The Cornfield Buck
I have been scouting year round for many years to accommodate my fall hunting time in order to ensure my success for the largest buck I can find. During 2003 I located three different bucks that would gross score over 150. After years of practicing quality deer management, this was my best year ever for locating big bucks.
During the post season I saw one of these bucks. I did not get visual verification on the other 2 bucks, but I did find their sign. I found big tracks, scrapes and beds. The locations of huge rubs in well-defined rub lines were also located. I knew where the big deer were bedding, and I had their funnels and travel corridors located. It took me from January through April to get the puzzle pieces put together.
As spring turned to summer I verified all of the crops, planted food plots and completed my planning for ambush opportunities. I had several places ready for the fall hunting season by this time. However, I did not yet place any tree stands in these locations for fear that someone else would find these spots as well. At this point I knew where the bucks were going to feed when the hunting season arrived.
During the summer months I glassed the areas where these big deer lived. I had located all of them and verified their rack size. I just knew this would be a year to remember. I have never seen this many big bucks (or mature deer for that matter) in my life. By the end of summer I had all of my stands in place. I was locked and loaded.
Our family had practiced all summer with archery gear in preparation for the upcoming bow season on October first. We had these bucks as well as a few lesser deer patterned. My daughter Scarlett missed a dandy buck during the youth hunt in late September with her shotgun. Alas it was a case of buck fever, which I can also relate to. Although she missed the buck, she still states it was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her (in all of her 14 years.) She’s now hooked for life!
We always make sure we shoot a proper number of does to ensure a quality, balanced deer herd in our area. During the early part of the season I hunt for mature bucks, but I will take a doe for every buck I harvest. Therefore, I typically leave most of the doe harvesting to the rest of the family.
On the 1st Saturday of bow season I was hunting in a funnel area in the morning and watched a 130-class buck walk through a clover food plot and into a cornfield. During the middle of the day I walked the thick fencerow where the buck had traveled while practicing strict scent control. As I quietly stalked the area there were several large rubs, tracks and droppings. There was a staging area where all of the corn was knocked down, which was trampled with deer tracks. Obviously the deer were bedding in the cornfield and staging in this spot prior to entering the clover field. This is where I placed an Amacker hang on tree stand.
On Tuesday October 7th the wind was blowing from the southwest. Therefore, I would have the ability to approach the stand and hunt it without taking a chance of being winded by any deer. Furthermore, we had a slight cold snap and it would start getting warmer the next day with temperatures rising consistently for the remainder of the week, which would hinder deer activity.
After work that day I got into my stand as quickly as possible. A few does and fawns passed by early. Shortly thereafter I saw the same 130 class 8 pointer approaching. Directly behind him was a buck that looked like a tank with tall tines and wide spread. The lesser buck walked within 10 yards and started to make a buck rub on a poplar tree. During this time the larger buck walked into the trampled area of the cornfield. I was sitting in a large tree with several branches for excellent cover. Therefore, when the buck presented a shot I was able to draw my Matthews bow undetected. I hit the buck directly behind the ribs on his left side with the A/C/C arrow tipped with a 100 grain Vortex broad head. The arrow angled forward through the liver and right lung. This is when the shaking started. After calming down and waiting approximately 45 minutes I took up the blood trail. Although he left a good blood trail through the corn this buck still went several hundred yards before expiring. Unfortunately, I then had to drag the buck by myself several hundred yards back to where I could load him in my truck.
I then called everyone to tell them about my good fortune and drove around showing him to all of my family and hunting buddies. I did not get home until very late, but my tiredness the next day was well worth the effort. This beautiful 7-½ year old 12-point buck gross scored 153 and netted 143 after the drying period and weighed 218 pounds field dressed. I am truly blessed to have harvested a buck like this.
Ironically this Tuscola County deer was not a buck that I had ever seen before. In another twist to the story, I continued to hunt hard throughout the remainder of the Michigan hunting season and never harvested any of the other big bucks. As a matter of fact I know they are all still alive to be hunted again this coming fall. This is why hunting is so exciting!