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The Legend of Freak Nasty

The Legend of Freak Nasty

This property was purchased 10 years ago. At that time a trail cam pic was taken of an impressive yet unique 8 pt that appeared to be 2 – 3 years old. Recognizable by his tall beams and funky brow tines, he soon became known as Freak Nasty. As time went on his legend grew. There never were any day time pics of him. Only late at night. Over the next 9 years he was only seen in the daytime three times. He had been shot at and missed twice. Everyone was beginning to think he was a ghost or that he had 9 lives. Each season ended with wonder if he made it through again. Then, each early fall, he would show back up in the same spot. Sheds were found multiple years and in his peak he was possibly around a 150" 8 – 9 point. He added the 9th point later on. It began to be almost comical as to how old this deer was. I personally didn't think they lived past 7-8 but they had documented proof. The past 2-3 seasons you could definitely see signs of decline. Dude was heading down hill. This fall… the 9 before, the old dude showed up again on camera. Sawyer & Hayden are best friends. They do everything together – hunt, TCS shooting team & watch stupid shows on TV. We have had Hayden over to our place to hunt and Saw has been over there off and on for the past 3 - 4 years. He became very enamored with the legend. This particular fall, the two dudes began to focus more on bow hunting. They worked hard along with Hayden's dad scouting, hanging stands and cutting shooting lanes. Sawyer's lock-on stand was pretty close to the area where they had been getting the pics. The Dynamic Duo began the bow season in September, mainly getting in afternoon hunts after shotgun practice. They were seeing deer pretty regular but mostly small bucks and doe out of range. Finally late one evening a doe came in close enough for Saw to get a shot. He made what he thought was a good shot but even after a long lengthy blood trail, they were unable to recover the deer in the dark. A few afternoons later he encountered a large bodied deer right at dark but off to his right in the thick stuff. He only got a quick glimpse of horn but had a feeling it was Nasty. Many an afternoon went by with them coming home late after dark, dragging and beat. Fast forward now to gun season. Without success with their bows, the dudes moved back out of their lock on stands into the box stand at the ends of the fields with their rifles. As it got closer to the rut, they start seeing more and more deer come out into the fields. The week of Nov 1, Saw was shocked when he looked at the end of his field and there stood Freak Nasty. He was over 200 yards away so he was uncomfortable with the shot (see my previous blog). Nasty didn't waste time for him to build up courage and began to chase a doe across the field and never stopped. His disappeared into the woods. This made Sawyer the 4th person to ever see him in the day time. On Friday, November 11, while watching some doe, Sawyer had an extremely large buck walk out just beyond the doe. Without hesitation, dude let one fly. Unfortunately the bullet kicked up dust beyond the would be trophy and the buck trotted off. Dude's first ever miss. Upon further research, (Also see my blog) we determined that I had his gun sighted in incorrectly for that kind of distance. Lesson learned. The very next day, Saturday morning, Dude catches a nice buck cruising behind a doe from a climbing stand on our lease. He gets the bucks attention with the Woodhaven Grunt call and lets one fly. This time the bullet was true. A Beautiful 8 pt with a few kickers. Now we skip ahead a week to Saturday the 19th. Dude sleeps in and has 9:00am shooting practice. I go bow hunt with a friend and do my best kite impression as the wind was howling. Mid-day, we are all back home doing chores and Saw decided he'd get a little nap. He had been out of town visiting colleges with his school and was plum tuckered out. At 3:00pm I went in and poked him and asked if he was going hunting. He grunted and said 3:30. I came back in at 3:36 and he was still out. I told him they are probably waiting on him and if he was going he better get a move on. He piled out of bed and grabbed his gear leaving his gun sling on the table. I thought to myself "It would be good for him to tote it anyway." So 4:29pm rolls around and I am watching the chickens wondering if I should climb in my stand near the house and try to intercept one of those doe that keep passing through the yard. At 4:30pm my phone rings. I am thinking the dude just left…..what did he forget? I answer to hear heavy panicked breathing. He says he thinks he just shot Freak Nasty! I asked him if he had heard from the other dudes. He said no and they had just dropped him off and were still driving to their stands. I told him to just stop right there and sit until I can get there. Since he was a little behind and technically a guest ( the other members were all there) he was regulated to a stand on the opposite side of the property. One he didn't really like due to the long, dark walk out. Its been ridiculously dry and the leaves are like walking on potato chips. Sawyer is easing along a fire break that has a pretty good drop off to his right down into a thick bottom. He has his head down trying to navigate the crunching bombs. The wind is still pretty strong. All at once he hears the telltale blow/snort of a deer. A doe down in the bottom blows and him and takes off. Feeling deflated as he is only about 50 more yards to his stand he takes another step. All at once he sees Horns moving over the ridge. That's all he sees is horns. I found out later he knew all along it was Nasty. He had walked up to somewhere around 15-20 yards of him. The deer was walking away. All in one motion, dude had to remove a shell from the bullet sleeve on his stock (they don't load until they are in the stand), load his gun, find the deer, bleat to get him to stop……… Which the deer did………..and get a shot off at 40 yards. He saw him kick and run off. As with every hunter, uncertainty settled in, but I assured him when he called me that if he kicked…..he got him. I knew he was at a location that was a good ways away from the other guys so I told him not to mess up their hunts and I would be there shortly. I could get to him without bothering the other hunters. This would give dude 30-40 minutes to chill out and give the deer time to expire. Now get this. While waiting sitting on the ground playing fruit ninja, Sawyer caught movement out of the corner of his eye. He looks up and crossing the road is another shooter buck about 50 yards away. Having possibly his second buck tag filled, he enjoys the view. When I finally get there, I find him pacing back and forth in the bottom. He has already marked the shot location with a ribbon so we start checking the perimeter for blood. None to be found nowhere. In fact we are tormented by the multicolored leaves with red splotches all over them. As I slowing move along, I notice the leaves kicked up in a small path heading toward the thick stuff. After about 40 yards I look ahead and see the wonderful sight of a white belly. I have dude come and join me and I thought he was going to need a valium. As we approached the deer all we could see was the top of one beam sticking out of the leaves. Had he been mistaken? When we got right up to him and dude lifted the rack out of the leaves…..there was no doubt it was the old timer, Freak Nasty. He was battle scared and worn out. You could feel his spine towards his rear as well as his ribs. He was also sporting a cool drop tine which we find out later was new. By now night fall is creeping so Sawyer texts his friends and we begin to drag. Fortunately the field where the stand was that he was heading to hunt in is only about 100 yards away. We get him there and wait for the cavalry to arrive. Celebration, hugs and hi-fives all around. Everyone was able to touch and take pictures of the legend. We then really check the deer out and notice that he doesn't have any teeth left. Not sure how the taxidermist will age him. The land owner goes over the history of the antlers and is just super excited that the book can finally be closed with a proper ending. They had done some select cutting in his home range and we think the arrival of some larger younger bucks to the area had caused him to move around more and become careless. Either way he was still chasing a doe at his age and that can be trouble for any species. We took the deer back to the owners house and called family. Pop and Angie showed up and pictures were plentiful. Once final respects were made, we switched him over to my truck and off to the cooler we went. There was a crowd there as apparently the was some good buck movement that evening. Sawyer & Hayden go out before I backed in to look at the other deer. He was grinning at me as I back in. You should have seen the looks on the dudes faces when he lowered the tail gate. Even in his decline, he was the stud of the evening. A whole gamut of emotions flowed as was drove off and headed home for some venison spaghetti. Patience, determination, persistence, hard work and just a little bit of luck, make up a successful hunt. Whether or not you kill one is mute. If you put in the effort into something you love, you will be rewarded. The same way with our faith in Jesus. Patience, Trust & Faith will be rewarded. Never give up on a season or a hunt. You never know when something unforgettable will happen.

Archery & Women In The Outdoors
Lesson Learned in Shooting

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