The future of hunting, the future of our sport
Just thought I would share my great 2007 fall hunting experience with you. What a great one it was. I waited until the rut began November 3 and around November 10 bucks started moving and there was a huge scrape behind my house. It was that day I saw a four point coming downwind very cocky and bold and all of sudden he became very submissive, that's when I knew there was a bigger buck around. Then I saw it-a huge 10 point coming in from the finger of grass coming into the woods.
My wife Rose had let my Brittany out to do her business, and I heard her call Gretchen from my stand. Unfortunately the buck heard her too. He turned and walked back into the thornapples not to appear again.
I hunted patiently for another hour and then as my stomach began to growl I decided to go in for a bite to eat. As I poured a cup of coffee Rose said, "Look at that buck out in the food plot.'' Right in front of our picture window we could see between the fence and the barn a nice 8 point feasting in 2 acres of chicory I had planted for viewing deer year round.
On November 12 I woke up and headed for my best friend John's farm in Sanilac County. This has been a tradition for 21 years. John's son Trent, who is 10 years old, has been hunting with me for two years and really loves to hunt. I have been teaching him the way of the whitetail. The main way I have hunted is with scents, mock scrapes and my favorite scent steamer (which warms your scent).
The first day was slow; Tuesday I switched a stand to a tree-filled ditch that cuts through a corn field. Wednesday morning, thanks to a southwest wind and rain, everything was going wrong. The wind was blowing from behind me out front to my left a cross wind. I still had a steady stream of does coming across the field in view. I grunted out to them to see if they could hear me. They must have heard me because they stopped and looked. Even though it was quite a distance sound was traveling pretty far that morning.
When everything began to settle down a little voice in my head told me to grunt a few more times. I did, and down the ditch I could see a deer stand up. I thought all the does had moved through so I grunted one more time at the deer. The deer stepped up into the corn stubble and began to walk my way. I took my binoculars out to get a good look and to my surprise it was a 6-point buck. When he approached 35 yards away I put an arrow through both lungs, and he expired in two minutes.
Trent was immediately by my side to help me load the buck onto the Kubota to bring my trophy in.
After the business of cleaning and hanging the buck, Trent had to go to school, he is in home schooling and this young enthusiastic hunter is a very bright young man. He is up at 3:20 a.m. to help with the milking and chores and is usually done by 6 a.m. He drives the tractor, Bobcat, also a lot of machinery around the farm. Much different from a 10-year-old city boy except when it comes to his work and knowledge of the computer. It is a way of life that used to be pretty common in America but not anymore.
Realizing that the next day was opening day we decided to do some power scouting. A neighbor's property that butts up to John's corn has 120 acres choked with pines, and though it has been hunted very little, we have seen some pretty big deer on his property the previous few years. When we got about 100 yards into the transition zone of corn and
pines we found rubs on the pines as big as my thigh. I have never in all the years hunting seen rubs this big. I knew I found the area for opening day to lay my scent trail down.
After dinner, cards and cocktails it was time to hit the sack. I knew four a.m. came early. Trent woke me up, and he was so excited I told him to eat a bowl of cereal and turn on the coffee pot before the big day. As we headed out to our stands I parked by a bunch of round bales to hide my truck.
I walked over to the pines with my drag rag, which had been soaking in some special golden esters. I started there and headed west along the big ditch. I crossed the road and freshened my drag rag one more time. I continued another 200 yards and stopped by some standing soybeans that John left on the headland. At that point, I fired up my scent steamer and laid my bottles of scent on top. I crossed into the ditch to my spot and all of a sudden the rain began to fall. I covered my face with my hat and laid back and closed my eyes for a quick snooze. After all, it was still dark.
The first shot of the morning woke me; I poured a cup of coffee and waited for the day's events. The first hour I had 20 does run by me, but at 8:00 I saw my first buck, which was limping but was too far away for a shot. My stomach began to growl so I pulled out my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and began to eat.
Ten minutes later, a rooster pheasant flushed in front of me out of the soybeans cackling into the wind. Movement caught my eye to the right of me, across the ditch it was the biggest buck I had in front of me in 35 years. When I grabbed my shotgun he caught my movement and spun around and tried to run north. A load of buckshot stopped him in his tracks that was the end of that. I could not get across the ditch fast enough, when I got up close and seen the size of him I was shaking. I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord for granting me this beautiful anima, a 220 lb. 8 point buck, the biggest deer I have ever taken.
Instead of taking all the glory and sending in just my picture with my two bucks, I am sending in a picture of Trent Boegner, the future of our sport.
Mark D. Wills
June 25, 2008