We’ve got another great success story today on Wired To Hunt, and this one is from my very own family! My wife’s uncle, Bill Boyd, is a serious hunter here in Michigan and this season he put down a really nice mature buck. Here’s his story! Congrats Bill! – MK
By Bill Boyd
This was my third season hunting this property. The first season was a last minute hunt, and last season I didn’t have much time for scouting the property either.
Last year began by finding that I had clearly placed two stands in the wrong spots. In one spot I always spooked deer on the way to the stand, the other spot I swear the deer could see me get into my tree – not very good cover apparently! So, I decided to back out of the property some and place a viewing stand. The viewing stand was in a big pine tree with good cover. I placed my stand about 30′ up, well out of sight for any passing deer. I was able to discover a major runway not far from my viewing stand. This was a great find, but the stand ended up being overhunted since it was really my only option without risking spooking anything. That said, I was able to see a couple of very nice bucks that were using the runway. And, I had placed a trail cam in another spot on the property which indicated a couple of very nice bucks in the area (guessing 150 – 160 P&Y). Once the season was over I was dedicated to a serious hunting plan for the next season.
I’ve followed John and Chris Eberhart’s methods of bow hunting for many years and decided to re-read the books authored by the Eberhart’s and begin preparation for 2013. After the bow season of 2012 I did some careful scouting of the property. I found a tremendous rub-line with all the indications of where the biggest buck had been. Just as the Eberhart’s indicate in their books, you could really see how the buck was traveling. Plus, I was able to determine how and why the deer were using the runway near the viewing stand. In early April I went to the property to set up stands along the big buck travel route. I found a great cherry tree with good cover, and positioned it for an easy 20 yard shot if I was lucky enough to see the big buck again. Needless to say I was VERY excited for 2013!
In early September I did a quick survey of the big buck travel route. Anticipation was very high. You can imagine my disappointment to find that there was absolutely zero buck sign. This area is heavily hunted during the gun season, so I wasn’t really surprised but I was still disappointed. So I looked over some other parts of the property and I didn’t see any sign of buck activity anywhere. Apparently 2013 was going to be a slow year. Still, I decided I’d sit in the cherry tree on the big buck route opening day just in case I had missed something.
October 1st, with low expectations, I sat in the cherry tree. I did see deer, but no bucks – 3 does, 8 little ones. And the deer were only moving right at dusk ( I think the early special seasons turned the deer nocturnal early, particularly with the pressure in this area). I sat in the cherry the next day with the same result. I decided I’d move back to my viewing stand until around the 20th. I only sat a couple more times in the viewing stand, but did see a very small 6-point, and another slightly larger 6 point.
I went back out to the cherry on the 20th. On my way out to the cherry I saw my first rub of the year – and it looked pretty decent, so hopes were somewhat higher. I had a nice sized 6 point walk underneath me in the late afternoon. I also saw the does/fawns, but this time it was much earlier. The woods had apparently settled down and the deer were moving more naturally. A couple more sits in the cherry and still no sign of shooters. Oh well! Once again I decided to move back to the viewing stand.
My first chance to get back into the viewing stand was a very quiet morning. I needed to do some setup in the stand, so I decided to wait until just after daylight. With my scent cover and careful approach I knew I could get into the stand without spooking the deer. It was a great morning – it had turned cold enough for some light snow the previous night and there was just a slight breeze. After about an hour on stand I noticed a very small buck on the travel runway. He gave a quick look behind him and headed off into some pines.
Imagine my surprise when a 9 pointer stepped into view, again along the runway!
He had a decent 6 point immediately behind him. The second 6 point began to slowly browse toward my stand, and the bigger deer followed him! The 6 point turned off well out of shooting range so my heart sunk – I figured I would not have a chance for the shot. But, the bigger deer kept feeding in my direction. He got behind a pine tree at 30 yards giving me a chance to draw on him. He had absolutely no idea I was there. When he stepped out I let go.
As he ran off it began to snow – a wet heavy snow. I was anxious sitting in my stand that the snow would cover up the trail, but waited 1/2 an hour anyway. When I got down I found a great blood trail and the rest is history!
Not a huge buck but very nice for that area at 175lbs field dressed, and with the expectations I had after the lack of buck sign earlier. I rough scored him at 115 gross P&Y. He’s now at Nature’s Pride Taxidermy , and I know he’ll make for a great shoulder mount. Dan Weeks of Nature’s Pride guessed the deer was 4 1/2 based on the body size for that area!
I think there are a couple things that led to a successful hunt: I always practice rigorous scent control. I always sneak into my stands, making sure to take my time (which helps with reducing the sweating!). Even after knowing that getting a chance for a shot at a nice buck were slim, I did not stomp all over the property placing miscellaneous stands. I have my viewing stand close enough to a major travel route that anything is possible (although this coming spring I need to put a stand within 20 yards of the travel route!).
– Bill Boyd