With the rut fast approaching, a whole lot of big bucks ought to start hitting the ground soon. But my huntin buddy Dustin Hotchkin got a headstart on the crowds and dropped a P&Y Michigan whitetail last Sunday.  Here’s the story of how Dustin put this great buck on the ground…

“I was sitting on the edge of a corn field that the deer had been pouring out of almost everynight. Being that I hunt out of a tree saddle I had almost every tree in the fence row to choose from, so I picked a tree close to where there was good sign coming out of the corn field and started setting my lone wolf climbing sticks. I was all set by 4:00 and waiting for the deer activity to start and wait I did until 6:00. The wind was good and the temps were dropping, but the deer just weren’t moving. But just when I was getting frusterated I saw movement coming from the corn.

Out steps a deer and it had bone on top! I immediately looked through the binos and counted ten points, but the buck was not very wide. None the less my heart was still pounding and after running some numbers in my head I figured he would go around 120 -125″ tops. As he came closer I had to make a decision and luckily he stopped on the way to my tree and made a fresh scrape, giving me more time to look and calm down. I finally decided I was going to take the shot if given a chance, being that he would be my biggest buck with a bow.

As soon as I grabbed my bow he turned and came right under me. I had already swung around the tree in my ambush saddle and was ready for the shot. He was on a steady walk and I had to grunt to stop him. He stopped dead in his tracks and I released the trigger and hit him right where I was aiming. The arrow went in between the shoulder blades, given that he was directly below me. After the shot I watched him run off about 40 yards and lost sight of him, but I could hear him running through the corn, until suddenly the sound was gone and I never saw any deer come out of the corn.

Hoping he was down close, I waited til dark and then went home to get some help from my brother and friends. Given the fact that I knew there was no exit hole and the entrance was in the top of the back, I figured that tracking blood would be difficult.  After looking for about 15 minutes we found nothing, so we went to where I last saw him and again still found nothing, not  even on the corn stalks that he ran through. Luckily I was on my home farm and know the deer movement well. History told me that any wounded deer would just travel up the fence line before crossing over to the neighbors property. I was very confident in my shot placement but concerned with the lack of blood. So at this point we made a plan to spread out and do a body search and worse case senario come back in the day light. After we spread out, my buddy and I were walking and talking about the night and enjoying the fall air when we looked up and there he layed right on the trail history told me he would be on.

It’s not always 100% accurate, but paying attention to deer in the past proved to make this night a short and fun one instead of a restless night and long next day. After congrats, high fives and slapping a tag on my best bow buck of my hunting career we drug the buck to a cut bean field and enjoyed the evenings events! After rough scoring the buck, he ended up measuring 130″! ”

– Dustin Hotchkin

On a side note, Dustin is one of my other buddies that is wearing Sitka gear along with me. Just as I have experienced, he has not yet been spotted in a tree! There just might be something to this Forest Optifade camo! More to come on this later…