It's here! Don't miss another incredible whitetail hunt on this week's all-new episode of THTV.. watch NOW! ... THTV joins Josh Treadway as he hunts for the buck of a lifetime in Missouri. Josh proves that even if things aren't going your way, if you'll press on and keep up the grind, things will pay off.Posted by Texas Trophy Hunters Association on Tuesday, February 20, 2018
I'm Joshua Treadway.
We're headin' up to Missouri to hunt with my good friend Bo, who I met at the Hunter's Extravaganza several years ago.
I was at the Texas Trophy Hunters Show in Houston and of course, checkin' out all the booths. And I went by Bo's booth and got to talkin' to him. And he asked me if I was interested in buying a raffle ticket for a hunt at his place in Missouri. And I bought a few tickets and a couple months later, I was goin' down the road workin' and my phone rang, I didn't really recognize the number. I picked it up and it was Bo. He called me to inform me that I had won the raffle.
In the Ozark Mountains
So that was my first trip here. This is a nice place to hunt. The terrain out here is a lot more undulating than you would imagine for Missouri. We're in the Ozark Mountains so when you get here, it's not at all what I was expecting the first time. But the elevation change out here is really crazy for being in Missouri. It's not something that I would have ever pictured here.
If you're here at the right time, the rut is a really special time here. You get to see a lot of deer chasin' and fightin' and all that good stuff. It's everything you'd want out of a whitetail experience.
Unpacking and Getting Ready
Just got to Missouri. Gettin' everything unloaded for the weekend. Just met with the guys up here. I think we're gonna get our guns sighted in and let me go look around a little bit and see if we can find a place to hunt in the morning. So the first morning we headed out, pretty excited to get out in the woods.
We chose a box blind the first morning. We didn't see a whole lot of deer the first morning. We saw some Doe, a few smaller bucks chasin', nothing we were really interested in. With the lack of movement, we knew it was time, we better check some trail cameras and see if we could find an area that they were using more and maybe get some popup blinds out, get them brushed in in some good areas that we were tryin' to find some travel corridors.
We are going to go and attempt to find us a spot to put a ground blind, see if we can't find a place they're moving around at. We didn't have much luck sitting in the box blind this morning. Let's see if we can't find a spot they're moving.
We got a big scrape. We see they kind of break the branches off and mark it up. We know there's a couple of big bucks using this and there's a couple more that go down this little road here. They come off of this ridge down the straw, through all this timber and they come down through this bottom and go to some other fields to feed after they stop here. So we're going to try to get them as they come off the ridge before they get across here. It'll have to be kind of a quick deal. But I think that we can possibly get it done if they come.
It'll give us enough time from the top. So we're gonna check it out and try here tonight and see what happens.
Installed A Ground Blind
put a ground blind in this morning after we hunted. We got a little better spot I think. We kind of know where the deer are moving.
I've switched guns, got the swagger sticks put on my gun, that way we don't have to get the barrel all the way out the window, 'cause if they do come in here, they're gonna be right up on top of us really fast. So we're probably not gonna have a long time to shoot and I don't want a gun stickin' out of the blind. So I think we're in a pretty good spot.
We're also gonna get them moving through here and we'll see what happens.
So we hunted the popup blind that was set up and had a nice hunt, lot of Doe, lot of small bucks, but we had one decent buck come in, mid-30s kid of buck, just not what we were looking for, not a mature Buck, a little on the small side for Missouri as far as body size went. So we gave him a pass and decided to maybe look for another area.
We had a lot of movement, just not the right deer this afternoon. Lot of Doe, lot of little Bucks, just didn't have anything coming through to check these Doe so we might look at some trail cam pictures and see what we got and what we can think of, maybe come up with a new plan in the morning. We might move around a little bit. We'll see.
A Lot of time when you're whitetail hunting, the longer you sit in the same place, the better. It's just the law of probability. Sooner or later a deer is going to walk by. But just with the lack of movement we were seeing, we could tell the deer were ruttin' but we felt like maybe they were in lockdown or maybe with the moon, they were running all night long and kind of bedding up during the day. So we really knew that we had to utilize the trail cams to figure out where they were during daylight hours when we could actually get a shot and kind of show us the spots where we could maybe put some ground blinds in areas that they were using as travel areas.
Checking Trail Cameras
We've been out checking trail cameras today. We thought we knew where the deer were. We knew they were up in this area, in this thicket. And we thought they were dropping off the hill and going down to the food plots where we were hunting before. For whatever reason, they're not coming down.
During the middle of the day we tried to do some spotting and stalking. We were a little frustrated. We weren't seeing the bucks that we wanted to see in the mornings and afternoons. So we tried to spot and stalk during the middle of the day but with it being fall and all the leaves being off the trees there's not a lot of moisture on the ground right now so the leaves are crunchy and there's just absolutely no way to get on a deer in these big timber woods without letting them know you're there 200 yards before you see them.
Lots of Whitetail Deer
So we saw a whole lot of whitetails and not a whole lot of horns.
On normal basis, the last few years that I've been here, you have to hunt hard to find a mature buck but there's plenty of mature bucks here. And for whatever reason this time, there's a little bit more of a struggle than normal. I think we got here and it was a full moon and the moon was still up during the day. I think the Bucks were locked down with Doe. The Doe that we did see when we were out walking and walking to a blind, or stalking, if you saw a Doe, most of the times she was bedded up with a buck right over her lot of times in a spot that there was no way we could possibly get to. So we felt like this time they were in a lockdown. We just maybe weren't here on the perfect week. It was just really out of the ordinary for this place, in my experience.
Sneaking Up A Ridge
We're sneaking up on this ridge in this timber and we've yet to see a deer. So I'm not really sure what we're gonna do in the morning but looks like we're running out of daylight today.
I don't know what the deer are doing. I don't know where they are. We're gonna have to go back and maybe look at some trail camera photos and figure out a new plan for tomorrow.
Back on Green Field
Ooh, got a little bit colder last night so kind of felt like they probably are moving again, maybe hopefully turn back on. So we're gonna go get back on a green field and hopefully we can catch something chasing this morning. That morning we were really excited before we went out to hunt. We had breakfast and we felt like we had a really good plan. We hadn't really sat that blind much in the morning time and we really thought that we'd see some deer eating on the food plot that morning.
We had a farmers dog that had other ideas and he barked off in the distance all morning long, probably the first hour and a half of the hunt. And I don't know if that had anything to do with it or if they had been up running all night, I really don't know but that morning all we were able to see was just a few Doe and one Buck that had a very nice rack, a good-looking deer. It's gonna be something special in the future but it's just not what we were looking for, probably a 2 1/2, 3-year-old deer. We'll have to keep on. It'll be a really nice big, big buck when it gets some age on it. But it's just too young. That's not what we're here for. We're lookin' for a mature buck regardless of how big his antlers are, we want to kill one that's over six years old. So we let him slide on by.
The Next Day
We think that maybe the deer might be locked down. We know we saw a couple of younger Bucks this morning and they're definitely looking but that just hadn't kicked off for whatever reason.
It might start in an hour and it might start in another day, we just don't know.
I think we're gonna head back in and possibly go sit down in another spot mid-day and see if we can't turn something up. They're not walking in front of us so we're gonna have to try something different.
The popup blinds just weren't workin' out. We had tons and tons of trail cam pictures that we went through and we knew the deer were there, we just couldn't catch 'em. We were in the wrong place at the right time, I guess, every single time. We just couldn't find the deer.
We Try An Elevated Blind
So we decided to try an elevated blind and we moved to a stand above a wheat field that we knew the Doe loved to eat in at night. And with the rut going on, we figured if we could get the Doe in front of us, inevitably we'd have to see a Buck.
The food plot actually turned out to be a good choice. Sure enough, we had a really nice nine-point come out, split G2, big bases, the kind of deer you dream about but we went back and forth, talking about the age on him and we just didn't feel like he was an old enough deer to shoot.
They try to shoot mature bucks here and we were right on the fence about it and just decided that he wasn't for us. The buck was nine-point. Nice deer, we're just not quite sure he was old enough and really kind of on the fence about whether I should shoot him or not. I don't know, maybe we'll look at him again tomorrow but not today.
So the sun's going down and the Doe are still all eating out on the field.
The big nine-point is still there.
Out Steps A Big Old Rack
We were really out of camera light but we weren't gonna get out of the box until it was dark and the Does had moved off the field. We didn't want to spook anything out of there because obviously we might need to sit there again. And right before dark, out steps a big old rack.
He only gave us two or three seconds to judge him for his age. And he just blew past us, chasing a Doe and I'm thinkin' to myself, well, I may have missed my only opportunity.
So right there at the end, we had a pretty good buck come out. It took us a minute to decide whether he was old enough, if he was something we wanted. By the time we did, he was chasing a Doe, just didn't really stop. But camera light wasn't very good and it just got by us. But that's one we definitely hope we'll see in the morning.
Back to The Lodge
We went back to the lodge after the hunt and talked to Bo and kind of reviewed our camera footage. And he did reassure us that that buck was in the age class that we do want to shoot. So I'm kickin' myself a little bit that even though the camera light was low that maybe I didn't try to take that shot anyway and hoping that I'd get another chance at him.
The Next Morning
And here we go right here, boom. We need to be there in the morning. The next morning, it's the last day of course, which everybody hates going down to the last day and you're just hoping you're not going home empty-handed.
But we felt like the blind that we had been in where we saw the shooter was probably the best place to go back to. We felt like he's probably in that area. So we went in there with really high hopes in the morning and nothing.
The hunt, it's dwindlin' down. We don't have a whole lot of time left. It's midday. So we just decided, you know, it's fourth and long time. Instead of workin' travel corridors and food plots and all that stuff, we just took off, went straight towards their bed.
So we were working the bedding areas, not having a whole lot of luck and we were kind of stopped and taking a break and deciding how long do we want to do this before we go get back in the blind for the last sit. We were going to walk back.
There's The Buck
Walking to the top of the ridge and look over in a thick spot and there's a Doe standing there. And kind of moved around to get a little better look, see if maybe there was a Buck in there and boom, there he was.
He's laying right beside her in the thick stuff. There's a Buck laying down right there. He's definitely not leaving her, he's with her, he's not going anywhere.
So we made a quick move around to the end of this little piece of timber and I'm just waiting for him to stand up and he read the script, stood right up and I had it on him and then bam, he turns around and walks directly away from me. I got no shot. We took off, ran around the other side of the timber, tried to cut him off, tried to get in position. So I got the swagger sticks ready and I put the crosshairs on him.
Yay or nay?
Squeezed the Trigger
Bo says, "Shoot him."
Got a good trigger pull, squeezed the trigger.
He threw out a big mule kick, started going downhill through the timber, so that's always a good sign but you wanna see him fall. Until you got your hands on him, you're always worried a little bit. He's hit good.
So we shot the buck on the top of a draw. We've been following him down the side here, looks like he's bleeding really good. He hasn't gone too far, maybe a hundred yards. We're gonna keep following the blood though because it's a pretty good trail, see where it goes.
So we worked down through the timber, down to the creek. And we had a really good blood trail to follow. And it looked like he tried to go to the creek, go to the water and get across it and he just didn't make it. He was tangled up in some big tree roots right on the edge of the creek. Good Lord of mercy! It was a great feeling when I saw the deer laying by the creek.
My Biggest Deer Ever
We had really worked hard this week. We had had some hard luck. We had really had to grind it out. And when I came down the hill and saw him laying there, huge body, really pretty rack, my biggest deer ever, it was just a really good end to the week, a really good end to the story.
We worked really hard for something and it was great to see him laying there.
We've been here for almost a week. When we got here, we thought the deer were supposed to be rutting. They kind of were, we thought, then they kind of weren't. We really just didn't know what they were doing.
It's been really slow. We've only seen a few bucks. We've actually only seen, this is only the second mature Buck we've seen. I'm pretty sure this is the Buck that we saw last night when we were running our of camera light.
I noticed the G4 is broke off. I think this is the same buck that we had come in last night that we just couldn't decide whether he was mature, couldn't decide whether he was a shooter until it was too late and then we were just out of camera light. I have no idea what this deer's score is. I could care less. I know he's gotta be my biggest deer. This is a giant Missouri Buck. I'm really happy to have him. Actually, I never would have taken a buck of this caliber unless I'd started going to the Hunter Extravaganza Show and met old Bo and won that first raffle and came here.
Just a beautiful deer. I guess he's a 13 all total. Pretty nice deer.