Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gun Season Opening Day: 2013 Miracle Blind Hunting Story

In honor of opening day of gun season being a short 3 days away, it got me thinking about how I never recapped the full story or shared the full article that was published in both QDMA Newsletter and Quality Whitetails Magazine!
You can read last year's brief hunting post

Or you can read a more detailed story below :)

As you can see, 2013 was a great hunting season for us! Would you believe that all three deer were shot out of the SAME blind within 24 hours?! Amazing, let me tell ya!
It was such a unique story that we were also lucky enough to be featured in the QDMA newsletter, the QDMA website, and the Quality Whitetails magazine! To think that the magazine reaches possibly hundreds of thousands of people is just astonishing!
I was also lucky enough to be featured on 3 different billboards in the Thumb!
So let's get to the story right?! This is a copy of the published article recapping our hunt. {I realize that many of my readers probably don't care about this whole story, but since this space is my personal documentation of life happenings... I'm going to do it anyways.} :)
Similar to most hunters, Michael and Julie Joy had been eager for a successful hunting season. They had both been passing up small bucks for years, severeal neighbors were also participating in QDM, they built a new blind, and most importantly, they {mostly Michael} had improved the habitat throughout their 20 acres. Even though they had high hopes for a successful harvest, the last thing they expected was to be blessed with THREE beautiful bucks out of the same blind on opening weekend of gun season.
On Thursday, November 14th, Michael enjoyed one last night of bow season in his tree stand. He finally got a good look and an opportunity at this tall, unique buck that has been seen on several neighboring trail cameras the last two years. Unfortunately, Michael missed the shot. Even though he was disappointed, he had hope that the buck would bed down on their property and hopefully be seen again on Friday morning - opening day of gun season.

The following morning, Michael headed out to the new blind for the first time. Just after day break, he spotted a buck coming out of the thicket and into the grass field approximately 80 yards southwest of the blind. He waited for him to move toward the clear opening and took a shot at 40 yards with his Thompson Center Encore Muzzleloader. He watched the buck run hard and tumble end over end until he hit the ground. Michael was ecstatic that he got a buck considering it's been six years since he has harvested one! At that point, Michael thought he had shot the tall tine buck {pictured above on trail cam} that he had missed the night prior. He would soon learn, that wasn't the case.
Michael is a strong supporting of letting a significant amount of time pass before he begins tracking. The thought never crossed his mind that he would get an opportunity to shoot another buck. He wasn't paying much attention to his surroundings when suddenly, he looked up and there was the tall tine buck. This completely confused him because he could have sworn he already shot him and he knew it went down.... Regardless, Michael was now certain that this was the the buck he had seen the night before and that was on the trail cam. Now his excitement was officically though the roof! Buck fever times two!  
When it finally came time to track these deer and solve the mystery as to which deer were harvested, he found them both within 20 yards of each other. The first deer that he had seen tumble rear end over head, had broken it's antler during the tumble. The antler was stuck in the ground approximately 8 yards away from the deer. Even though this deer wasn't the one he originally thought it was, it was still an impressive 8 point with a large body weighing 164lbs dressed.

Antler at bottom left of photo

Buck #1!
Twenty yards away, laid the unique buck that Michael originally thought he had seen at day break. Even though this deer wasn't quite as large as the other, it's rack had more mass. Which brought some confusions as to whether they were both 2 1/2 uear old bucks, or if one was a 3 1/2 year old.
Buck #2 scored 116 3/8. The tallest tine measured 9 1/2 inches!

Saturday morning, November 16th, it was the second morning of gun season and lots of neighboring properties had already made some nice harvests. Michael's wife, Julie, had low confidence that she would even see a buck out of the same blind. However, she went anyway. This "miracle" blind was in a new spot on their property along the east fence line. They both had high hopes that with the new blind location and the hunting pressure, as well as the luck Michael had the prior morning, there just may be another buck on the property. They made it out to the blind around 6:30am with plenty of time before day break.
As the sun starting coming up, a couple groups of does had made their way into the grass field and some into the corn. Michael kept a watch through the binoculars and Julie stayed prepared with her H&R 20 gauge shotgun. Within a couple minutes, they noticed a four-point chasing one of the does out of the corn. Shortly after, there was a spoke horn chasing a doe. That's when Michael reminded Julie that if there was a bigger buck around, he would come chase off those little bucks. Julie continued looking around with hopes that he was right.
Within minutes, she noticed there was a speck of white and some movement in a small bunch of trees just 20 yards away from the corn and told Michael to check it out with the bino's. Sure enough, it was a buck! They waited for it to come into the grass field and chase the doe back into the corn. At that point, they had both only seen the deer from a side profile and it was hard to tell how wide it was or exactly how many points it had. Michael suggested waiting because he thought it may be only a year and a half old deer. Julie disregarded that comment and got the gun out the window so she could get her own view through the scope when he came back out of the corn. Luckily, when the buck came out of the corn following the hot doe, he wasn't moving fast. It was approximately 7:15am when she took the shot at 80 yards and watched him go down within 20 yards. Julie was beyond excited considering this was her first buck! 
It was official; the new blind was a miracle blind!!
After discussing and evaluating the hunt, Michael began to wonder why the deer didn't run, jump, or kick. He started to wonder if Julie had a bad shot on him and he wanted to wait as long as possiblet o track it just in case. After two long hours, Michael still was uneasy about getting out of the blind to track it. He decided it would be best to call a friend to begin tracking it from the north, whichw as downwind, just in case it jumped the deer. At this time, Julie was worried, doubtful, and impatient. Michael figured that if they jumped the deer, it would then run towards the blind and they would be able to get another shot at it.
Thankfully, that wasn't necessary. The deer was found exactly where they saw it go down and was lying perfectly in a furrow. He measured out to be 14 1/2 inches wide with 7 1/2 inch G2s and weighed in at 156lbs dressed.   

After showing the bucks off to all the neighbors, more stories and images of these bucks were recovered.
Michael's tall tine buck {#2} had actually been shot October 5th by a neighbor during bow season. On October 31st, the buck was captured on trail cam with an image of the wound. Miraculosly, this shot missed all the vitals and this buck survived a couple more weeks before it crossed paths with Michael. This being said, the body of the buck may very well have suffered due to the wound. This explains why this buck only weighed in at 140lbs dressed.
An image of Julie's buck was discovered on another neighboring property. The only two images ever captured of it. 

As for Michael's 1st buck that broke it's antler during the fall, no trail camera images have been seen with him.
Michael and Julie express much gratiude to participating QDMA members as well as Mark Lemke at Practical Whitetail Strategies for making a habitat management plan for their property! Truth is: QDM and habitat management is essential! The experience they had was nothing short of a miracle and many memories for years to come!
And there you have it, the most memorable and unique hunting story we will ever have!
Here's to hoping 2014 opening day will be close to that! ;)


  1. This is so cool! My dad would just adore you! haha Love the feature picture of ya'll! This time of year is always may fav- my parents will have hunters in every weekend until the end of the season. I grew up on 400 acres and so all the secret spots the city friends love and come and stay each weekend during the season. Full house for sure and tons of good food (bring on that deer sausage! haha)

  2. That is quite the story!! I still love that you were on a billboard - that is so cool!

  3. I'm not much of a hunter because I'm a huge baby and would just cry when I saw a dead deer but what an awesome story! How cool that you were on a billboard?!?!

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