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- Prostaff Member Dan Braman
John - John came down from New York with five other guys including his brother and father. I had a buck picked out for this hunt well before their arrival. John and I hunted this buck for the first two days of his hunt and wouldn't you know it…….NO SHOW!
I had literally seen this buck everyday for two weeks, now I couldn't find him. We rattled, we sat, we walked, we drove around, and we rattled some more and to this day, I have never seen him again. After giving up on this buck we moved to the south end of the ranch; we hunted a pasture that is full of deer. With a huge oat field on the north end of it and really thick brush all over it the deer are in there by the thousands.
While glassing that morning we saw probably 90-100 bucks. Around 8:00AM we finally saw one John liked. We moved into position and he set up around 150 yards away. The buck dropped in his tracks from one well placed neck shot and it was time for pictures. Great five year old management buck with heavy antlers and tall tines. As we headed back to the lodge with his buck I spotted a monster eight point buck that we had never seen. This buck was at least 21 inches wide and heavy. I could see that John was excited but he thought he could only take one buck. Since we are under management land permits it is legal for one person to take however many deer we have tags for.
With that being said I told John that if he really liked that buck he could take him for half of what his first one cost. A quick call and conference with his father and we got the green light. This buck was moving across a field toward some thick brush. We would have to move and move fast if we planned on intercepting him. I grabbed my binoculars and shooting sticks and said,” Lets go.” I took off at a dead run in the deer's direction hidden only by a small rise in the terrain. I had a four hundred yard gap to cover and I needed to do it in a big hurry. I could hear John right on my heals for about two hundred yards and then I didn't hear him anymore.
I looked back and he had fallen behind. He is half my age but I think that smoking was making it hard to breathe. We made it to where I wanted to be just in time to watch the buck walk into the brush. “Don't worry,” I told John,” I will build a blind while you eat lunch and we will hunt him this evening.” While John and company ate lunch I built a brush blind on the edge of a creek where this buck was originally seen. About 3:00PM we settled into the blind and I noticed once again I had a blind spot. I don't like blind spots!!!! I text Jimmy Brown, the guy that handles all of Mellon Creek's bookings and asked him if he could position himself a couple thousand yards away in order see my blind spot. He did and so we waited.
A few doe and small bucks fed out into the field but not the one we were after. At 4:50PM Jimmy sent me a text that read,” There's a buck very much like you described to me out in the field with some doe.” I moved just a little so I could see better and sure enough, there he was. Thank goodness I text Jimmy to help. We moved into position and I got John set up on the sticks. The shot was 180 yards. John was a little nervous so I talked with him for a minute calming him down. “John, don't look at his head man, concentrate on his shoulder. “ “ Take deep breaths and try and count the hairs on that crease behind his front leg.” After a few minutes of whitetail panic therapy the barrel of his rifle stopped moving and I said,” Ok Take him.” The gun went off and bullet hit with a thud.
The buck dropped in his tracks. John let out an exhale that sounded like a whale blowing. His hands were shaking and I’ve never seen a bigger smile. I congratulated him on a great shot and we proceeded to walk to his buck. As we walked up to the deer I took John's rifle so he could look at his buck. He was so excited he couldn't talk. It is this excitement that makes me love what I do. Huge management buck with awesome width and mass. His family and friends all got great deer as well with his brother getting an eight point with a 24” spread.