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Reflect on each post as if it’s a live feed into the life of a “365 day a year whitetail & turkey fanatic”!

Another Hitlist Buck Down

2011 Trail Cam Pic

Good friend of mine Jake Groth, finally got a shot at the buck he had named Crab Claw, in a earlier post named “Victory Outdoors Most Wanted”. Here is a little recap of how the buck got his name from that post: “Crab Claw the last two years (2010/11) this buck had crab claw G4s thus the name. He has grown a bit since last year and is a solid shooter. I passed on him last year during shotgun season and the landowner passed him up during bow season. Glad we did, he is a much better buck this year. My hunting buddies and I have been watching this buck for two years his name no longer really fits as his G4s have grown nicely.”

Trail Cam Pic 2012

Jake and I have hunted together from time to time over the last ten years. I can tell you there isn’t anyone who I have hunted with who has killed more wall hangers of the last ten years then him. As we said we think we have trail cam pictures going back three years on this buck and he had officially been named target number one on Jake’s 2012 Hitlist. A few days ago I got a call from Jake as he was heading back from his hunt, Thursday afternoon, he had another shooter at less than 20 yards but couldn’t get a clean shot. He wasn’t bummed, he sounded pumped. I asked him well the big boys must be on their feet? He answered “oh yea!” He was hunting what he believed to be Crab Claw’s core area. He had found a rubline on many 10” diameter trees. If there are other shooter bucks in the area it would be just a matter of time before he would show back up. He hunted that stand all day Friday and at the end of shooting hours Jake was sure he saw Crab Claw at 30 yards but it was too dark to know for sure.

The next morning Crab Claw and four does ran up the hill to Jake’s stand but they had been spooked by something in the valley below. Crab Claw was in range at 28 yards but behind brush and before he cleared the brush he ran off with the does. Again I got the play by play from Jake via a phone call. Having such a great buck in range, it was a matter of time but to this point he had hunted that stand now three straight days. Was it time to more on… He didn’t want to burn out the stand. I told him in my opinion if he hadn’t spooked them or they had yet to bust him in the stand, when on a big buck stay on him. I have to admit I don’t think I was telling Jake anything as I’m sure he planned to continue to hunt the set. He did clear out a few more shooting lanes Saturday afternoon.

The next morning rolled around and at 8:50 I got a text message from Jake, and I quote “About as lively as a morgue out here today!” For anyone who doesn’t know him that is par for the course, as far as humor goes.  I didn’t even respond, at 9:30 I got a message from Jake detail how he has been in the same stand and has started naming the squirrels. We have all been there before had a slow morning and been board out of our minds. My next said just that at 9:35 I text back “Yep you’re on your way to crazy”.

At 9:44 I got a call, I looked at my phone, it was Jake. First thought was well he must have called it a morning or maybe he saw him again. On the other end of the line was an out of breath Jake. He said something really quick and I responded with “What”. He said I think I just shot Crab Claw… I think he is just down beyond my stand. I said “he’s down?” Jake: “yea I’ll call ya back in a few”…click. A few minutes later I got a text of Crab Claw. He had harvested target number one on his hit-list. It’s always great when a plan comes together.