Hunter Highlight – Eli Eccles and The West Island Buck

first buck deer hunting West Island

Eli Eccles and his roller coaster of emotions day on 11/3/2013 as he tracks and finds his first buck.

I wound up sleeping in the morning of 11/2 and hunting at my grandma’s in the afternoon, but saw nothing. I checked my trail cam and saw that I missed a chance at some does in the morning. My season had been very slow, so that only added to the frustration. I decided that I’d wake up and get over there no matter what on the morning of 11/3. I was a few minutes late getting over there, but still got in the stand before sunrise. I kept looking to my south looking for the does, but didn’t see anything. A little before 8:00 I caught movement to my left (north) I saw it was a deer and then I saw antlers. He was making his way right to me with his nose to the ground. I tried not to look at his rack to maintain my nerves. I was able to get to my feet and grab my bow when he was about thirty yards out. I thought he might go behind me, but he took a path that put him about ten yards pretty much in front of me. I waited for him to stop, settled the pin and let the arrow fly. He took off hauling balls for about fifty yards and then stopped. I was watching, hoping he’d drop, but he never did. I watched him for around ten minutes before he went behind some trees and I couldn’t see him any longer. I heard some leaves rustle and thought that was him going down.

I stayed in the stand for about thirty minutes before I climbed down to check the arrow. I could see from the stand that it was covered in blood, so I was feeling pretty good. I climbed down and picked up the arrow. It was dark, red blood and didn’t smell of guts, so again, I was feeling good about it. It looked like I hit him a little far back, so I figured it was a liver shot and that he’d need a couple of hours to expire. I walked up to my grandma’s house and she fixed me breakfast. I called my father-in-law to help me track and called the neighbors to make sure I could retrieve the deer.

About 10:00 my father-in-law showed up and we made our way to the woods. There were drops of blood and white hair at the shot location. We followed the blood to where I saw him stop and look around, there was a decent puddle of blood where he stopped. He turned at that point, but we didn’t find anymore blood. We started to continue on when he blew and jumped up about twenty-five yards in front of us. He didn’t bolt off, so we backed out to give him some time. We went back to the in-law’s house while we waited. It was a pretty frustrating time, because I was worried about what happened after the buck jumped. It didn’t sound like he went far, but we didn’t press him.

We made it back to my grandma’s around 4:00 to take up the track again. My father-in-law’s buddy was along for another set of eyes. We picked up some drops of blood close to where we jumped him earlier. We followed blood while my father-in-law scanned the woods with his binoculars. He finally told us not to move thinking the buck wasn’t down, but he soon realized that he was down for the count.

My grandma suggested riding her mower back into the woods and hauling him out in her lawn cart. It worked like a charm. She was pretty proud of herself for making the suggestion.

deer hunting west island buckHe’s not the biggest buck, but he’s my first buck and I killed him, basically, in my grandma’s backyard. The buck is a main frame seven with some kickers on his bases for a total of ten points. I’m pretty sure he’s an older deer as well. My f-i-l said he thought he was at least five years old.

I was super pumped at the shot with it being my first shot at a buck. I hit a low spot when we jumped him after two hours. Then came the ultimate high when I finally saw him on the ground.


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