Well as you can see, we started the 2011 rifle season with immediate success.  Jake took his first buck from the ranch on opening day just as the light was beginning to fade.  He tracked it up the northeast ATV trail to the top of the ridge and took it on the plateau with one well placed shot.

You'll notice the funky antler on the buck's right side.  When we delivered him to Boss Farm for butchering, the DEC had agents there checking deer size and age. They informed us that these type of antler deformities can occur if a deer sustains an injury the previous year to the opposite side flank.  Often this occurs if they have a brush with a car/truck or are injured there the previous season by a possible buck fight/antler puncture.  Upon closer observation, the burr-pedicle connection of the antler appeared abnormal, meaning that it was possible that it was injured while in velvet or it could have developed an infection that caused the abnormality.  Regardless, he had a nice 4 point antler on his left and a unique 3 point drop antler on his right. 

This deer aged out at 2 1/2 years old, meeting the management goals for the property.  Jake actually saw this deer earlier in the day but passed on him in hopes of seeing a more traditional "trophy" rack.  However, as the day was drawing to a close, Jake decided it was a great opportunity to take an older deer and further our Quality Deer Management efforts we initiated with the harvesting of one doe during bow season.

We took this young buck on the second day of rifle.  Jake and I were set up in the elevated blind we built during the summer.  He was gracious enough to "keep me company".

At 200 yards away, he looked like a shooter.  He truly was majestic for a local deer.  And while I was happy to have my buck, especially with a 1 shot kill at 200 yards, I was somewhat saddened that he was only a 1 1/2 year old.  These are the age of bucks that we are trying not to harvest.  Allowing them to mature will increase the overall health of our herd.  But that rack looked pretty good and I figured him to be a 2 1/2 year old.  I will not make that mistake again.

During bow season I was able to harvest a young doe for the cooler.  Shooting deer with a bow is very intense.  I have such respect for the animals that I really feel the pressure to be certain of a clean humane shot.  I thanked God that I was able to put it down with 1 arrow. It froze upon impact, took a few steps then fell down.

And the final deer taken in the fall of 2011 was this large doe.  Kellen, with some scouting help from Erin, harvested this beauty from the elevated blind located in the upper pasture.  The ranch was awarded 1 doe permit for rifle season and since Kellen had less hunting time due to his college schedule, we agreed that he should use the doe tag.  Next season the doe tag will go to Ben, provided we hit a winner again in the "lottery".

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