Today’s W2H reader success story comes from Kevin Holmes who kicked off November in style with an awesome Maryland buck. Please join me in giving Kevin a big congrats! -MK

By Kevin Holmes

I’ve been traveling a ton this year and my hunting has really taken the brunt of the impact. When I am home I try to spend as much time with my wife and two year old son, while also trying to get out in the woods whenever possible. I made a point to take two weeks of vacation this year and conveniently scheduled it for Oct 31st-Nov 14th.

I did quite a bit of preseason scouting but just before my last work trip I took advantage of a rainy windy day to do some in-season speed scouting to look for some new deer sign. I was lucky enough to stumble across a primary scrape area at the tip of an oak ridge right before it drops off into a swamp. I never would have known a primary scrape area from any other area had it not been for Chris Eberhart’s book “Hunting Pressured Whitetails”. I’ve learned a lot of invaluable information from his books.

I hung a camera over a cluster of six scrapes all around the base of a beech tree (trail camera photo attached), a decision that was agonizing because I feared spooking a buck using the scrapes and I checked it Oct 31st when I got home from my work travel. I saw the buck had visited twice but both times during daylight hours just before dark. Judging by the daylight movement and the appearance of a primary scrape area  I decided to hunt the next chance the weather and wind gave me the opportunity.

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The last two days had consisted of 25-35 mph North winds and rain which kept me out of the stand. Finally the weather for November 2nd showed a 20 degree temperature drop and a 10-15 mph northwest wind. The rut activity here in Maryland has been pretty good since Oct. 27th with 2.5-3.5 year old bucks running does but no mature buck sightings. On the morning of November 2nd I used Bob Kirschner “Roam” scent on a boot pad on my walk to the stand. As I passed the scrape cluster I poured some “Rutting Buck” scent into one scrape and hung a scent wick on a branch above the scrape. After having a few does walk through the area I noticed what I thought was a decent buck following the trail I walked in with the boot pad. As he approached the scrape cluster I realized he was definitely a shooter. As he stopped to freshen the scrape 20 yards from my stand I released my arrow and as he ran off I could easily see the blood pouring out of him.

 trophy pic

He went a total of 80 yards before expiring. He is a mainframe 10 point. He broke off his right side G2 and has 3 holes in his horns as well as 2 sticker points off his left side G2. He also has rips in both ears and as I caped him out for a shoulder mount I discovered a blood clot under his hide and a large bruised area around the clot. The only thing I could imagine is he acquired the trauma in a fight with another buck as there were no other signs of injury. Judging by the broken tine, ripped ears and bruised ribs I would say he has to be a fighter which for me adds to his character.

– Kevin Holmes