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After five years of great fortune and harvesting five very nice bucks, 2016 was a year of missed opportunities!  The above pictures are of deer I watched during the summer but never saw during the season, deer I shot at and missed, and deer that were in shooting range but saw me move!  I literally missed three shooter bucks (one with bow, one with muzzleloader, one with shotgun) and hit one shooter buck (with bow) that I did not recover.  It was "one of those years."  In addition, my compound bow broke, my scope came off and cut my forehead (nice scar!) and I missed a couple of does!  I did manage to shoot a mature doe during bow season and a button buck during shotgun season.  My son Caleb harvested his first buck the same night I hit a shooter buck but did not recover it.  It was the season that "could have been".  After it was all said and done I still love hunting and can't wait to try to redeem myself next season!      

Updated 7-27-14

Logan Conference Center Update:  This year the farmer has planted corn in the bottom acreage. In order to improve the quality of the bucks and the opportunities for harvesting a trophy, the following changes are being implemented for the 2013 - 2014 season:

- All bucks harvested must be mature bucks with a minimum of 8 points.
- All deer harvested must be checked by Rodney.  He will take photos and send to me.
- All wounded and un-recovered deer must be reported and described to Rodney.

According to all of my research this new rule will help more of our hunters begin to harvest more trophy bucks!

Some of you have probably heard that in November of this past deer season I was incredibly blessed to take a 26 pointer I had been watching for a couple years (see pics of "The Big Four" below from summer 2011).  This buck scored gross non-typical 222" and net 216".  The story and better photos will be featured in the October issue of BOWHUNTER magazine.  

My youngest son Camden shot his second deer in two years of hunting!

Another great Logan Conference Center buck taken during the rut by a hunter from Maine

A great buck taken on the Delaware County lease 

A nice buck taken on a private lease    
A 2012 buck harvested at the Logan Conference Center 

A nice buck taken at the new Delaware County lease during January 2013 Muzzleloader season
A bow and gun season survivor on the Porter Run Road Property
Three bucks taken at the Logan Conference Center the week of November 11.
A young and small nine pointer I took in Indiana.
A nice buck taken by one of our hunters at a Knox County Lease.

A nice buck taken by a hunter at the Porter Run Road Property.  This is the same 7 pointer we had on trail camera below.  Buck scored 141.

(Updated 11-1-12)
Well, we didn't get the big buck we were hoping for but my son Camden harvested his first deer at the age of 10.  When he got home from school and I returned from work we quickly shot the crossbow for the first time.  Both shots were in the bullseye!  We ran to the store and bought his apprentice license and tag and were able to get in the woods for a two hour hunt.  The first hour and a half we saw a lot of squirrels but no deer.  Although he was playing with his hand held game Camden managed to spot a doe coming.  (I couldn't see it!  This was the exact same thing that happened to his brother Connor when he killed his first deer).  The deer that Camden saw was a small doe.  Soon I saw the big doe behind her.  She spotted movement and blew at us and left the area.  Soon she returned.  She was nervous and kept looking our way.  When she tried to leave the area a second time Camden was standing and ready to shoot.  When she stopped he made an excellent shot.  She ran about 35 yards and stood still.  I could not see her but Camden told me he saw her fall.  He told me where she was and we went and found her.  We celebrated with pictures at Grandpas and a dinner at a chinese restaurant.  Now he needs to get the big buck we have been seeing on the trail camera!     
A big seven pointer in the food plot at Porter Run Road property.  (The date and time are wrong because I didn't reset when I changed the batteries)

Four nice bucks taken at the Logan Conference Center during the first two weeks of the 2012 Ohio archery season. 

A Missing car, a Missing Bow and a Missing Buck!
I shot the buck on Saturday, September 29, the first day of Ohio's 2012  archery season.  I harvested the deer in Richland County.  Here is the story:  Since I started hunting in 1987 I have always tried to hunt the opening day of archery season.  To the best of my memory I have never even seen a buck on opening day.  (This is probably because I try to shoot the first mature doe that I see!)  This year was like no other and I hoped to shoot a nice mature doe.  I was disappointed when none of the does came within bow range.  After the last doe left the funnel area behind my stand, I again began to focus on the soybean field in front of me.  About 30 minutes later I saw this nice buck enter the soybean field.  He was not interested in the dry, brown beans and within about a minute he was standing ten feet from my stand.  Mistake one:  Thinking he was broadside, I let the arrow fly.  It hit hard and I saw the arrow had made a complete pass through.  The buck ran into the field about 20 yards and looked back to the tree line.  I don't think he had a clue what had happened.  Mistake two:  I did not pull out another arrow and shoot again.....instead I just kept praying he would fall down.  He didn't fall down but instead slowly walked away.  By this time I pulled out another arrow but he was too far for me to shoot.  He began to trot and I watched where he entered the woods.  Mistake three:  I immediately got down to find blood where he had entered the woods.  I did this so I could find the blood trail before it got dark.  The arrow was covered with blood and there were large tracks through the soybean field that were easy to follow.  When I was about 10 yards from the woods he blew and snorted at me and took off.  An hour later my father in law and I began looking for blood.  We found blood but it only lasted for about five yards and then completely disappeared.  We decided to pull out and come back the next afternoon to look for him.  (Since I am a pastor I could not come back in the morning to look for the deer).  In the meantime my 2002 Kia Rio with bow in trunk was stolen out of my driveway that same night!  I tried to remain positive and trust the Lord while preaching the message that Sunday morning.  Even so, I could not forget I was without a car, my bow and the buck!  Thirty minutes after church I received a call from the police and they had found my car.  I asked if my bow was in the trunk and it was not.  My buddies Bill and Jeff helped me look for the deer and by the time we arrived at the hunting property I received a second phone call from the police.  They had found my bow in the hotel room where the guys who stole my car were staying!  I knew that all I needed now was to find my buck.  Although we searched for several hours we did not find any blood or any deer.  I was very disappointed but was thankful that I at least had my car and bow back.  I realized I had made several crucial mistakes on this hunt and was simply facing the consequences of a deer I did not kill.  On Wednesday I called the landowner on an unrelated topic and mentioned to him that I had not found the buck.  He told me that there were many vultures on and around his property.  I asked him about the location of the vultures and sure enough it was the thicket where the deer had gone.  I took a half vacation day, called my buddy Jeff and off we went to begin the search even though it was almost four days since I had shot the deer.  The drive was about one hour from my home and when we were almost there, I received a phone call from the landowner.  On his answering machine was a request from the guy who checked the gas lines on the property.  He had found a nice buck and wanted to cut off the antlers.  (Fortunately he asked and did not simply cut them off).  The landowner knew exactly where the buck was and the picture below is where we found him.  I was disappointed that we lost the meat but was glad to know that we found the buck.  The entrance of the arrow was indeed in the "kill zone" but because he was quartering toward me instead of broad side, I believe I only took out one lung.  The buck scored 150 and 3/8ths and was taken from the exact same tree stand as last year's 145 nine pointer.  I was thankful to the Lord that night because I had my car, my bow and now my buck!          
This is another one of the big four.  I was drawn back on a doe when he came in on me a couple of weeks ago.  I had already harvested my 2012 Ohio buck but my 10 year old Camden and I hope to get this guy! He is also pictured below.
These four bucks are what I refer to as the "big four".  The second from the right is the same ten pointer in velvet from the picture below.  They were photographed about 400 yards from a piece of property I hunt in Delaware County.  Yes you can see an air conditioning unit in the picture. This is the backyard of the home of a family that feeds these deer.  

This is a buck I spotted about 400 yards from one of my tree stands in Delaware County.  He was with a 130 class eight point and a 160 to 170 class big boy (maybe 12 to 14 points with a lot of mass).  A couple days later my buddy Jeff took some nice pictures of him.  This time he was with another 140 class ten point.  I think I passed up a couple of these deer last year when they walked directly under my tree stand.  I hope I am able to pull them over to my hunting area.  I'm also hoping the bucks are still around when the rut hits!
(Aug 2012)

Logan Conference Center Update:  I visited the Conference Center in mid August and took a ride with Rodney around the corn field in the bottom.  We saw many deer including a couple of nice bucks.  There are two hunts open in December and three hunts available in January/February.  (Aug 2012) 

Porter Run Update:  For the first time since owning the property, we planted Spring food plots.  The clover plot was very green and very thick.  I have a sample section caged in and the clover is about 6 to 8 inches taller than the rest.  We just recently put cameras out and hope to have some pictures soon.  The early (opening days) archery season hunt and the late season muzzleloader hunt are still available.  (Aug 2012)


Side trip while we were on family vacation to Disney pays off! 
I have some wonderful friends who live about 45 minutes from Orlando.  They invited my son Camden and I to go hog hunting.  We saw hogs, turkeys, gators and a huge soft shell turtle and had a great time.  My buddy invited me back a couple of days later for an afternoon gator hunt.  Despite some rain we soon headed out along an elevated dike and began looking for gators.  On the right side was a river and cattle pasture and on the left side was a narrow marshy area and cattle pasture.  The gators would come up out of the marshy area and sun themselves on the edges of the cattle pasture.  We began to look out ahead and spot some gators but I usually would only see their tails as they slid back into the marsh.  At one point we did a stalk on one of the gators but never saw it or had a shot opportunity.  Soon we were at the end of the dike and we turned around to head back.  I had fun and really enjoyed meeting some new friends and just assumed that the hunt was over and I had not had an opportunity to harvest a gator.  BUT....on the way back the guys stopped our vehicle and began to point into the marsh.  They told me to hurry and shoot before it went under.  There was just one problem.....I couldn't see anything!  I was looking for a big long alligator sunning himself but all I eventually saw was about 6 inches of a gator's head and two eyeballs.  When I finally I saw it, I raised the 30/06 and shot right for it's head.  It rolled and splashed and I knew I had hit it.  The guys took a large treble hook (it looked like a boat anchor) and threw it out and snagged the gator.  Two of us held it while the other guys drove back down the dike, through the cattle pasture and over to the marsh.  Using a fishing pole they snagged our rope and pulled it over so they could pull the gator in.  I expected it to be about three or four feet long and was shocked when all 8 feet of it came out of the water!  We had to shoot it one more time to finish it off.  Everyone was happy and we headed back to the house for more pictures.  About an hour later we started to clean the gator and get the meat out of the tail area.  After we had cut the tail from the rest of the body it took two of us to hold the tail down because of all the muscles and the nerves still jerking and moving.  That was weird!  Although I am not a huge fan of wild game, this gator meat was very delicious.  The guys and their wives prepared a great meal for the Ohio boy and I ate way too much.  Our family had a wonderful time at Disney and I got a bonus blessing to spend time with some old friends and meet some new friends.  It was especially sweet that the plan paid off and I was able to harvest my first Florida alligator!  (June 2012)
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