2009 Part 2- I was again hunting in Iron Mikes ground blind. Corn was still up. Uncle Bill cut the head rows out of the 60 acre field but the rest of it up so we could still shoot. I had already shot a buck that year so the pressure was off and I was out hunting for meat. My wife and I were so poor because we were both in graduate school, I struggled to give her money for lunch, pop, and gas. It was getting dark and I saw a deer stick its head out into the open field. It walked 2 steps out of the corn. I put the “doe” in my cross hairs, enter buck number 4. It dropped right there but was still moving. Much to my surprise Iron Mike was standing in the corner wearing his Seattle Supersonics coat and tan Carhart bibs. After earning the name Iron Mike, for missing a spike behind his house from 15 yards with “iron sights” he walked up and shot the deer in the neck with his 308, what he says was a German war gun. The actual Boone and Crocket scoring of this trophy is disputed to this day however, to the trained eye it is a 13 point.
It was a warm muggy October evening. Michigan just passed the law making hunting with crossbows legal and given my lack of success with the compound bow purchased a crossbow off craigslist. I was sitting the “Pine Tree” a stand that has produced several deer through the years. Tiny was hunting in a new blind we set up and had seen several deer at earlier in the season. About a half hour before dark two doe’s walked out to the bait pile and I heard more sticks cracking. In walked two bucks (6 point and a 3 point). All the deer were less than 20 yards away. The 6 point and 3 point started sparing which prevented me from getting a good shot. With all the commotion, one of the deer must have caught wind of me or, noticed my slender 320 build in the tree. I now had all four deer staring at me. I put the red dot on the neck of the 6 point and pulled the trigger. With the bolt stuck in the bucks neck it started running right at my stand. A couple seconds later I heard Tiny getting out of his stand. He then text me “did you shoot?” I said yes and that it was heading his way. He text me back and said he had it. It dropped 5 yards from his stand and he said he didn’t want to see it suffer so he finished the deer with his knife. Enter trophy 5
The inception of camp half rack. It was early riffle season. I was sitting in the Pine Tree and nighttime was falling fast. I had not seen a deer all evening. It was about 5 minutes before complete darkness and I heard sticks breaking in the distance. I got my gun ready and within seconds a buck emerged about 60 yards out down the trail. I didn’t have much time to react as he was briskly walking down the trail. When he entered the lane I pulled the trigger and everything went dark. I didn’t see him run but also could see him in the trail. I text Wally and he said to hold off on the track so we could do a 30 pack track. After Wally arrived I told him the story and when got to the spot the buck was when I took the shot and he was laying just behind a little hill. He had 3 points sticking up out of the leaves and my excitement grew as this was by far the biggest buck I’d taken. After picking up his antlers I learned that he was a big ole 4 point because the other half of his rack was broke off. Later that same season Wally shot a half rack spike and from that point forward our camp became “Camp Half Rack.” Enter trophy 6.
I had purchased a different crossbow from Uncle Willie because he upgraded and said the Parker Buck Buster hadn’t killed anything for him yet. The winter before was extremely cold with two weeks in a row that were below zero and tough on the deer population. It was mid-October and I was sitting in the first stand behind Camp Half Rack. It was a loud windy day but because I of my limited time to get in the woods I went despite the conditions. The wind was blowing strong from the South and it was so strong I could hear the neighbors (about ¼ mile away) swearing at the lawnmower for not starting and later having a casual conversation. I didn’t expect to see anything because of the conditions however, 15 minutes before dark I notice movement coming in my direction. I got my crossbow set and the buck walked in 8 yards from the stand. As soon as the buck got to the shooting lane I pulled the trigger. The buck took off running 30 yards, turned and started blowing at me. I knew it was a nice buck and felt disbelieve and disgust because I figured I missed the opportunity given that I have never practiced a 8 yards shot from a tree stand. After finding the arrow I found blood and 15 yards from where the buck was blowing at me he was laying on the ground. It was a double lung shot and there were air bubbles coming out of the entrance wound. Enter trophy 7.
The night before this hunt I was sitting in the Pine Tree because the wind was howling with gusts up to 40 mph and that was the strongest tree we have a stand set up in. With limited my ability to get in the woods I wanted to take advantage of the night. With the windy conditions hearing deer was out of the question but I noticed movement and in walked a nice wide six point. He was 60 plus yards out. I started grunting and the buck stopped and started marching directly at me. He walked 25 yards out and stood broad side. I took the shot and it was a clean miss. No blood no anything but I left the arrow in the ground so I could look the following morning.
I stayed an Camp Half Rack because I had to work in Lansing the following morning. I was sitting in the first stand but did not feel optimistic as I had missed the buck the night before. It was just after day break with I noticed a buck 50 yards out in some think brush heading towards a corn field. I started grunting and the buck kept walking away. I continued grunting for about 30 seconds then the buck stopped, turned and started marching directly toward my tree stand. The buck walked directly under my blind. His nostrils were flaring and he was breathing heavy but he was so close I couldn’t get him in the scope of my crossbow to shoot. After a brief time under my stand he started stomping off and presented a shot at 7 yards. I shot and he dropped but was not dead. This was my last arrow and because he was flailing around I was not able to use my knife. Therefore, I ran back to the Pine Tree/trail from my missed shot on the hunt the night before and claimed the buck. Enter trophy 8.