Fishin' For Bucks: ET Hunter Tracks, Recovers Buck from Stock Pond

December 1, 2017 - It is every deer hunter's worst nightmare to pull the trigger on a nice buck and think you made a good shot, only to watch the animal melt away into the brush like some of a ghost. Sometimes there is an obvious blood trail to follow, but even then there are no guarantees you will find a dead deer at the end of it.

Spend enough time deer hunting and sooner or later you are going to find yourself trailing a wounded animal. It's just comes with the territory.

Luckily, not every experience involving a wounded deer turns out bad. But some are certain to leave a guy scratching his head in wonderment.

Clint Miller of Jacksonville recently experienced the highs and lows of deer hunting after touching off the trigger on a big seven pointer just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Miller was sharing the blind with his 11-year-old daughter, Payton, and 12-year-old niece, Chloe Howard of Bullard.

Miller said the buck approached the blind from the left side. His original plan was for his daughter to shoot the buck but sun glare made it difficult for her to see the deer through the 3X9 scope.

"Chloe had already shot a buck, so I decided to take him myself," Miller said.

Miller said he took careful aim behind the buck's shoulder and squeezed the trigger.

"He just stood there after I shot," Miller said. "I felt certain that I'd hit him. I grabbed the binoculars from my daughter and when I looked back he was gone. At that point I thought I may have missed him."

Miller said he and the girls stayed put in the blind until about 8:30 a.m. before they walked to the spot where the buck was last seen. He told the girls to spread out 10 feet to either side of him and they walked, inspecting the ground for signs the deer had been hit. They didn't go far before Chloe found blood.

"We followed the blood trail about 30-40 yards and it played out right at the edge of a pond on the property," Miller said. "I looked all around on both sides but couldn't find anything."

Acting on a hunch that the wounded deer may have run into the water and died, Miller said he went to his mother's house and fashioned a grapple hook using scrap metal. He tied the hook onto a piece of rope, returned to the edge of the pond and started fishing for the deer.

"About three or four tosses was all it took," Miller said. "I felt something and pulled it up and saw its tail. A couple of more tosses and I was able to drag it onto the bank. Chloe videoed the whole deal. It was pretty wild. It wasn't a monster by any means. I'm just glad we found him."

Game Warden Chronicles: Hunting in the Nude and More
From TPWD Reports

East Texas game wardens have had some strange and humorous encounters since deer season got underway a few weeks back. Here are a couple of cases sure to give readers a chuckle:
The Naked Truth

Hunters rely on camouflage clothing to mask their appearance and avoid detection in the field, but an Upshur County man recently took “going commando” to the next level. He was arrested by a Gregg County game warden while hunting in the nude along a state highway. Obviously, he did not have a hunting license on him.

The well-known nudist/activist later contested the charges. During the trial, his case fell apart when the warden’s bodycam footage was played to the county judge. After hearing testimony and viewing a few seconds of the undressed violator in action, the judge abruptly stopped the video and walked out ruling in the state’s favor. The activist promptly cancelled all appeals and settled the citations, which included: hunting without a license, shooting across a property line, and disorderly conduct.

No Sale

The week prior to deer season, a concerned citizen reported seeing deer legs sticking out of the back of a pickup truck. The caller knew the owner of the vehicle and provided Hardeman County game wardens with an identification. Upon arrival at the suspect’s residence, the warden observed a man take off running with a set of antlers in each hand. The warden caught up to the suspect after a short foot pursuit. After detaining and securing the subject, the warden discovered a second suspect behind the residence washing blood out of the back of a pickup truck that fit the description given to him by the complainant. During interviews, the suspects admitted to shooting six deer the previous night, and selling five of them to a local deer processor. They planned to keep the sixth deer for themselves. The two subjects offered to take the sixth deer back to the processor and attempt to sell it. A Childress County game warden was called in to assist with the sting operation since the processor was located in his county. The subjects sold the deer to the processor for $50 as planned and, once the transaction was complete, the wardens made the bust. During questioning, the processor admitted these illegal sales were common and had occurred in the past. A total of 60 citations and warnings were issued to all involved, including: hunt for hire, buy/sell game animal, possess illegally taken wildlife, possess without wildlife resource document, improper cold storage books, possess in closed season. Several more cases are still being investigated. Tickets and restitution are pending.