karboI started hunting when I was 12 years old. The motto of the Karbowski ‘Big Buck Ranch’ was “if it’s brown it’s down.” That led me to a lot of does, with my first doe being a button buck. I hadn’t had the opportunity to hunt a lot because of football, but when I did, I would say it was always an experience.

Throughout my illustrious hunting career I’ve been busted by snorting deer in nearly every county in mid-Michigan. At the Karbowski Big Buck Ranch I scared 4 bucks, 1 four point when I was in 6th grade because of buck fever, 1 four point in 9th grade for reasons that only inside sources know, 1 eight point because the cam on my bow hit the tree stand that my dad, “The Big Cat”, hadn’t fixed in 10 years and the other one smelled me…which was the biggest buck I’ve ever seen in my life, and one because I was puking out of the stand from a long night of preparation and partaking in festivitiesJ

2007- Picture this…my second year hunting behind Iron Mike’s house.  Me and Iron Mike made an elevated tree blind that could truly turn into a 20 page story. It was made of 6 x 6 posts that I got from CMU, that we prefabricated in his shop and took out to the woods with the skid steer and reassembled. When we went to lift the blind up with the skid steer it, pieces started shattering off our prefab work and turned into about 10,000 toothpicks when it collapsed. Our plan was to take the blind to the woods, set it up and be back in time for lunch. The blink turned into an 8 hour project that ended with us bolting the blind to a tree so that it would stay up.

It’s opening day, Nov. 15. At this time I was working at Michigan Works in Greenville. My request for the day off was denied therefore, I made the executive decision to call in sick. In addition of my need to be in the woods, I had an interview with Goodwill Workface Development at 10am. After a morning filled with non stop gun fire, the biggest and only buck I saw that morning walked in sight and was 18 years out. I took a shot with my 30.06, he looked at me, grunted and took for the field. I was so excited because it was the biggest buck I had ever shot! With my heart racing I ran to the house just to see Tiny’s (my brother in law) tail light pulling out and no one else home.  Since it was a half mile walk back, I decided to take a shower and go to the interview and then come back to take care of the deer. I got the job, and trophy number one is one the wall.  (Tiny helped me gut the deer and drag it to the house when we got back to the house.)

2008 – My first year as a married man. Opening day of riffle season landed on a weekend. I hunted all morning in a tree stand and it was cold, snowy and windy. I saw 41 deer that morning and thought I was in a war zone because I had never heard so many shots in my life. I held out as long as I could but after 4 ½ hour I got cold enough and went in for the afternoon to eat pickled bologna, cheese, crackers and get a nap. I went back out and I decided to sit in Iron Mike’s ground blind that had been on the property for who knows how long and had not been sat in for years because it was so cold and windy. To get in this shack I had to suck my gut in because he had the smallest door. After an entire afternoon of not seeing anything, it was dark and I was just started squeezing out of the door again when I saw 6 deer come running out beside me. I slipped the other half of my body and back in the blind and I was hunting again. It was so dark all I could see was their shadows, but there was one trailing behind and it was acting like a buck because it’s head was on the ground sniffing the other ones. I put my scope up on the neighbors yard light so I could see the cross hairs, I lined it up with the shadow and I pulled the trigger. The deer dropped right there, enter trophy buck number 2.  The funniest part about this story is, I went to the house and Iron Mike and Tiny were excited too so we drove the John Deere lawnmower and ‘Mr. Dumpy’ (little wagon) back to get my prize. Using the lawnmower as our source of light, started gutting the big ole buck. After watching my saw for a couple minutes, Iron Mike said he had the angle and I have never seen anything like this in my life! He took the knife from my hands, and told me to hold the deer open because he had a good line on it. He proceeded to cut through the deer and stabbed me in the forearm.  After he stabbed me, he put the knife back in my hand and proceeded to chain smoke cigarettes until the deer was done. I was bleeding so bad I couldn’t tell if it was the deer’s blood or my own.

2009 – I didn’t shoot anything again during bow season as I hadn’t in the past 17 years . I was sitting in the two man blind with my buddy, Kyle Schultz, videotaping. It was a slow day calm and cold day, the corn was still up because it was a wet fall. The goal of the hunt was to obviously get a big buck but also to get a kill on camera. After a couple hours of nothing, a doe a big doe came through that I could see on the scope but Schultz couldn’t see ln the camera. After watchingthe video turned out the deer was in the deer was in the camera the entire time, my camera man just didn’t see it. About a half hour later, I saw some movement in the corn. Schultz got the camera up and I slowly got my gun into place. After getting a better look it was confirmed that it was another wall mounter. The buck saw movement and started a stare off. Now in the crosshairs, Schultz said he could see the deer. I shot him in the neck and I dropped him right there. Enter trophy number 3.

Everyone teased me because the racks were getting bigger but Schultz referenced my trophy’s body size of a small dog. But the orange camouflage busch leaded cans made it all worth it.

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