July 23 • 12:53 PM

Back to back record bucks

December 01, 2007
Last year I was extremely fortunate to take a 17 point buck, never did I dream of taking another monster Michigan buck - what are the odds of that happening? In fact, I agreed with many hunters that commented last year that I'd never see another buck like that. I was happy with my record book 17 pointer.

Well…2007 turned out to be another great year and I beat the odds!

On Thursday, November 1, I decided to sneak into a new stand named the "Funnel Stand." I had only used the stand one other time this year, but that was earlier in the season. I figured I wouldn't disturb anything and was able to sneak down the four-wheeler trail and into the woods without spooking any deer. I was in the stand around 5:15 pm.

Scott Norkey arrowed this deer on Nov. 1 on the same private land in Lenawee Co. that he shot his 17 point non-typical that was featured on the January 2007 cover. This year's buck is an incredible 9-point, which weighed 193 pounds with an inside spread of 21 inches.
I knew I didn't have much time, so I decided to try and make something happen and used my can bleat call about five times and followed it up with some grunts and growls. Immediately I heard a buck grunting off to the northwest in the thicket and it sounded like it was coming my way, so I grunted back a couple more times.

Within 10 minutes I spotted a deer about 40 yards out in front of me. It was a small 1 ˝ year old 9-point. He circled to my backside, and started to move off, so I grunted a couple more times. He turned and started back towards me. At that point he looked up at me, so I leaned back in the crotch of the tree as I heard another deer coming from the thicket. Trying to see what was coming without spooking the nine-point wasn't easy. When I looked back at the nine-point, he had put his head down and started walking towards the noise of the other deer. I took this opportunity to see what was coming…I first saw the body and then the rack and my heart started pounding.

As he walked out of the thicket, he had to turn his head to get through it. The big buck made eye contact with the nine-point and crossed over the four-wheeler trail. It was like having a live decoy. The nine-point was looking back and forth between me and the monster buck; again I took the opportunity to draw back my Martin bow.

As I looked through my peep sight there was a vine hanging in front of his vitals, I needed one more step. He took a step and I took a deep breath, squeezing my release. The arrow hit right behind the shoulder and as he turned and ran off, I could only see my fletching sticking out. He ran straight to the north and I heard branches break, then leaves rustling, more saplings breaking and the woods went silent. An eerie silence.

I was very confident about the shot, so I sat down, hung my bow, took off my head cover and looked to my right, and there stood the smaller nine-point. To calm myself down I called my brother. He knows that I'm not the most patient hunter when it comes to "after the shot." The wind was blowing from the deer to me, and the truck was the opposite way from where the deer ran. We decided that getting out of the woods was the best thing. I then called my house and my son answered and I told him what I had shot. He went running downstairs with the phone, yelling to his sister and trying to explain what I had just harvested. I called my dad and a couple of buddies to help me track.

I shot the deer around 6 pm, and we didn't start tracking it until 8 pm when my father got there. I wanted him to be with me when I found it. Once I told the story to everybody, we started down the four wheeler track to start tracking him. The anticipation made that walk seem like it took forever.

I first stood where he was when I shot and then turned where he took off and found the fletching part of my arrow. We had pretty good blood and you could literally smell the "rutting" buck smell. At one point, the blood went to one drop, so I stood on the last drop while my dad and Tom went ahead. It seemed like forever until I heard my dad yell, "I got blood."

I was so relieved to hear that and then, at the same time, my dad and buddy, Tom, yelled out, "There's your deer!" I ran up to it and grabbed the rack. We counted the points and actually used my boot to get a rough estimate of the inside spread. I was so excited that I started hollering and giving high fives and gave my dad a big hug. As I sat there looking at the deer, I realized it was the same buck that I saw the morning of Halloween. On that morning, I was sitting in the "Rut stand," which is the stand that I shot the 17-point buck from last year.

That morning I heard a deer come just before first light and actually heard him make two scrapes and what sounded like a rub. As I heard all of this, I picked up my bow, but I could not see my pins, so there was no way I was going to get a shot. The deer ended up twelve yards in front of me and I could make out that the rack was outside his ears.

I spoke with my father that night and told him that I saw the deer that I was going to try to get him to harvest. My focus for this year was to have my daughter Jordyn shoot her first deer and to give my dad the opportunity to harvest a mature 120-inch deer, since he has never shot one that big. My daughter had harvested a doe during the youth hunt and I was able to catch it all on video tape so my focus had turned to my father.

My other friend, Dan, helped me drag the brute out of the woods. We chose not to gut him out until after we got done taking pictures; therefore, it made the drag of the deer quite difficult and heavy. That's when my brother showed up, having driven down from Jackson. It was nice to share this experience with my brother and father. They were not with me when I got my big buck last year, and I did not get many pictures then; therefore, this year I was going to make sure that I did. We took about two hours to take two rolls of film then I proceeded to gut him out and get him loaded in the truck.

To sum everything up, this season is not over yet and it has been extremely exciting. From the early scouting and hanging treestands with my father, to preparing my daughter, Jordyn, for her first hunt, as well as practicing shooting my bow every other night with my son, Payton, right next to me shooting his compound bow. I still have one weekend left of bow hunting and then the gun season opens and my focus will turn to sitting with my daughter again and seeing if she can harvest her first buck.

I would like to thank my family, especially my brother and father, Dan and Tom for being a part of this experience.

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