I’m excited to share today a big buck story from an old highschool buddy of mine who accomplished a major feat this year by killing his first Pope & Young buck! Andy Black is a great guy and a hunter who I’m sure will be adding quite a few more Pope & Youngs to his wall in the future. That said, big congrats to Andy on his first! – MK
By Andy Black
My name is Andy Black and the first thing that needs to be said is that I had the privilege, nay the honor, to graduate with Mr. Mark Kenyon himself from both high school and Michigan State University. I suppose it’s my claim to fame. I love Wired To Hunt and all the posts and I am honored to have been asked to write my story.
I have been hunting as far back as I can remember and I have never killed a Pope and Young buck until September 15th this year. This story is mostly about my first trophy buck. However, it’s also about the important things I learned about patterning deer and making the most of new land opportunities.
During the first month of the 2012-2013 season I scored the right to hunt on 427 acres of prime hunting land in northern Kentucky on the Ohio River. I moved down to Kentucky three years prior and began looking for a good chunk of land that might get me the chance at a Pope and Young buck. My first two seasons I struggled to pattern deer because I was restricted to over pressured WMA land where I only killed a few doe to fill the freezers. When I acquired the rights to hunt the 427 acres I could really begin to focus on patterning specific bucks.
That said, let me tell you, if you’ve never been to northern Kentucky hunting you need to go! Big hilly country and big racks! My first rut on the property in 2012 I sat all day and saw a total of seventeen bucks chasing, two of which in hindsight I kinda wish I would have shot. Passing up one after another hoping for a 170” class to stroll by I ended my season buckless. I knew I had a prime location so I worked my butt off cutting trails, fixing stands, and laying food plots for the owners. I earned my respect and it has paid off in friendships, memories, and now big deer!
The changes I made this year are what made my success happen. Most of the prime pinch points and bedding spots were claimed by the other guys so I had to do some hiking. I’m a teacher so I like lists so here are the differences between 2012 and 2013…
1. I set up two cameras on the same trail intersection to figure out the directions and times deer were moving in and out of their bedding area.
2. I moved my stand off the trail with my stand facing backwards from the direction of the bedding area.
3. Deer Cane! I am such a believer in this product. I have legions of deer eating a monster hold in the dirt and mud 20 yards from my stand.
4. I did not hunt my stand with wrong wind directions. Hunt smarter not more. As far as I know the only deer that have seen where my stand is located are now in my freezer.
The bulk of the story is truly in the work during the off season. All that work for a few seconds of decision making makes it worth every ounce of sweat. The second weekend of the season everything fell into place. It was a foggy and cold morning. I parked the four wheeler extra far away to avoid cutting off another trail. Around 8:30 AM two large doe came in to taste the Deer Cane hole which was soon followed by a young eight point. Too small to shoot, I attempted to take pictures of the young eight to compare with those on my cameras. As soon as I reached for my camera I heard a snort and a stomp coming from the young eight point. I froze, disappointed thinking I was busted. When I shifted my eyes I could see that all three deer were looking in a completely different direction and not at me. Soon after the eight point tucked his tail and skidded off in a hurry. That’s when my heart began to really pump!
Crunch, crunch, crunch… I grabbed my bow knowing whatever it was, it was big and was heading for my Deer Cane hole. Crunch, crunch, crunch… I didn’t see the buck until he was about 15 yards away. As soon as I saw his horns I recognized him as a buck we call “Tall Tines Cousin”. I pulled my release, arrow flew, double lunged him, heard a big crash and I knew I had finally shot my first Pope and Young Buck!
I got down on my knees and thanked God for all His creation and the opportunity to experience such a great hunt. I couldn’t be happier. Hope you all have a successful season. Good luck and happy hunting!
– Andy Black