The “Crab Claw Ten”

The "Crab Claw Ten"

In the fall of 2014, Johnny and I hunted at a property in Ohio we had gotten permission through a friend. On our trip that year, we spent a few days knocking on doors looking for permission to get onto other joining properties. We made a solid connection on a large chunk of land and the scouting was underway.

I initially walked the property in the spring, looking for sheds and all the old signs of the rut from the year before. From the sheds I found and the amount of buck sign I saw, I knew we were in for a good time. We planned a summer scouting trip to get some velvet footage and put out some trail cameras in preparation for the fall.

We saw a few good sized bucks in fields, feeding just before dark as well as got several cameras out in good funnel locations to take inventory of resident bucks on the property. The second week of October we had planned on returning to check cameras, hang some tree stands and try to shoot a doe or 2 before returning for the rut. All went well in that aspect, I was able to take a nice fat doe for the freezer and stands were in place. We had several bucks on our radar, a few big main frame 8 points and a 10 point we called the Crab Claw buck because of the end of his right main beam looked like, well, a crab claw. We were ready, bring on November!

11204399_643345795808113_1097140617321669627_nOur first morning we awoke to rain and mild temperatures. We settled in the stand well before daybreak and as soon as it was light enough to film, we were seeing deer. We had a few small bucks walk past and then a doe was running up the hill toward us and behind her was a good buck, the Crab Claw buck!. I was keeping the buck in frame and focused and Johnny was the shooter that morning. The deer passed by and Johnny elected to pass on the shot and the buck continued after the doe out of sight. We continued to have great encounters despite the windy conditions and constant rain.

On another morning, Johnny was hunting and I was behind the camera, we had the Crab Claw buck respond to a rattling sequence but Johnny’s shot hit a branch, deflecting the arrow harmlessly over the deer’s back. We hunted the rest of the morning and decided to hunt a different stand for the evening at the other end of the property in the direction the Crab Claw buck had ran in.

Arriving at the stand, early in the afternoon, the rain had stopped and the sky was beginning to clear. I was the hunter this evening and Johnny had just barely gotten the camera all in order and I looked up the ridge to see a doe headed our way, with a shooter buck hot on her heels. It all happened very fast and as the doe ran through my shooting lane at 15 yards, I knew the buck was going to be soon to follow.

I was already drawn back when he entered the opening and gave a little bleat to bring him to a stop. The pin floated tight behind his shoulder and I released, the arrow was through his chest and stuck in the ground in an instant, the buck did a high leg kick, followed by a quick 50 yard dash down the hill. “Did that just happen?’’ I asked… we did a quick, excited interview in the stand before getting down and recovering this great Ohio buck.

All the scouting and preparation had paid off! I couldn’t have been happier, he was a buck we had quite a bit of history with on that property and a buck I was hoping to get a chance at after the first time I saw him in velvet that summer.

- Jeremy Ballantine

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