Today’s reader success story comes from CJ Turner who has had an absolutely unbelievable 2016 season, tagging two 5.5 year old bucks with his bow. This story is sure-fire proof that passing young bucks and hunting them smart in future years eventually can lead to incredible success. Congrats CJ! – MK
By CJ Turner
“Boys I just tagged out!!! I can’t believe this, booner down!” This is the text I sent to a few of my best friends on November 3rd 2016. I had just killed my second buck of the year and was elated. You know, the kind of feeling Antonio Brown gets when he scores a touchdown (Pepsi, if you’re reading this please don’t sue me). Not only was it my second of the year, it was the second five year old of the year. Both deer had been on my radar for three years and both blew up to giant status this season.
The first, a 161” main frame ten that I had passed several times last season and gotten tons of pictures of, came in on the first cold front of October. He had read the script and walked into the edge of a clover/alfalfa plot I had planted the spring before, giving me a quick but easy ten yard shot as he ran off a three year old. Getting that buck had made my season, but I knew there was another deer in the area that deserved my attention. So, after a couple day celebration eating generic brand mini muffins and sinking into the recliner I got back to work.
This “other deer” was a probably a net Boone main frame twelve and I had a great idea of what he would be up to in the coming weeks. I literally had hundreds of pictures of him growing up over the past few seasons and had passed him more than five times. I figured if I could plan my hunts per the weather and his historical early November marches in daylight I could close the deal.
Sure enough, the very first hunt I went back in after him he popped up and worked his way in to twenty five yards cruising along the downwind edge of a bedding area. You know the feeling you get when you draw the first couple of numbers in the Powerball? That feeling of too good to be true excitement? Well that feeling was settling in, but right then he decided to turn and walk straight away from me, leaving me standing there humbled and somewhat heartbroken. Not to be discouraged, I kept after him. He was blowing my cameras up day and night and I knew it was just a matter of time.
November 3rd found me headed in to an area that I knew my chances were good. I had decided to hunt on the ground with a good amount of cover and my back against a large tree. I had hung two hundred dollar stands in trees, just to look at them from a distance because the wind/situation calls for a ground ambush. A tactic I have used successfully many times. Just as daylight broke, I saw a large bodied deer only fifty yards away, working its way towards me. Finally, a doe popped out and scooted by me at less than twenty yards. I caught movement behind her, and it was him! He made a scrape, wasted more time than you can imagine and finally decided to work into a position that I could draw. At the shot, I just knew he was smoked and that was confirmed by him piling up in sight within thirty five yards. Putting my hands on that deer and capping my best season thus far was indescribable.
Since taking that deer I have jumped back on the muffin diet. Things are all good and I’ve got my eyes on the deer of next year… Good luck to all of you in all your efforts and thanks for continuing to grow and protect this tradition that we all cherish so dearly. To whitetails!
– CJ Turner