Author’s note: Todd Carter of Oldham County, Kentucky manages about 7,500 acres for wildlife and has one 800-acre farm he manages intensively. He’s been a PSE pro and also on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff.
I was hunting a 4-1/2-year-old buck named the “Black Widow” that eventually scored 188-7/8 points on the Boone & Crockett scale. We had been watching this buck on trail cameras for about two years and found his scrapes on top of an oak ridge. We didn’t usually put our stands up until the day we planned to take a buck. On this particular day, we hung our stands at noon. I got in my stand at 4:00 pm. At 5:30, we saw this buck coming toward us from only 40 yards away.
I waited until he got within 10 yards before I brought my PSE Evo to full draw. I was using a two-blade Rage Broadhead, and I had a good solid back wall. When the pin sight rested behind the deer’s front shoulder, I released the arrow. When the buck took the arrow, he did a mule kick and ran back the way from where he’d come. We waited for a good while before we went after him. When we climbed down out of the tree, we located a really good blood trail and went 100 yards before we found him.
I believe the secret to taking trophy bucks is living with them. I’m on my land looking at the deer and the other wildlife on these properties about 360 days in the year. I’ve learned after a buck sheds his velvet, he’ll probably set up his home range. So when you find a deer like this, you not only have to learn where that deer is living, you have to find markers that tell you where that deer likes to be.
We had found this deer’s scrapes and rubs and knew he was using this area. When we put up our tree stands, we got about 18 feet off the ground. I believe in the first-strike strategy for taking these older bucks. If these bucks realize they are being hunted, especially older-age-class bucks, they’re much harder to take. We want to introduce as little human odor as possible into an area. I like to get high in the tree, so one piece of equipment I always have with me is a Gorilla Safety Harness. No one intentionally falls out of a tree. Tree stand accidents occur when you least expect them and when you’re least prepared to deal with the fall. So, I always wear a harness.
For more information on hunting deer, get John E. Phillips’ new eBook “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros.” You can go to www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
Images courtesy John Phillips