My Little Slice of Paradise

It’s been a long while since my last update… 3 kids under 4 years old will do that! We had a slow turkey season this year with two jakes and a big longbeard coming off the place but it took a lot of hunting to accomplish that.


Prior to turkey season we burned off my front field again with great results, and I hired a dozer operator to clear out some trees. Now, I have a local farmer cash renting about 7 acres of tillable at the front of my place. He planted beans in late June but they had good growing conditions



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After a good season last year where we killed 4 nice bucks off my place, we decided we wanted to raise our standards on bucks for a few years and see how much better we can make the hunting on my place. We had been using an age-based harvest system for many years, and were consistently shooting bucks slightly younger than what we thought they were at the time we pulled the trigger. The majority of these bucks scored between 115-135”. With this in mind, we decided to go to a 140” minimum this year. The only exceptions will be made for deer we know are 5.5+ based on years of trail camera observation. The following deer is 5.5 and is so far the most consistent “shooter” on the property even though I don’t know that he’ll score 140”

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To elaborate on why we decided 140” minimum:
1. We have been consistently killing 3.5 year and older bucks, many with our bows, for several years now.
2. We have trouble judging deer on the hoof in the moment of truth. Many 2.5’s look 3.5 and many 3.5’s can look 4.5 in the heat of the moment. Figuring it out when they are on the ground is sometimes disappointing when you’ve been fooled.
3. None of us have killed many deer over 130”. For us to take it to the next level, we are going to have to up our standards.
4. Our neighborhood supports our management goals… we have 725 acres and share a long border with a 1300 acre property that practices QDM. We know many neighbors who manage for 140”+ deer. We are honestly part of the problem when it comes to increasing the overall age structure in our neighborhood. We have taken many solid 115-130” 3.5 year old bucks that would no doubt have been 140’s in another year or two.
5. Our property layout supports getting deer to the next age level. We have been able to watch deer mature and spend large portions of their daylight activity on our property. This gives us confidence to let those high potential deer walk in the hopes they are around the following year. Our top buck this year has been a regular since he was 3.5.

Now onto the 2021 deer season:
Jonathan and I went on a backpack elk and bear hunt in the Flat Tops Wilderness area in September this year. We packed in 6.5 miles and 1500’ of elevation gain before we setup camp. Unfortunately, Jonathan came down with High Altitude Pulmonary Edema as soon as we got up there. We hunted 1.5 days but by midway through the first full day of hunting it was clear that something was wrong. His lungs were filling up with fluid and he couldn’t catch his breath. It took him 30 minutes to catch his breath after lying down for bed the second night. A prolonged coughing fit in the middle of the night had us making plans for getting off the mountain. Thank God he was able to hike out on his own. The Meeker hospital confirmed his diagnosis and the wisdom in coming off the mountain when we did. All that action out West had the farm untouched during the first few weeks of the season.

I decided to take my 2.5 yr old son Robby to the farm with me for a hunt from the red neck blind. He has been begging to go for a long time so we took a Friday off and headed to the blind. He is still way too young to understand much about hunting, but we saw a lot of deer and had a good time. He brought his bow with suction cup arrows along so he could shoot deer also… :)





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To summarize 2021 season… no bucks! My top 2 bucks disappeared in early November and we did not see or have pictures of a single deer meeting the 140” minimum during the season. But we let some good mature bucks walk and have several prospects for next year.

The ones that disappeared:


The survivors:



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Season recap:
My uncle killed a 138” 10-pt, which was one of our two primary target bucks that we had identified as frequent users of the property:



While I chased his buddy, a larger bodied, but smaller racked 10-point we called the narrow 10. Here the two are together in October, with the narrow 10 shown on the left:

I ended up seeing the narrow 10 twice from the stand, once within 90 yards, but never got him within bow range. He disappeared for the entire month of November and I thought he was dead, but he showed back up in December and hung around at least until he dropped his sheds in January:

Hunting time was limited this year as I build my own house as the GC and electrician, but the farm continues to grow nice bucks every year and the future is very bright for next year.

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I’m very excited to have ended the chase on 10/22/2023

for this incredible animal. After observing this deer for the first time in September of 2022 with all 3 kids in the blind with me, to multiple encounters throughout last season, this deer was at the top of my list of targets heading into this season. After 4 encounters with him this season, I showed my older son Robby (he’s “four and a half”) an aerial photo of where I planned to hunt yesterday and asked him where I needed to climb up. Without hesitation, he told me, and I followed his advice. Shortly before dark, 4 does came out in the distance right next to the “other” spot and I was questioning my decision to take his advice. Minutes later, I heard something coming up a logging road next to me and this buck stepped into view, directly downwind of the “other” spot (ok, good job Robby ). He slowly meandered into range and stopped broadside at 25 yards, where I was able to send an arrow through him. He ran 80 yds downhill and crashed within seconds. I’ll never forget the memories of this day and the time I spent chasing this deer. I believe he is 5.5 years old based on my history with him. He weighed 237lbs on the hoof and 180lbs field dressed according to my scale. He is my biggest buck and I couldn’t be happier with him. I am very thankful for my wife, who puts up with my obsession over these animals and keeps the household running like a well oiled machine even when I’m gone. I’m thankful for Robby, who picked the perfect spot to hunt yesterday. I’m thankful for the opportunities to go out and enjoy God’s creation, and I’m thankful for my Uncle Dave being around to help me get this thing out of the woods!

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