By Mark Kenyon
With the 2012 season still relatively fresh in my mind, I found myself daydreaming today about who I might see again in the fall of 2013. When I say who, I’m speaking of bucks. And I can be honest here and admit that I’ve probably spent a little too much time fantasizing about what bucks might have made it through to see another season. During the fall of 2012 I captured trail camera pictures and/or encountered a number of really nice bucks here in Southern Michigan and I have yet to hear confirmation of any of these deer being killed. That said, I’m sure a couple of these bucks are off the board and I just didn’t hear about it, but none-the-less I’ve got high hopes that a few of these guys will be repeat customers in 2013.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d share with you all the bucks that got away from me in 2012! And hopefully, with a little luck, I’ll have a much better tale about one of these deer next season!
Triple Threat: Here’s the buck that was at the top of my wish list for 2012. I was able to film him once during the summer in a bean field and then captured him on trail camera a couple times. But as it goes with many of these mature Michigan bucks, he disappeared come hunting season. This buck has an inside tine, a split brow tine, and a drop tine of sorts – which is why we called him Triple Threat. Truly a stud of a Michigan buck. If he’s around next season, I’m going to have a hard time sleeping!
Mega 8: Here’s another giant Michigan buck, but this guy is most likely a ghost. He showed up just a few times on camera during the rut, but I never had an encounter. He was most likely a rut roamer, but if he survived there’s a chance he could cruise back through next season!
Turkey Foot: Here’s a buck that I’ve had a little bit of history with, Turkey Foot. I caught trail camera pictures of this buck in the winter of 2011 when he was a 2.5 year old. Then this September he popped back up on camera. I got several pics of him, and finally on November 1st I had an in person encounter. You might have read about this encounter already or seen the video of it in our 5th episode of Wired To Hunt 2012. But on this evening Turkey Foot intruded on a big 8 pointer courting a doe, and they proceeded to getting into a pretty serious brawl. It was an awesome thing to see. I’m really hoping we can continue the story in 2013.
Lopside 9: Here’s another buck I got pictures of and had an encounter with. Lopside 9 is named this way because of his especially tall left side, but less impressive right antler. I ended up encountering this buck on the 13th of November and almost got a shot on him. After grunting him in to about 50 yards, he circled downwind and busted me. Better luck next time, I hope!
Big 8: Here’s the Big 8 that got into a brawl with Turkey Foot on November 1st. I have numerous pictures of this buck throughout the fall, and I also encountered him on November 2nd. I ended up grunting this buck in too, but in an almost identical situation as my encounter with the Lopside 9, the Big 8 circled downwind of my stand and busted.
Sticker 8: Sticker 8 was a local buck during the summer and early fall, and appeared on camera almost religiously He has a small sticker off the base of his right main beam which gave him this name. Once the hunting season arrived I only had two more sightings of Sticker 8. One was a trail camera picture in November, and another was an in person sighting of him running across a cut bean field. Hoping to see what he turns into this year!
Leaner: Here’s another buck that I had quite a bit of interaction with. I first saw Leaner in a beanfield, feeding with Triple Threat and another nice mature buck. At this time, Leaner has a tine that leaned in, almost horizonatally off his right beam. I began getting trail camera pictures of him later in the summer and fall, and this leaning tine had been broken off – but the name stuck. Since then I got pictures of him all over this property, encountered him cruising once in late October, and I actually ended up nearly getting a shot on him on November 12th. Unfortunately, I kind of blew that opportunity – literally – with a poorly executed calling sequence (to put it mildly). You can see that encounter here or read about it here.
Split Brow Nine: The Split Brow Nine is a buck I encountered just once, but it’s an encounter that will be hard to forget. This great big buck appeared almost out of nowhere, exiting a swamp heading towards a cut bean field. Whenever he was within 40 yards he was behind brush, and whenever he was in a lane he was out of range. Just the way it goes. You can see video of this buck in the same episode that features Leaner, Big 8, and Turkey Foot, by clicking here.
So there you have it. These are the bucks that ran through my dreams this past season, and managed to evade me in real life as well. If I’m lucky, a couple of these nice Michigan bucks will be back to haunt me again in 2013. I’ve got my fingers crossed!
Do you have any specific bucks you are hoping to hunt again in 2013? Tell us about them in the comments! And if you have pics, post them up on our Wired To Hunt Facebook Page!