By Mark Kenyon


That was my mind exploding on Saturday. And still today the echos of that explosion are reverberating through my head. Just a few days ago I experienced what I believe is the best off-season day of deer related excitement I have ever enjoyed in my entire life. This weekend, along with my huntin buddies Josh and Corey, I headed down to Southern Ohio for a few days of final preparation before the season opens. And on Saturday my hit-list for the 2014 season literally (actually figuratively) exploded. Things have been slow so far this summer in Michigan, but the whole pre-season changed for me in a matter of minutes when I got down to Ohio. And here’s why.

When checking our  trail cameras, we got pictures of 8 different Pope & Young caliber bucks. Including five that are over 140″, one of which is a legitimate booner and two that are probably in the 160’s. Yea, for a Michigan boy, that’s a mind exploding kind of discovery. On top of that, while scouting crop fields that night we spotted 10 P&Y caliber bucks and two different booners too!

Needless to say, this was a heck of a weekend and my excitement level for the 2014 season has somehow reached an even higher height. So without further adieu, here’s a brief look at a few of the bucks that exploded my 2014 hit-list and made August 16th such a special day.

Old Friends

Most exciting on Saturday was discovering that three bucks that I was hunting last year made it through to 2014.

Split Shed 8

First we’ve got Split Shed 8. We got trail camera pics of this guy last summer and during the rut, and then this February my buddy Corey actually found his shed. He looks to be a pretty nice 3.5 year old this year with wide sweeping up main beams and a split brow tine.




Last year I had four encounters with this buck, most notable of which was when I missed him with my muzzle loader during a December blizzard. That missed opportunity has stuck with me, so I’m absolutely stoked that he’s back again and that I’ll have a chance at redemption. On top of that, he’s now a mega-stud and a beautiful 4.5 year old.




Yes, he’s back. The monster buck that haunted my dreams last year, after having three close calls with him, is now back and he’s bigger than ever. I thought he looked like a brama bull in 2013, and now he just looks like a dinosaur of some kind. He’s an absolute slob knocker, stink pig, swamp donkey of a buck. Just look at that body! Not to mention he’s at least 6.5 years old. Yea, I’m stoked.



New Friends

On top of the three returnees, we had a few very nice new bucks show up to the party. Who knows if any of these guys will stick around during the season, but it’s exciting to know that they’re in the general area. Here are just a few of the new guys in town.


First off we’ve got a buck we named JJ, short for Jawbreaker Junior, as he has a somewhat similar frame to that of Jawbreaker’s. It looks like this guy is just a 3.5 year old, so if he can make it through the year, we’ll be pretty darn excited to see what he turns into in 2015. Given that tine length, I think he’s got great potential. But if he walks in front of my stand this year, I won’t be afraid to send an arrow his way!




While we only got a few pictures of this buck, named Bullseye because of the thin white ring around his eye, we also got some video footage of him Saturday night in a bean field (seen on the right in the video still below). He looks to be a dandy 8 pointer.


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And then, there’s this guy. Goooood night. This one’s a monster. When we ran across these pictures, it just about sent us over the edge. And he’s been hanging out all summer. Sure hope he sticks around til October, because this here is a pretty special buck.




On Video

As if the trail camera success wasn’t enough, we also got some great bucks on video that evening while driving the backroads, including two booners. Here are just a few of those giants!

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So there you have it. One of my best pre-season deer weekends ever and a perfect example of what it looks like to have your hit-list explode. Needless to say, I’m stoked. Here’s to the 2014 season getting here ASAP.

Anyone else getting giants on trail camera? We’d love to see your pics, so please share them on our Facebook page!