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Bowhunting Mr. Crabs by Darin Fisher

December 29, 2011 by  
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Here’s a great story from Darin Fisher of Iowa about his pursuit of a big old Hawkeye buck. Congrats Darin!

I need to start by expressing how truly thankful I am for my friendship with Brian Lindberg of Soap Creek Outfitters.  His willingness to help me any time I need it has not gone unnoticed!  I cherish our friendship and truly have cherished this experience.  Those of you who know Brian can vouch for his character, integrity and conviction.  His lodge and properties are incredible, definitely a destination you can’t afford to pass up.  Thanks Brian for pushing me into this !!!

I have seen and had pictures of this deer for 3 years.  My kids gave him the name Mr. Crabs due to his split G3’s (but mostly from their affinity for SpongeBob Squarepants).  Most of the sightings on my ground in 2009 and 2010 came via scouting during the rut and pre-rut.  Within that two year period I had also seen trail camera photos (not mine) of this buck on a property nearly a mile to the west and listened to a friend recount his hunt on that property where he missed this buck at 40 yards with his bow in 2010.  It seemed that this buck would come east to my property for a brief period during the rut and pre-rut each season and then head back to the west for the winter.  I am made the assumption that gun hunting pressure on my ground prior to my arrival pushed him off.  I had no sightings at all during shotgun or late ML seasons over the past 2 years.

On to 2011 where in early Oct. I  set up my trail camera just off the edge of some cut corn where I had seen him most often in 2010. On Oct. 28th I got the first photo of this buck at about 10 AM.  I sent this photo to Brian and his first inclination was to laugh and ask what hunting magazine I got the photo from.  Candidly, I had to send him a second, more convincing text to persuade him the photo was real.  After seeing the photo, Brian loaned me his bow and MADE me take up bow hunting specifically for the purpose of hunting this deer.  Before Oct. 28th, 2011 I had never hunted with a bow so I went to the local archery shop upgraded the accessories, got a crash course in bow hunting and its terminology, and practiced my butt off.

I had Brian help me re-position a stand location about 25 yards from a large scrape in a small finger of woods on the west side of the property.  This finger, maybe 40 yards wide by 80 yards long, jetted out into the picked corn and was used heavily as cover for the deer as they moved from one part of the field to another.  This was also a mere 50 yards from the trail camera where the photos were taken.   Needless to say, the first week wasn’t pretty and frankly made me question my decision.

On November 11th I got another picture of this buck from the same trail camera, again in the morning.  I knew hunting in the morning would give me the best opportunity but my family and work obligations didn’t fit with that scenario.  On November 23rd as I walked out of a new set-up slightly closer to trail camera I finally got an evening encounter as I spotted this buck strolling through the corn.  I think it’s important to know that each time I got a picture or saw this deer in this location the wind was out of the S, SW, or SE.  I realized at that point it was all about timing and putting the odds in my favor.  I decided to ONLY hunt him with winds out of the S or SE.  On Nov. 30th the winds were out of the S.  I got a late start to the stand due to work obligations.  As I crested the hill I spotted him hitting this scrape a mere 25 yards from my stand location.  I was close enough to get a picture with my cell phone but not able to get a shot off at him.  A definite missed opportunity!

On Dec. 2nd the winds were perfect… this time out of the SE at 7-8 mph.  A SE wind would allow the deer to hit the scrape the without alerting him of my presence.  Before jumping up into the stand, I hit the scrape I watched him work on Nov. 30th with Tink’s Power Scrape.  At about 3:30 I had a small spike come in from the south, bed down 25 yards from the stand for about 30 minutes, then walk just to the left of my stand and out into the picked corn to feed.  As I watched the spike in the corn I could hear movement to my left.  After a few minutes I glanced over my shoulder and out into the picked corn.  I was stunned… he was there!  I remember thinking “Holy Cow, It’s HIM”  as my heart went from 60 to 160 instantly.  I tried not to stare at his rack but the mass up close was stunning.  He milled on the field edge for only a moment and made a B-line for the scrape I had sprayed down.  He worked it hard for a few moments as if another buck was trying to invade his territory.  He took the few crucial steps to his right needed to bring him perfectly into range.  I gathered my composure, drew back, buried my 20 yard pin behind his shoulder and let it fly.  The hit was true but a touch low (where we encountered first blood was actually 24 yards).  He ran about 40 yards down the field’s edge and stood there for several minutes.  I could tell he was hurt badly.  He turned and walked into the timber and bedded down.  I felt that the execution was good and the wound was fatal, he just need time to expire.  Rather than wait until morning we felt that due to the heavy rains that were forecasted for later that night & Saturday morning, our best chance of tracking the blood was later that evening.  We gave the deer about 3 ½ hours and went back out.  As Brian eluded to, although we had a ton of blood initially, we did run out of blood.  Needless to say I was devastated!  Rather than push him, we collectively decided to back out and come back in the morning.  Little did we know that as we stood there in the dark at the sight of last blood the deer lay no more than 20 yards from us in a thicket.  Quite an incredible end to a wonderful, memorable, humbling experience.

Thanks Brian, I owe you big time!

Darin L. Fisher

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One Response to “Bowhunting Mr. Crabs by Darin Fisher”

  1. Darin Fisher says:

    FYI… Mr. Crabs Gross Score – 180 6/8″

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