Ohio whitetail hunter Davey Stuckey isn’t any stranger to this area. We lined the story of his 229-inch Buckeye State nontypical bow kill again within the fall of 2018. Properly, Stuckey arrowed one other large Ohio buck final season, and if that weren’t sufficient, his son outdid him with a fair larger one. Right here’s the story of their father-son dream season, and classes you possibly can take from their success to make use of this coming fall.
The Hunt for Satan Horns
The elder Stuckey struck first, arrowing a buck he’d recognized about for years. “I first had photos of a buck I referred to as ‘Satan Horns’ again in 2016. He had tumors throughout him, and I by no means thought he’d survive,” Stuckey tells F&S. “He confirmed up once more the next 12 months, although, wanting wholesome, with no tumors. He was all the time a deer that might present solely a pair instances throughout summer time, however then he’d be all around the farm I hunted throughout rut. He’d flip up in late October yearly, like clockwork.”
In the course of the 2020-21 season, Satan Horns was essentially the most predictable buck that Stuckey had on his cameras, however he had set his sights firmly on one other nice buck and wound up consuming his tag. “When the 2021-22 season rolled round, I turned my consideration to Satan Horns. He was huge and form of a bully; he saved every part pushed off the farm I hunted,” he says.
As standard, Satan Horns confirmed up in late October, and Stuckey began searching him each day beginning on the thirtieth. “I had a number of encounters with him however may by no means shut the deal. He would spot me in my tree stand even after I’d moved it a number of instances.” Though Stucky had had most of his encounters on the perimeters of canopy, he determined he wanted to maneuver nearer to a doe bedding space within the timber because the rut progressed. On November sixteenth, he went out at noon and hung a brand new stand.
“The following morning I headed to that set at first gentle and was capable of slip in with out busting any deer. Quickly the does began to pile into the bedding space, and certain sufficient, in got here Satan Horns, following them. When he bought to 12 yards, I drew my bow, shot, and pin-wheeled him. He went about 40 yards and piled up. I knew he was an previous, huge deer and, after all, I had tons of historical past with him. However I didn’t understand he would gross low 180s by Buckmasters Rating. Greater than something, I used to be excited to arrow a deer that I had recognized and adopted for 7 years—it doesn’t matter what he scored.”
The Redemption Buck
Whereas Stuckey was concentrating on Satan Horns, his son Gaige was busy with faculty and sports activities, which left valuable little time for searching. “As soon as I tagged out, I bought busy in search of a buck for Gaige to hunt. Whereas I had most of my cell cameras on two different farms, I had typical cameras on one other spot, and once I checked them there was a large within the photos,” says Stuckey. “We had no historical past with this buck. He simply confirmed up November 4th and stayed.”
With the rut winding down, Stuckey put out a corn pile (authorized in Ohio) with the hope that the massive deer he would observe a doe to the spot, in search of a final likelihood to breed. Lastly, on November twenty sixth, Gaige was capable of get out for a night hunt. “The buck got here proper to us at 34 yards, and Gaige squeezed the set off on his crossbow however solely reduce hair off the underside of the buck’s chest. I believed for certain that that deer would by no means be again, however the very subsequent night, he was on digicam once more, simply after darkish.”
Gaige wouldn’t be capable of hunt once more till his Christmas break, so Stuckey continued to place corn out, and the buck continued to indicate frequently. Throughout that span, the buck daylighted a number of instances, however Gaige was all the time at follow or a sport. Lastly, on December twenty second, he was capable of get again out. “Amazingly, the buck not solely confirmed up, however got here to nearly precisely the identical spot as he did the primary time,” says Stuckey. “This time, Gaige made a wonderful 34-yard shot. We’d by no means gotten round to naming the deer earlier, however one we recovered the buck, Gaige gave him the nickname ‘Redemption.’” The stud whitetail taped 197⅞, underneath the Buckmasters scoring system, says Stuckey, and judging from the trail-cam pics and movies, the deer had damaged off a 4-inch tine. “Not solely did Redemption give Gaige an unimaginable second likelihood, however it was additionally a heck of a Christmas current for a 15-year previous.”
Classes from a Father-Son Double
There are two necessary takeaways from Stuckey’s hunt for Satan Horns, and the primary is to search for annual patterns. As bowhunters, all of us attempt to sample deer throughout the season. We search for day by day or weekly routines that assist us arrange an ambush at simply the suitable time, in precisely the suitable place. However increasingly, savvy hunters like Stuckey additionally research trail-cam images and journal entries to uncover yearly patterns. And what they’ve realized is that it’s not unusual for a mature buck to indicate up on a farm on the similar time 12 months after 12 months, typically in the exact same place—and Satan Horns was simply such a buck. He would flip up in late October, “like clockwork,” and keep by way of the rut, and since Stuckey knew this, he additionally knew proper when and the place to seek out him.
The second lesson is about turning your consideration to do bedding areas because the rut progresses. Stuckey was really seeing his buck on the perimeters, alongside tree strains and ditches, he advised me. And but he moved into the timber close to a doe bedding space—as a result of he knew that this was the place he wanted to be to truly arrow the deer. Nobody must be advised that bucks will spend extra time close to does because the rut heats up. However a doe bedding space offers extra than simply potential mates; it provides cowl, and it’s the mix of these items that make your odds of a daylight encounter with a mature buck skyrocket. Stuckey’s buck proves it.
Gaige’s buck additionally has two key classes. The primary will not be to surrender on a buck simply since you missed it with an arrow or crossbow bolt. With regards to mature late-season whitetails, it’s straightforward to imagine that something that spooks the deer will ship him into the following county. But when bucks relocated each time one thing put them on edge, they’d by no means relaxation. An arrow or bolt whizzing previous—and even slicing hair—will most likely ship a buck bolting away, but when he didn’t scent or see you, there’s an honest likelihood he’ll don’t know what occurred and can return to a standard routine. That is very true if the place in query has every part a late-season buck needs. Gaige’s buck had each does and straightforward meals at his disposal. The Stuckey’s the place sensible sufficient not to surrender on the spot, and it paid off.
The second lesson is straightforward, and that’s to imagine in second possibilities.