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Back when I was young and maybe a bit foolish, I used to hunt deep in the woods...thinking the deer would be bigger and there would be more of them.I now know the very opposite is true but there were times when I'd encounter a big old buck or two and not even considering how far back in the woods I was, I'd shoot him. I think my longest deer drag was a five hour drag one dull, rainy morning in late November. A friend and I were hunting together and had been hunting since first light with a slight drizzle falling on a fresh over-night four inch blanket of snow. When we started out, we saw numerous fresh deer tracks near the cut over but as we pushed deeper into the ridges and swamps and mixed growth, tracks became lesss frequent and I wwhispered that it looked like we had "run out of" deer. I was in the lead and had just decided to turn and back track to the truck when a deer snorted and I got a quck glimpse of a big dark brown body as it bounded off into the evergreens ahead. We moved slowly and came to where the buck was making a fresh scrape. The air smelled strongly of a rutting buck. I whispered to my buddy and we moved off to a brushy spruce clump some forty yards distant and I called. Within five minutes, that buck came right back and started scraping once more. He moved in a bit of a circle as he scraped and I raised my rifle and shot him in the back of the neck when his back was to me. He dropped right there with his head resting in the scrape. I field girthed him with a tailors tape and used my deer girth chart. It said he'd f/d at two hundred pounds. He was eight points and field dresssed at two hundred and three pounds when I weighed him on our scales. My buddy, who wasn't in the best physical shape carried the guns and my daypack in this thick stretch of woods and I dragged, over fallen logs, through thick thickets,through swamps with sucking mud and yes, on some good dragging ground...but still for for five hours minus a few breaks to catch my breath. I learned a lot that day...and my arms stretched/grew a couple of inches. I vowed never to hunt that deep again and that vow actually helped my hunting efforts over the years! So...tell me your story...What has your longest
drag been and how big was the deer?
 

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Great story Predator.

My longest drag was about 5 hours as well. I was hunting an area that no other fool would venture into. It was really thick at first but once in there the trails and sign was crazy. I knew there were a couple big bucks in there so I kept going back. I was still hunting and it was around 10am that morning when I thought I heard something walking. I stopped and listened and I heard it again. I got out a can call and it was ny first time using one and gave out a few bleats. I could hear something but had a hard time seeing it because of the thick softwoods. Finally I caught a glimpse of the end of the main beam and knew it was a good buck. I then could make out part of his neck and squeezed a shot off. He dropped in his tracks. At that time he was my biggest buck. The drag was up hill for the first half and that just about did me in. I finally got him out to an old road. So I grabbed my gear and took it to my truck. At the time I had a little 1/4 ton 2 wheel drive. The road was in bad shape but I thought I could make it to the end because I didn't want to drag anymore. Well I made it 20 feet and I was stuck. After a few choice words I tried to get her out but bogged down to the frame. I then went back to my buck and drug him the rest of the way. I loaded him on back then started my walk. I got back to a house around 5pm and called my wife who picked me up in her car and went home. I was terrified to leave the deer there but at the time there was only one way in and it wasn't the way I walked out. My father in law had a truck and got home at 7pm so we went to get my truck. I didn't even tell him I had a deer down and the whole way out there he kept saying "Why on earth are you hunting way back in here? There are no deer out here." I just smiled the whole way out. My brother in law who was also with us was around 15 or so at the time. He got out of the truck and went over to mine and looked at me with the funniest expression and said "Somebody put a deer in back of your truck" I almost wet my pants. Well I got pulled out and landed home around 10pm that night. My buck ended up being an 8 point and weighed in at 178.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey NBB...
That was a good story as well! I am curious...do you still hunt as deep in or not? Those long drags are murder, man! i'd just as soon have him standing out by my truck when I get there to hunt him! These days, I leave the big deep woods treks to the younger hunters like my son! I like to think I'm older and wiser now...well, I know I am definitely older anyhow!
 

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Ya I still got the itch to explore and see the country. It's a lot harder nowadays to get way back in as there are so many roads. Last year I hunted a new spot and was able to hunt all day in different directions with out hitting roads. But this is Irving land and the amount of roads are growing. But I did find great sign in there and will go back.
 

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Great stories fellas! Great hunt story and topic Ray!

Funny, I used to subscribe to that theory as well, about the big bucks hiding way back in the woods. Took me quite a few years (and a lot of long drags) to figure out that you didn't have to cover miles in a day to run into a buck.

I know all about the deer dragging business for sure. I don't think that there is anything that can sap your energy like trying to pull a dead weight of close to 200 lbs!

I even had my wife help me many times, and it still can be murder! You pull till your exhausted, and then you keep doing it over ,and over again! Of course snow helps! But of course you can't always depend on that snow!

Well I have a lot of long drags to my credit over the years. But one day sticks out the most.

Now I started hunting the Grand John lake area back in 1981. My brother-in-law (Ridge-Runners dad) as well as a few other local boys were usually all hunting around there at the same time, late in November.

Now on this day a pretty good local hunter I'll just call him "J", had shot a big 8 point at the backside of Middle Brook Ridge between the steep ridge side, and Malarkey peak.
He and a bunch of guys went back in to get his deer, but ran into darkness, and had to leave it overnight.

The next day was Sunday, and I as well as RR's dad plus another fellow…were recruited to help get this buck out before noon. We brought that good sized buck up over the back of that steep ridge, and out to the cut road. This hill is so straight up, that you have to hang onto tree's just to climb it in places. (Ray, you know what I'm talking about eh?)
We had an axe with us, and cut poles to carry it a ways. Well we forgot the axe at the top of the ridge. "J" said not to worry about it. But I (being young and adventurous) Volunteered to go get it on Monday of the next week . A little axe/deer combo hunt if you will!

Well Monday came, and I parked my car just off the main woods road, in the tote road that ran out through a strip cut.
I had a guy from work with me also that day who had basically never hunted. I left him in the cut, and walked the 1 ½ mile road and into the woods.

I got to the back of the ridge, and found the axe. Jumped a deer and followed it down over the steep ridge (like a fool). Never saw it again.

Then I preceded to hunt along the ridge down towards the end of Malarkey brook.

I had just left the brook and headed back towards the cut on my compass bearing. I had the axe in my left hand, rifle slung over my shoulder. I went to step over a log, and came face to face with a huge Buck! We both stared for a second. Then I went on auto pilot. I slowly lowered the axe to the ground pulled my leg back over the log, and unslung my rifle. At a mere fifteen yards, the buck went down quick!

After I dressed it out and admired it a bit. I had to get going. I knew the direction of the cut strip, but this was the first time I had hunted in this far, and I didn't know how much woods was between me and that cut.

I blazed the trees, with the axe, so I would be able to fine the buck again. Eventually I came to the painted line that led me out to the cut-over. I then had to walk all the way to the car to get my hunting partner. He was sitting in the car with cold feet.

My brother law, had showed up there hunting, and was off in the woods. I left a note on the car for him, but met him on the tote road on the way back out. I asked him to go get help from "J" who had promised to help me if I got a buck, after helping him with the 8 point.

Well after another long walk, we got to my Buck, and started dragging. No snow, Softwood, Moss, blow downs, wet ground, you name it! What a tough drag! We even tried tying it to a pole with our belts, but it would just swing.

We started somewhere around noon and it was getting dark and we were still dragging. The only way we found our way that last couple hundred yards, was from my Brother in law blowing the horn. Of course he didn't go get help from "J" with his truck…he just decided to drive his "car" all the way out the tote road!

We pulled the deer the last hundred muddy feet to the car. Strapped it on the back of the trunk, and then had to push the car a couple of times after it got stuck in the mud. He had torn the muffler off coming in. And with all the walking I did that day so far…I had to also walk out at the end. We didn't want to chance the extra weight in the car.

So if you look at the map I have added after this post. You will see the route that I walked that day.
Now the drag was long and tough (About 1.6 miles)

But the amazing thing to me is how far I "walked" that day in total. About 13 miles!

Out to the back of the ridge from my car.
Down to the brook where I shot the buck
Then back to the cut and car
Then back to the buck again
Then back to the cut, dragging the deer.

Then followed my brother-in laws car back to mine

It is about 1.4 miles to the cut edge from my car, and 2.4 to the 8 point spot from the car.

Need less to say, I slept good the next day… but it was "fun"….at the time…. Oh the "exuberance" of youth!

And to make this even more of an interesting tale, and to put it all in a different prospective.

It ended up that I couldn't even "eat" that buck! It turns out that he had an infected hip! Probably why he didn't take off for the hills when he ran into me("shoot me please"). There was no indication when I skinned the animal. I didn't even know there was a problem until the meat cutter called me and told me. I sent some samples away to the experimental farm lab, and they showed a serious infection. That whole ham was green in the center. After I saw it, I couldn't eat it for sure!

They said that he may have had an injury somewhere else on his body that localized in his hip. The feet had gotten thrown away, so I could examine them more closely. I really felt bad for the poor guy from work who helped me drag it that far. If you help me drag a buck back then half was yours.

But at least I got the head, and still have the mount. He was a real old bruiser from the mountain.
As hard as it all was I wouldn't trade that day for anything!

Map of my route that day in 1981.



Here is a pic of the "beast"!



Don't I look "tired" in this pic?

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey ArcherynutNB...
Another good story from you and yes, I know the area you are talking about. I've have hunted it many times in the past myself..and yes,there are some pretty rugged steep hills and ridges out in there and I've had a few good drags out there as well. I don't know how to access the video clips, photos and maps you added...or the photos that everyone else seems to be able to access...must be a process I'm not familiar with as yet so if anyone has some input on what I should do, it'll be welcomed! Anyhow, I know you've shot some impressive deer over the years and it's sad that the area we used to hunt is being all cut to h...! I know also, there are always deer and some big old bruisers in the remote areas but IMO, no where near as many as we find closer to the edge, near cutovers, farms and close by neighborhoods. Thanks for the input and especially for the stories!
 

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"Thanks Ray"!

It sure is (or was) a beautiful unspoiled chunk of woods back in the day. I spent so much time in this area in the 80's and 90's, that I have a hard time in my aging to remember every incident that happened on this hill. Black bear encounters,pine Martens etc. The spot where I shot this buck was just before Malarkey starts its steep incline down the ridge towards the Keswick. Many a day, my wife and I used to hunt back to the brook and eat our lunch while listening to the brook flow by.

As you know yourself, if you cross the brook and head up the steep hill on the other side..you would find another nice hardwood ridge to hunt as well. I hunted it some too, but came in from the other side because it was a shorter route. Many days the wife and I sat and ate our lunch on a big rock on a nice hardwood hill with a great view of the valley below. And if you looked around carefully you would find a Hardwood tree with someones name carved in it. And I know you know who's name that was...?

Oh what memories!

I actually have a lot of the stories of my hunts from those days written out in longhand. I did it many years ago, so my boys would have them to read later in life. And also so that I would not forget the details of those cherished days in the woods.
In these threads I have rewritten them from memory, and tried to keep them as short as I can.

It's too bad a fellow couldn't have had videos of every hunting day, so he could relive it over and over again.

Maybe that's what heaven is like...perhaps?

That reminds me of another buck story I may post up sometime.

As far as some of this techno computer stuff, it's not that hard to learn. The map is just off of Google Earth. You find an area you want, and you can use the ruler tool to mark lines on it (it will tell you the distance from point to point). Then you can use the word printing box tool to add notes etc. When you are done, you just choose "save as" from the menue, and it will send it to your photo's on you computer. Then you can use Photo Bucket to post pics here.
I also have to scan a lot of older 35mm pics in order to post them.

If you have any questions just ask!

archernutNB
 

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Great stories archernutNB , really enjoyed reading them . Any of the woods in your old haunts still standing ? That's the problem a lot of those old woods are gone now , and what's left may be gone soon .

Like Predator says , there's more deer around the settlements and farms , ect , but that said there's also more hunters in these areas as well as noise from traffic , houses , farms , ect . I prefer to get away from that sort of thing , might not be as many deer in the woods but it's more peaceful and I'll go an entire season without running into another hunter while I'm hunting those woods .
 

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Great stories archernutNB , really enjoyed reading them . Any of the woods in your old haunts still standing ? That's the problem a lot of those old woods are gone now , and what's left may be gone soon .

Like Predator says , there's more deer around the settlements and farms , ect , but that said there's also more hunters in these areas as well as noise from traffic , houses , farms , ect . I prefer to get away from that sort of thing , might not be as many deer in the woods but it's more peaceful and I'll go an entire season without running into another hunter while I'm hunting those woods .
"Greyghost", "Thanks"! Glasd you enjoyed it!

There is still a lot of forest left untouched in that area. However they have cut roads criss-crossing through it. They are coming in from the Keswick side now and cutting more and more each year. I have not been out walking it in many years now.

The last few years I hunted it, it was getting a lot of hunting pressure, so I gradually moved to other areas. It is so far to drive for me to bait it as a bow hunting sight. And the deer numbers are so low there now that you could sit in a stand and not see a deer for a week without some attractant. You could still have a chance with rifle if you did your homework, and found the little rutting hot spots in late November. But I have a heart condition nowadays, and don't like to travel too far off the beaten path. My wife would have a hard time dragging "my" carcass out of this area!!


I do have a couple of other crown land areas a little closer to home where I have salt licks that I have maintained for a few years. I may hunt one of them this fall. Might tent out with the wife for a few days to cut the fuel costs. AN
 

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Great story and pics AN! I can see it all taking place.
 

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Got one years ago and it certinally wasn't the longest drag ever but I know it was the hardest I ever had.
Shot a 10 point just at dark at about 15yds and it dropped in his tracks so I went to go git help.
Rounded up a couple of buddies and we went to drag him out.Had to gut him in the dark, which we all know is not much fun."Point the light here so I can see",I'm sure a few of you know what I mean.
Anyways we started dragging and I don't think it was over 700yds but it must have been the regrown chopping from h$%#.I think it was 2-3 hours of dragging,pretty sure we pulled against each other at times.Anyways we finally got him out to the truck and I got him hanging for the night.
Took him to to the meatcutters the next day and we were getting him hung up for skinning and he said"That must of been one hell of a drag",or something close to that.I said yeah how did you know?
He spun the deer around and there was a patch about 14" X 14" rubbed right off the left hip from the drag through *^$#.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey guys...enjoying the stories and Carl...you can spin a tale with the best of 'em and a big plus is that they are true tales!
Yes, I know the tree with the my name carved into it...from many years ago...and it was a great area for hunting those big old bucks! The sad part of it is that our big woods are disappearing and at a faster rate each year! There are still some big woods to be hunted but like the blanket of snow in springtime that faces the sun, they too are shrinking, bit by bit. I often wonder if we should be taking more pictures of the big woods as they may someday, like our great deer hunts and deer drags, be just memories from the past. Thanks to all for the great stories and input and if you got more,keep 'em coming... we'll all enjoy them. Ray
 

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Thanks Ray!

I do enjoy reliving these stories from days gone by. Both in my head and from the writing that I did many years ago. And yes not only are they "true"" stories, but I try my best to describe "every" detail as vivid as I can. So that the reader "hopefully" gets the feeling they are seeing it as it happened.

You know you are right about the point of taking photo's of our hunting area. That is the one thing that I regret deeply! I had a couple of nice cameras back in those days. But I never seemed to have them with me out in the woods. I don't know why? I think I was always so wrapped up and seriously obsessed about Buck hunting, that I would just not bother to pack it. As well I was always carrying a full backpack in those days. Thermos and all day lunch plus you name it! I do have a fair number of old photo's but they are all from 35 mm cameras, and I have yet to scan them all.
I may dig them out and post a few. Still don't have a lot of that area though.

Here are a couple of pics of me out in the woods. This is from one year.. way back,that The wife and I tented out in bird season. This is at the cut strip near Grand John Lake. We took a pile of grouse off that old woods road over the years! Had a ton of fun as well hunting it! Ahh the good ole days!


Me cooking breakfast!



Grouse for supper!



The rifle is because I had my bear liscence. So the "wife" would sleep better!



Right behind me is the ridge where I took many of my bucks! If you went about 200 yds, it drops off real quick another 100 yds or so.
 
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