Today’s Wired To Hunt reader success story comes from Alex Nadolski, who used trail cameras and two years of perseverance to arrow a giant Ohio whitetail. Congrats Alex! – MK
By Alex Nadolski
“It all started in May, 2014 when we signed our first Ohio hunting lease on a property that we never once set eyes on. Because of a lack of time, our first trip down to the new lease was Ohio’s opening day of bow season 2014. We briefly met with the landowner then proceeded to hang cameras and observation stands for our November rut hunt. It was on our return trip in November 2014 that a big, beautiful main frame 10pt. showed up on camera for the first time. He would later become known as ‘Muy Grande’.
Unfortunately, there were no sightings or trail camera pictures of Muy after October 9, 2014. That year I settled with taking a 130’’ 8pt and returned home to Michigan. We continued running trail cameras for the next few months until January, 2015. But still no sign of Muy.
In March 2015, we headed back down to the property to shed hunt, but had little luck. Again, no Muy. Come April, we set up multiple trail cameras around the property to start our hit list. When Muy still wasn’t spotted, we resigned ourselves to believing he was gone forever. With no hope in Muy, our focus went to two new big bucks named “Crown Royal” and “Shaq”. We collected hundreds of pictures of the two new boys all the way up to mid-September. Unsurprisingly, Muy never made a single appearance.
Finally, it’s October 23, 2015 and we headed back down to Ohio for our first bow hunt of the season. It was an uneventful trip with little movement seen so we headed home knowing that the two new boys Shaq and Crown Royal were still hanging around. They helped to ease the burden of not knowing where Muy went.
On November 6th, we returned to Ohio for our “rutcation”. The first morning I rattled in a young up and comer, 115” 8 point before breaking at lunch to check cameras and hang any necessary stands. Afterwards, we decided to go down by a creek that flows through the property. My cousin was busy hanging a stand while I was scouting for my own tree and growing more frustrated at the lack of options. Exasperation motivated me to pull the card that was on the camera over our food plot, yank out my laptop, and jam the card in. First picture, second picture, third picture…wait what? Oh my lord. Like a ghost, Muy Grande was back!
Not only had Muy added mass and width, but possible Boone and Crockett class status. Riding on instinct and adrenaline, I slapped the laptop closed, threw it in my backpack, slid precariously down the hill, and splashed through the creek without thought. As soon as I was close enough to my cousin, I yelled, “guess who’s back?! Guess who’s back?!” In the way only a hunting partner can read you, my cousin Steve shouted, “Muy Grande!” And like that, the switch was flipped. All attention moved to Muy. We put up cameras on every scrape near the food plot, hung a stand across an open grassy field, being our only option, with hopes it would be enough to get our eyes on him.
Two hunts later, we never laid eyes on him.
The next day we hunted all morning until lunch then got down and checked a camera that was right off the road. Muy was there during the middle of the night. With more motivation than ever, we hung two new stands just for Muy roughly 100 yards apart, one over a scrape the size of the hood of a pickup truck and the other just off the road where we got a picture of him the night before.
We called off the evening hunt to study trail camera pictures, get some rest, and have a good dinner. We had pictures of Muy on October 28, 29, 31 and then on November 5 and 7th all during the dark, but very close to daylight; giving us hope. November 9th, 2015 the day of all days to be a bowhunter, cold 27 degree frosty morning, I’m going to the stand where we just got his picture and my cousin went into the stand by the huge scrape. We get in our stands just before daylight, but spooked a few deer in the process. The thought was paralyzing because I kept asking myself “what if we just spooked Muy?”
Just before 8am I heard a deer coming in from behind me. Through the thicket, a doe popped out at 10 yards behind me and I heard a deep grunt, followed by another deep grunt. I slowly stood up. At the movement, the doe looked up at me for a few seconds then put her head back down. All I could see was tines coming through the thicket but couldn’t get a great look. Then suddenly, holy G3’s, it’s Muy. The doe heads off to my left, I spin and grab my bow. I somehow have to get a shot at him through this thick mess. He starts cutting the doe off and I come to full draw, “MEH”, he doesn’t stop. Louder “MEH”, still going after her I yell “MEH!!” for a third time and he stops in a little opening.
I got the pin on him and WHACK the luminok flew right through him behind his shoulder. He took off stumbling down the hill, falls once, gets back up, goes down again, gets back up; then finally goes down for good. I screamed then completely lost it. I knelt on the stand with my hands covering my head and still couldn’t catch my breath.
I heard my cousin say “Alex”…. “Alex”, but I couldn’t speak. “What just happened? That didn’t just happen” I’m thinking to myself.
I see my cousin running over, leaving everything in the stand I climb right down. I head over to my cousin while he asks, “are you sure it was him”?
I replied, “it had to of been him, those G3’s were incredible”.
We could see him lying at the bottom of the hill and were able to follow the amazing blood trail right to him. Yes, it was Muy Grande and he was down for good. What an absolute amazing whitetail! Long main beams, long tines, super wide, the buck I’ve dreamt about many nights. We got him loaded in the truck, took some quick pictures, and before we left the property we checked the trail camera on our food plot to see that Muy gave us one last breathtaking picture just about four and a half hours before I shot him. Long Live Muy Grande, gross 173’’ Giant.”