1991 Flash Back

Stories of your favorite gobbler hunts.
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HunterGKS
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1991 Flash Back

Post by HunterGKS » July 24th, 2020, 1:05 pm

I was looking around on my PC for something & ran across this story from 1991.
It was published in the Buckmasters magazine.

Burglar Leads to Good Buck
By George Swartzfager


It was November 1st, 1991 as my hunting partner, Jack, and I searched the stubble
field for sign, my heart sank. We had been tracking the whitetail buck for 3 hours
and had lost the blood-trail about 10 feet into the field from the edge of the woods.
I just knew we had lost the first deer I had ever shot with a bow.

The week-long October hunt in the Birch River area of West Virginia had started on a
less than auspicious note the prior Friday. I had left my home in Florida at 10:00 A.M.
on Thursday and, after spending the night in South Carolina, arrived at camp at
1:00 P.M. on Friday to find that our cabin had been burglarized.

We had been at the camp the previous May for spring gobbler season. Normally, we
take all of our hunting gear with us. But this trip, we decided to leave quite a bit of
it along with the usual cooking utensils, beds, heater, tools, and such. What hadn’t
been stolen was smashed beyond repair. What a great way to start a hunting trip!

Thanks to the good hearts and generosity of Abb and Clint Bragg, a couple of retired
West Virginia natives, we were able to continue our hunt. The Braggs own a house at
the confluence of 4 valleys which they allowed us to use for the week.

Since Jack prefers turkey hunting rather than bow-hunting for whitetails, he spent the
week turkey hunting and seeing deer all around his blinds. Naturally, I didn’t even see
a tail let alone be able to get a shot at a whitetail.

Needless to say, by the last day of our hunt, I was pretty discouraged. I took a ground
stand at the base of an earthen dam built years earlier by a mining company. I sat there
contemplating my bad luck, snapping a few scenic photos, whittling a stick, and basically
feeling sorry for myself, never expecting to see a deer let alone a buck.

At about 7:40 A.M., I heard something coming up the mountain to my left. I picked up my
bow and stood facing in the direction of the noise. A few moments later, a deer crested
the dam and appeared to be a 6 point. I came to full draw and followed the deer until he
was broadside to me before releasing. The deer disappeared. I thought I heard the arrow
hit, the deer fall, get up, and fall again, then silence. I gathered my equipment and walked
to the top of the dam, about 9 yards, fully expecting to find the buck.

There was no buck and no visible blood-sign. As I continued to look for sign, and to berate
myself for missing such a close shot, I noticed the fletching of my arrow protruding from the
grass about 10 feet BEHIND where the buck had stood. How could I have missed so badly?
There were no obstructions to deflect the arrow. I pulled the arrow from the grass, discovering
that the broadhead and 4 inches of the shaft were broken off and the shaft was covered with
blood for about 15 inches. The buck must have fallen and broken off the shaft. When he got
back up, I guess the arrow flipped around behind him.

I had not found any sign and spent the next 1 ½ hour’s circle-searching the field below the dam
before I found the blood-trail. Jack appeared on the ridge 100 yards below me and asked if I
had shot a buck. I yelled back that I had and had just found the blood-trail.

He had been turkey hunting several hundred yards down the mountain side and had almost been
run over by the buck. It had left a good blood-trail, which we picked up from his blind.

We spent the next 3 hours trailing the buck down the mountain towards our temporary camp. We
jumped him 3 times, but I could not get a clear shot.

The field where we lost the trail is bordered on one side by a small stream. On the other side of
the stream are an abandoned trailer and a small country cemetery. We felt that the deer might
have crossed the stream and bedded on the other side in a laurel patch. Jack stayed in the field
to make sure the buck didn’t sneak out undetected. I walked through the field to the logging road
at the base of the mountain and worked my way up about 50 yards to the cemetery. I carefully
peeked over a small ridge to the flat on which the trailer stood. There was my buck! He was lying
at the steps of the trailer within 150 yards of camp.

It was a beautiful 8 pointer that grossed 117 7/8 inches and netted 116 6/8, almost perfect. After
giving thanks for finding the deer and to the buck for giving himself to me, I called to Jack to let
him know we had been successful. This deer will always be the most special to me no matter the
size or number of deer I harvest in my lifetime. I can’t think of a better way to end a hunt, especially
one that had started out as badly as this one had.

George K. Swartzfager
Bloomville, Ohio
1991 Deer.jpg
1991 Deer_0001.jpg
91.jpg
1991 Deer_0002.jpg
1991 Deer - Jack & I.jpg
George

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR BODY STILL. YOUR HEART JUST HASN'T CAUGHT ON.

.17 = NITRO OF THE RIMFIRE WORLD


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HunterGKS
Gobbler Nation
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Location: North Central Ohio

Re: 1991 Flash Back

Post by HunterGKS » July 24th, 2020, 1:32 pm

I shore is glad that I fixed da title error afour Ronnie or Billie dun seen it or theyda
been busting me on age forever & tomorree!!!!
George

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR BODY STILL. YOUR HEART JUST HASN'T CAUGHT ON.

.17 = NITRO OF THE RIMFIRE WORLD


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SwampDrummin
Posts: 539
Joined: January 5th, 2016, 5:38 pm

Re: 1991 Flash Back

Post by SwampDrummin » July 27th, 2020, 4:18 am

Nice to hear the story behind your photo tag. That’s a classic. Thanks for sharing.

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HunterGKS
Gobbler Nation
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Posts: 3904
Joined: January 2nd, 2013, 5:12 pm
Location: North Central Ohio

Re: 1991 Flash Back

Post by HunterGKS » July 27th, 2020, 10:28 am

SwampDrummin wrote:
July 27th, 2020, 4:18 am
Nice to hear the story behind your photo tag. That’s a classic. Thanks for sharing.
Thx, I appreciate it & you're welcome.
George

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR BODY STILL. YOUR HEART JUST HASN'T CAUGHT ON.

.17 = NITRO OF THE RIMFIRE WORLD


Image

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