Date: November 15th
Time: An hour after first light
Conditons: 40s, overcast, NW Winds
Weapon: 12 Guage Mossberg
Location: Near Cass City, MI
1993 Southern MI Mature Buck Success Story:
We all go through the growing pains of whitetail hunting, don't we? This buck represented a several year list...of growing pains! Misses and target panic with a bow ruled my mature buck opportunities throughout the early 90s. Really, I see guys that get really down on themselves because they can't kill a mature buck their first year out. But what about your 2nd year out? Or 3rd....4th, 5th, or 6th? For me, I harvest my first "mature" buck in my 8th year with a shotgun, and then didn't accomplish it with my bow until 1997. Talk about a learning process!
This buck was similar to many I hunted extremely hard in those early years. By helping the local farmer in the fields, I was granted permission to hunt his woods...a whopping 8 acres (yes, 8 acres!) I was 23, and I was extremely pumped to be able to go after this guy. I had missed him with a bow just a week prior to the gun season opener, and I felt I had him patterned for the opener.
The neighbor to the West and Northwest actually had some incredible bedding cover along the banks of the Cass River, totalling more than 30 acres. My strategy? To Set up on the SE corner of the cover, and wait for them to approach their stands from the North and start banging away at any deer they saw. Within the first hour the typical "war" insued! It was loud, and I saw a lot of deer, running right by my makeshift ground blind from NW, to SE.
Then it happened! Shouts from the NW filled the woods, as apparently the neighbor's son shot his first buck. I could hear the story from several hundred yards away, and so could the deer. As the the last doe and fawn filed by, there he was! The only problem? He was still on the wrong side of the fence, not wanting to leave his honey hole of daytime security cover. With my gun raised I waited...and waited...and waited! As the last of the doe family groups disappeared into the brush running away from me, I was concerned that the neighbor to my South would start banging away and this Southern MI monster would turn back towards his cover. But the neighbors didn't shoot (yet) and he didn't turn, instead choosing to slowly cross the fence and immediately fall to his belly. I had harvest the biggest buck of my life and it wouldn't have mattered if it was 130 inches...or 200, I couldn't have been happier with my first, "Buck of a Lifetime"!
What could be better than shooting that buck, on that day? Getting to be a part of my hunting buddy Mike, shooting his best buck the same morning, and the later standing together with Mike as we watched my dad shoot his first buck, ever! What an amazing day in Southern MI, at a time when just in 1 early 90s gun season opener I counted 400 individual shots during the first hour of light!