with an 11 inch beard was taken, along with a gobbler with a 12 inch beard, and two other eight point bucks. One buck was an estimated 5.5 years old according to the jawbone wear. There have also been a few does harvested off that property.

A trail camera photo taken days before he was harvested

A trail camera photo taken days before he was harvested

We would all like to have hundreds of acres to hunt but just because you don’t, doesn’t mean you are at a disadvantage. Thousands of deer are harvested every year off of smaller properties. Don’t overlook these small tracts when searching for land to buy. A smaller tract doesn’t mean smaller results.

Andrew Walters