I have accumulated an amazing number of big deer stories (with hunt keys that will help you hunt better) since I started blogging back in 2006. Here's one from the 2007 season:
One August day KY bowhunters Hurley Combs and friend Hagen Wonn set out 2 new trail cameras to try and pattern a huge non-typical they'd seen the year before. After 8 days Hagen pulled the cards and left a message on Hurley's phone: “Speechless. Call me!” Hurley figured they’d gotten some cool pictures and indeed they had—400, including several shots of “Freak Nasty.”
Hurley saw that the giant was spending time in a finger of woods between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., so he set a stand there before the September 1 bow opener.
Hurley had to coach his sons’ football teams that morning. Afterwards he bathed and slipped on shorts for the short drive to his hunt area. It was 85 degrees and the favorable wind was blowing 5-7 miles an hour. Hurley gathered his gear, sprayed raccoon urine on his boots and settled into his stand at 2:30.
Hurley doused the tree with more coon urine every hour or so. Around 5 p.m. the wind switched and began to blow his scent down into the area where the buck ws likely bedding. Hurley had told himself if that happened he'd leave the stand, but something told him to stay put.
Around 7:15 he heard deer walking. He turned and saw 2 velvet-covered racks heading his way. The bucks were nearly upon him before he realized one was the giant in the pictures!
They came fast and Hurley had a dilemma. How was he going to stand up to shoot? Freak Nasty was almost directly below him; the monster stopped, tensed and stared up toward Hurley who thought, "Game over."
The buck took a few nervous bounds to a trail Hurley had ranged earlier at 22 yards. He stood up, turned, drew and released in one motion. The red-lighted Aluminock sped toward the buck's ribcage and disappeared into the boiler room. Hurley, shaking, grabbed the tree and sat down for a while before he fell out of it!
The Combs Buck gross scores 217 1/8" and nets 205 6/8" non-typical--No. 1 in Kentucky for velvet non-typical and No. 4 in the state all-time for archery non-typical.
Some hunts keys:
If you locate and pattern a big deer like Hurley did and have exclusive access to those woods (no other hunters in the immediate area) the bow opener (all week) is better than the rut to kill him (he’s more predictable and hasn’t been pressured).
HUGE key, something I’ve blogged a lot: Just because the wind changes you don’t necessarily have to leave a stand. Sometimes risk it and hunt on a not-so-perfect wind like Hurley did.
HUGE key 2: Hurley let Freak Nasty walk under him and go away before he stood up to shoot. If you move too early with a buck coming in and his eyes toward you’ll likely get busted. When Hurley got his chance, he stood up, kept his composure and shot quickly—do that! He had ranged that trail at 22 yards earlier and it was in his subconscious--another small detail but big key to killing the velvet titan.