By Mark Kenyon
Opening day in Michigan is tomorrow and the hunt for Holyfield is finally beginning.
Over the past few months I’ve talked a lot about this buck, so I won’t bore you with all the details again. I just want to cover the final conditions and plan for tomorrow’s hunt. But if you’re not caught up on the story, you can read the past articles (here and here) or watched our most recent video (here), in which I’ve outlined all of the history and details regarding the two year hunt for Holyfield.
So all that said, here’s where things stand now. Since the last update, I’ve sighted the big four year old again, right in my food plot, within shooting range of both my southerly wind ground blind and my northerly wind treestand. That was Wednesday night and he appeared to be coming from “Bedding Area A”, fed across the plot, and then headed NE towards “Bedding Area B” or the adjacent corner of beans.
Tomorrow evening we’ve got a light ESE wind, scattered showers and temperatures in the low 60’s – neither moon position or barometric pressure is particularly great. That said, conditions are somewhat middle of the road. I don’t anticipate any of these conditions to suppress movement, but at the same time it doesn’t look like there’s anything that will drive significantly increased movement. Nonetheless, with it being opening day and with the window to hunt this buck before he picks up on outside hunting pressure being small, I’m heading in.
With that ESE wind, I’m going to have to hunt the northern ground blind (the top blue dot in the map above.) Based on past encounters/photos, my hypothesis has been that he beds in Area B on southerly winds, but I don’t want to risk being wrong and blow him out of Area B because I was lazy. With the ground blind being my safest option, I’ll be sneaking in from the east and then putting on waders to walk the rain-swollen creek all the way to the back of my blind, crawling in and then crossing my fingers that he’ll do the same thing he did Wednesday.
While conditions aren’t stellar, they’re also not bad – and given the 4 daylight observations in this 3-4 acreish area over the course of the last 10 days – I feel like there’s a pretty decent chance I might get a crack at him. If I do, this will be one of the coolest hunts I’ve ever put together, as I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to analyze and pattern a mature buck down to this level before. As is the case whenever hunting a specific mature deer, the odds are against me, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the storybook ending I’m hoping for.