A Seven Year Chase For A Big Six Pointer

Show Notes

On this episode of the Nine Finger Chronicles, Dan talks with Curtis Reynolds of Ontario about a seven year chase for a big six point buck. Curtis shares where this buck lives, the terrain he called home, and how he kept track of this deer over the years. As a 5 1/2 year old, Curtis had an opportunity but missed the shot. Curtis believes that this spooked the buck enough for him to shift his home range 7km to a different farm that luckily he had access to hunt. After relocating this buck, Curtis was able to put a plan together, and the rest is history. Listen along for the whole story! Enjoy and share!

Show Transcript

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the Nine Finger Chronicles. Podcast. I'm your host, Dan Johnson. And today we're going to be joined by Curtis Reynolds of Ontario, Canada, and he's going to talk to us [00:01:00] about a seven year journey. For a six point buck now, I know what you're thinking like seven years for six points, man It seems like a lot but this is a big six pointer awesome story tons of history with this deer and so this actually might break a record for the oldest With the lowest score the oldest, most mature buck with the lowest score.

And we joke about that on today's podcast. We talk about it all. We talk about when he found out about this deer his encounters, believe it or not, he missed it once before before this past or before this year, where he ended up. Cracking him on opening day. And so we go through this seven year history, talk about the sheds, talk about the the shift in a core range.

We talked about, we talk about the landscape. We talk about everything. All right. Just everything you need to know in a really good deer hunting story. And Curtis does that [00:02:00] for us. So I know you're going to like this this episode now, before we get into today's episode, though, I, I gotta catch you guys up on what's going on in my world right now, and that is zero hunting time and it's by choice, right?

When this episode launches, it will be Wednesday, I think the 11th or something like that, and I will be. Sitting in my office doing exactly what I've been doing all fall so far, prepping everything, getting ready for the big push late October into early November and beyond. So the goal is the goal is here is to just.

Bide my time, right? There's a huge cold front that came through. And on Friday Friday's episode this week, we're going to talk into detail about this cold front with my buddy, Jeremy Dinsmore from the antler up podcast. And we just, we break it down. We talk about who does an early [00:03:00] October cold front truly benefit those types of conversations along with, does a cold front in early October.

Or what happens if that cold front comes during the October Lowell or whenever, some people think the October Lowell. So we have a really good conversation there, man. I am shooting my bow. I'm getting ready. I'm slowly weeding through equipment, not this weekend, but next weekend, my wife goes away on a little girl's trip for one night.

And then when she gets back, then I'm going to South Dakota and I'm going to try to kill a mule deer, man. That's the goal, right? I just want to kill one mule deer. That way I can say I'm multiple, I'm a multiple species hunter and if nothing else, but I'm really looking forward to this. This is the latest I've ever been to South Dakota.

So I'm hoping to see a little bit of rutting activity, maybe them pushing around some does really getting [00:04:00] to see maybe some bigger age class, bigger antler deer up on their feet this timeframe and not hiding in all the nooks and crannies. But I might have to deal with some weather.

As well. So that's what I'm looking forward to. And then, I got my, my, my two shooters on two different properties. I wish I could say I had multiple shooters this year, but each property this year so far has one shooter. My new farm might have two, but I'm not a hundred percent sure yet.

It could have been a fluke. I've got one set of pictures of them. It hasn't been anything regular, as we get closer to the rut, that could change too. So before we get into today's episode, I'm just going to run through all of the partners of this podcast real quick. If you're looking for us, if you're looking for a saddle or saddle hunting accessories or climbing sticks or how to educate yourself on saddle hunting, go to tethered nation.

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That I have set up and we'll see how that, how all that turns out Woodman's pal while I'm out there hacking away at stuff, cleaning, shooting lanes, cleaning bushes and chopping vines and making access routes and all this stuff, I got the Woodman's pal in my backpack woodman's pal.

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And then last but not least new product on the nine finger chronicles. And that is the. The company that I started, Full Sneak Gear. So if you are looking for a Nine Finger Chronicles hat, I've only made one so far, and it is currently for sale at fullsneakgear. com. While you're there check out the other t shirts that are available.

A couple of different options and a couple of different colors and it's something that's going to be growing in the future. There will be hoodies, there will be stocking caps, there will be flannels, and it's going to be a true lifestyle brand. And so I hope that you guys go take a look at it.

I'd appreciate it. There's that. And [00:08:00] man, I have to say this now because Probably, you probably don't listen all the way to the end of the podcast, but at the end of every podcast, I say, where your damn safety harness it's very important, right? Not only for your safety, but if something happens to you, let's say if, let's say my dumb ass didn't wear a safety harness and I fell out of a tree and I broke my neck and I become paralyzed or worse yet dead.

How am I going to raise my kids when you're dead? right? Or you're paralyzed, right? It becomes really difficult to do that. And so this wearing a tree stand isn't or wearing a safety harness isn't about you per se. Yes, it's important. Yes, it's for safety, but it's also very family and your loved ones.

And the people who rely on you on a daily basis, so where your damn safety harness. And then at the end of the day, man, it's all about positive energy and good vibes. I'm a huge, like good vibe guy. Like [00:09:00] anytime I hear my buddy going through, my buddy's going through a rough patch. Hey dude, sending good vibes your way.

Anytime I hear I hate to say it, but like some of my friends, parents are starting to get old. And I've had a couple. Friends that I grew up with, whose parents have passed away. And so now I am sending good vibes their way. I'm sending positive energy to the people who need it. And if you guys could do that to the people that you love who need it, man, it just snowballs and then the world's just.

Obviously a better place. So good vibes in good vibes out. And we'll talk to you on the back three, two, one. All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the nine finger Chronicles podcast. And today I am joined by someone from the great white North of Canada, Ontario, Canada, to be specific, Curtis Reynolds, Curtis, man, how are we doing?

[00:09:56] Curtis Reynolds: I'm doing great. Great. Thanks for having me on Dan. Yeah. 

[00:09:59] Dan Johnson: And [00:10:00] today we're going to talk about how do I say this? The largest, lowest scoring buck I've ever seen. Yes, 

[00:10:09] Curtis Reynolds: pretty much. Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. He is he is the biggest six point I've ever laid my hands on. Yeah, it was, He's definitely an overly mature buck and was pretty pumped to get 

[00:10:20] Dan Johnson: them.

That's awesome. That's awesome. And so we're going to be talking, breaking down that story, talking about where you hunt, how you hunt all that stuff today. But before we get into that, what do you do for a living, man? 

[00:10:31] Curtis Reynolds: So I actually, I've been at a lumber distribution company for 19 years now.

I run a crew of 17 guys. We supply a lot of construction material. To our surrounding area. So it does work out pretty nice that we start to slow down this time of year. And , I usually take six. Usually we have six weeks off in the fall to to chase whitetail, so That's awesome. 

[00:10:58] Dan Johnson: It works out pretty good.

Are you, [00:11:00] do you work one of those jobs where you're just putting in a shit ton of hours throughout the summer, spring, summer, early fall, and then once it starts getting cold and snow on the ground, then you guys are pretty much shut down. 

[00:11:12] Curtis Reynolds: 100%. Like we're pretty decent. We're pretty decently busy through the winter, but yeah, I'm usually there at 4am in the morning till, five o'clock at night through the summer and spring.

And then yeah, it just, like I said, it works out. That's we start to slow down and I get all my time off that I want. 

[00:11:30] Dan Johnson: So are you and your crew like true lumberjacks where you're going into the woods and chopping down giant trees? Yeah. 

[00:11:37] Curtis Reynolds: No, we're like, we're the last part of it where we eat a lot of pancakes and syrup.

That's for sure. But but not like flannel and acts and everything. No, unfortunately, man, we're the last, we're the last part of it. So we just. We get the milled lumber and finished product and get it to where it's got to be. 

[00:11:55] Dan Johnson: Okay. Cool, man. Cool. Yeah. I tell you what I got. Man, I was in between [00:12:00] jobs.

Oh, this was several years ago. This would have been 12 to 12 to 13 years ago. And I was in between jobs and one of my buddy's stepdads work, his family owned a lumber yard or a lumber company. And he's he offered me a position to do be an estimator Basically you walk into someone's property you check how many trees they have that would be worth cutting what the value of those would be And then you know give it to the land owner says yes or no, right on whether or not they want to You know timber their property.

And so I thought that would be I thought, man, that would be an absolutely amazing job to have, especially for someone who's a deer hunter. It's because of all the connections that you could make doing something like that. And I've talked to a couple of the guys in the lumber industry that do the upfront stuff like the cutting of trees and the estimating and stuff like that.

And they, they've [00:13:00] said that it's a great, it's a great opportunity to get on some properties with some really good deer. 

[00:13:07] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah. Yeah. It's funny cause I'm on the other spectrum of that. I deal with a lot of customers, a lot of guys building barns and homes and, building these prop, building these properties up and you get that rapport with them and then, Hey so you yeah, it's worked out pretty good through the years for that way too.

[00:13:27] Dan Johnson: That's awesome, man. That's awesome. All right. Yeah. Awesome. Ontario, Canada. How? Yes, sir. Compare Ontario, the size of Ontario to maybe if you're, a state you might be familiar with in the United States. 

[00:13:42] Curtis Reynolds: I'd say, Wisconsin is pretty big. I believe we'd be equal to that. Takes you a while.

Like we can drive, 20, 27 hours north to Moose Hunt. And still be in Ontario. Okay, 

[00:13:57] Dan Johnson: so all right, so you're in the [00:14:00] southeastern part of Ontario 

[00:14:00] Curtis Reynolds: then? Yes. Yeah. We're in like ag land. Okay. Like big time ag land. It's yeah. A lot of big fields small blocks of woods that are connected by a lot of drainage ditches.

So you can break a property up pretty quickly. Yeah. So yeah, 

[00:14:18] Dan Johnson: dude, I'm looking at a map now and I think Ontario. It would be the size of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois combined. So it's, yeah, it's pretty big. And so I take it throughout the entire span of Ontario, like deer all over it, or do the whitetails shut off after a while?

[00:14:42] Curtis Reynolds: No, it's the more you get north the south, southeastern, southwestern part. That's your deer land. The more north you get the deer shut off, the moose get heavy. The deer used to be more north, but they don't coincide with the moose very well [00:15:00] in Ontario. So they just shove them right out.

So yeah, no it's more of the Southern part of Ontario that, that holds the deer. Gotcha. 

[00:15:08] Dan Johnson: Do you guys have elk? Anywhere in 

[00:15:10] Curtis Reynolds: there. We do. The ministry released them build the herd back up in Bancroft, which is I'd say about two and a half, three hour drive from us. They released them, I think, 10 years ago.

And the herd's been growing and growing. And it's a very selective hunt right now. Only a certain amount of tags get handed out, but the herd is growing and developing. So within the next 10 years, we should have a pretty regular. Regular hunt for quite a few guys. Oh, 

[00:15:43] Dan Johnson: that's awesome. Yeah. Yeah, they're doing that a lot in the United States as well We're Missouri Kentucky, Pennsylvania your non traditional States they're the herds building up to where more and more guys seem like they're gonna be able to hunt [00:16:00] that anymore I think and I think you know, yeah, really the Appalachian States are perfect for I mean I can see Tennessee and West Virginia And possibly Virginia and North Carolina being able to do an elk con at some point.

[00:16:15] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah. And it's neat because like I said, like three hours from here is where they've got the elk right now. And it's. It goes from flat ag land where we are to dense cedar, like big ridges, like the landscape changes so much just in that little short timeframe that they've done really well in it.

So it's nice to see. That's 

[00:16:39] Dan Johnson: awesome. All right. All right. Are you, how far are you from the United States? 

[00:16:45] Curtis Reynolds: I am from the Michigan border, we I could be in Michigan in nine 

[00:16:51] Dan Johnson: hours. Okay you're on the east, the eastern side, northeastern side of Ontario. 

[00:16:58] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah, so do you know where [00:17:00] Toronto is? Yep.

Yep. Yeah, so I'm about three and a half hours east of Toronto. I'm basically right in the middle of Ottawa and Toronto. Okay, 

[00:17:11] Dan Johnson: so so you're close to Lake Ontario. Yes, sir. 

[00:17:16] Curtis Reynolds: Actually like I our properties some of our properties Are right on Lake Ontario. Oh, that's awesome. Okay. Yeah. I grew up duck hunting, Lake Ontario, Bay of Quinney.

It's all right there, man. It's all accessible to us within a five minute drive. Gotcha. 

[00:17:33] Dan Johnson: All right. So talk to me a little bit about the terrain. Now you mentioned you hunt this deer, this specific deer and where you hunt is ag. What kind of ag are you talking about? 

[00:17:45] Curtis Reynolds: So we're talking a lot of our farms.

are top notch, like high quality like their food grade egg, right? So a lot of it gets shipped. So it's [00:18:00] premium wheat, grains soybeans, corn. A lot of the farms around here, they ship a lot of their hay. Real sweet, rich alfalfa to southern states for the race horses. So anything that these deer are eating, it turns 'em into quality grade A beef


[00:18:18] Dan Johnson: I gotcha. They have some good good food there. 

[00:18:21] Curtis Reynolds: Yes. Like I said, and a lot of soybeans. Yeah, a lot of 

[00:18:25] Dan Johnson: soybeans. What about corn? How much corn you guys 

[00:18:28] Curtis Reynolds: do have? Oh I mean it's a lot. It's 

[00:18:32] Dan Johnson: true. We've, alright, so it's like just straight up true ag country. 

[00:18:37] Curtis Reynolds: 100%. Like it's, we got a hundred acre fields, back to back to back with corn and beans is 90 percent of what you'll see.

[00:18:44] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. Okay. So that's just like here. Talk to us a little bit about the terrain in the area that you hunt. Is there a lot of it or is it flat? 

[00:18:53] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah, we don't have a ton of quote unquote, big ridges in our area. It's pretty [00:19:00] flat. It's pretty chunked up. Little blocks of hardwoods.

There's the odd little chunk of cedars, which is pretty much stay away. That's great bedding. You don't touch those. A lot of drainage ditches like grassy waterways that connect these blocks of woods. So it really, like I said, it's easy to break down a property And they're pretty easy to hunt because there are certain travel routes that they're not getting away from because of the way the terrain lays.

And like I said, in these little blocks of hardwoods, we call them ridges. They're really just they're little hills, right? They're not anything, but it lays it out. They're going to travel that a bit more. And it is overall, it's very flat land. Little blocks of woods adjacent on the edge of just huge ag fields.

[00:19:52] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Okay. And so talk to us a little bit about. [00:20:00] what you do for deer. Are you a trail camera guy? Are you a scouting guy? Do you shed hunt? Do you do the full, run the full gamut or what's your strategy for every year? 

[00:20:10] Curtis Reynolds: I love what, yeah, I tell you what, man like I said before this deer is definitely a rebound buck for me.

It's been, Four years since I've harvested a buck and a good mature one at that. And a few years ago, about five years ago, a buddy and I started doing a lot of filming. Okay. So we are very hardcore. We are very much trail camera guys. We do a lot of lag work and I am a shed fanatic.

We pick up, between a hundred and 150 sheds a year. We do a lot of footwork in the spring to figure out our deer for sure. And like I said I started relying a bit more, more than I should on trail cameras. This year I finally listened to my buddy and my wife actually. [00:21:00] And I cut back on the trail cameras.

I found they, they started to give me a bit of. The hunters fatigue almost I was relying on them a bit too much and then going 

[00:21:11] Dan Johnson: to beat yourself up. Yeah, go into detail about that because there was a time when I, and I still might be doing that. I feel like I still rely, I rely on trail cameras a lot to tell me what's going on, on, on an annual pattern, but.

Talk to us about what you're talking about where they can sometimes be a hindrance. 

[00:21:33] Curtis Reynolds: You start to rely on them, right? Like I know I started to rely on them way too much. And I found that actually we did a lot of start doing a lot of filming and put a lot of pressure on myself with that as well.

And then, like I said, with the trail cameras, You start to almost get a bit lazy. I found, I put them in the same spots every year after year. And then all of a sudden you're like, Oh my gosh. I'm not getting, I'm not getting the pictures, what's going on. And [00:22:00] you start to fail to actually do your lag work.

And if you walked another 50, 60 yards, they've switched their pattern just a little this year and And you're just being a bit lazy and it starts to wear on you. And so I really cut it down and you started to rely on them too. And expect to get a certain amount of pictures.

And if you're not getting those pictures, you're frustrated. You're in there too much. You're moving stuff around. You're putting too much pressure on your deer, pushing them around too much. And yeah, so I really cut it back on, on trail cameras this year. I got back to. Doing a lot of legwork again that I wasn't doing in the past years and Just had a select amount of trail cameras that I put in certain areas and it paid off You know as I buckled down I was able to narrow down Are more mature bucks again, and [00:23:00] yeah, and it really does 

[00:23:01] Dan Johnson: do you feel that sometimes and I think you just described it But I'll ask the question anyway that with all the gadgets out there trail cameras included that Hunters are looking for I don't necessarily want to say a shortcut, but that's the first word that comes to my head To apply, like they're using trail cameras instead of woodsmanship.

Do you feel like that's starting to happen more and more? A hundred 

[00:23:29] Curtis Reynolds: percent. It happened to me. Like I said I invested way too much. I invested way too much faith in my trail cameras. And like you said, I stopped doing lag work and, perfect example is. When I went in the night to harvest this buck I hunted a pond and I checked the trail camera on the pond, the front end of the pond, and there hadn't been a picture in three weeks on that pond.

And instantly I was, [00:24:00] defeated right there. What am I doing in here? Okay do I go to somewhere else? And then... All of a sudden it was that voice that was like, no, dummy, take two seconds, look around. And all of a sudden the rest of the back three quarters of that pond was littered with fresh tracks.

Brand new trails. So it was like, okay obviously I'm not getting pictures. They've switched their routine. They're coming in from the back end of this pond. And you just set up according to, right? But in past years I would have been frustrated. Okay there's nothing. on this trail camera, off you go, right?

So yeah, I definitely think it's an easy way out, right? It's it's definitely, 

[00:24:39] Dan Johnson: yeah. Yeah. I'll tell you this, man. I feel like trail cameras can give a guy a lot of information, especially if they're put at, put in well thought out heavy traffic areas, but they definitely do not. Paint the full picture of what deer like the deer herd is doing in general [00:25:00] because man I've seen them take Shortcuts, I've seen them take trails right behind my trail cameras The example that I always share is I was trying to catch somebody Steal my trail camera.

All right, so I put Another camera up in the tree facing down at the camera to try to catch this guy. Anyway I ended up I ended up getting pictures of. One of my target bucks on multiple occasions, and I checked that camera in the tree after the season was over, one of my target bucks was walking behind that tree.

From me to my computer away, walking behind it, not in front of it. So I was getting zero pictures of him, right? But I did. I found that out after the season was over. And so I was relying. 100 percent on what that trail camera was telling me. And so it just opens your eyes like, man, it's just a small sliver of what's going on in the timber, man.

[00:25:57] Curtis Reynolds: Exactly. And that's the thing too, is, you [00:26:00] rely on that and guys forget that, man take the five minutes to walk around an area and then do an observation sit, forfeit a couple of nights for observation, sorry, observation sits in different areas of that timber on different conditions, like different winds and everything, and just hone in off of that, it's, you forget how to be, Okay.

I guess you forget how to have that predator instinct come out 

[00:26:28] Dan Johnson: again. Yeah. And your eyes will tell you a lot more than what those trail cameras will tell you, man. And like everything you've just said has hit home for me because I don't do as many observation sits anymore.

Like I used to back in the day. I think a lot of it has to do because I've learned my property and the properties that I hunt. I don't necessarily need. To do observation sets, but I do feel that those up that observation sets, especially if you don't understand your movement are very important.[00:27:00] 

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So you're in heavy ag country. You're in you're in, it seems what you've said is really flat terrain. Talk to us a little bit about this time of year, specifically in leading up to when was your opening day? October 1st was your opening day. So literally 10 days ago, basically is when you shot this year.

Okay. Yes, sir. Okay. So talk to us a little bit about what the deer are doing up there. As far as maybe a bed to food pattern, if they have consistent bed to food patterns, if they go back to the same location every single time, or is it really based off wind? Break that down for us. 

[00:27:46] Curtis Reynolds: So this time of year is usually a little easier.

We are having, we have a cold front right now. That's. that's pushed in. But the opener of the season was unseasonably hot. Yeah. Like real hot. So it [00:28:00] did throw them off a little more. Usually usually they are very much a predictable. Hang out in that tall grass, that staging area. They like to stay in, in the pinch points, like in those corners of the bean fields, of the corn fields.

You catch them a lot of this time of year, coming out of corn, bedding all day in that corn, coming out to the bean fields. But that all changed, right? Opening. They they were more so in the heavy canopy, staying cool in the hardwoods and staying on like acorns and everything like that.

Yeah. So yeah, it's but predominantly, yes, they are very much, they go to bed, come out into the staging, come out into the those corners of the fields and it's pretty, pretty predictable 

[00:28:54] Dan Johnson: usually. Okay. What's what's your typical bedding area look like? 

[00:28:58] Curtis Reynolds: Typical bedding [00:29:00] area is either, for us, it's usually pretty heavy cedar.

Okay. Like it's, it, that's pretty typical. We do have the odd hardwood ridge. They'll sit up on, but 90 percent of the time, if you can find a patch of cedars, which 90 percent of the farms around here have, that's what they're going to be bedded in. 

[00:29:24] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. All right. So when did you start getting trail camera pictures of this deer?

Is this a multiple year deer with multiple encounters and trail cam pics, or is this a first timer? No, 

[00:29:40] Curtis Reynolds: this is it was seven years ago. We started getting pictures of this spot. Seven? On our, seven years ago. Yeah. Okay. 

[00:29:48] Dan Johnson: Now I'm interested here. Seven years. That's a lot. Yeah. That's a long time. 

[00:29:54] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah. This is a property that that my family's had for 37 [00:30:00] years now.

Okay. And so it's been pretty neat. So yeah, we I started getting pictures of them seven years ago. I've got six years worth of sheds off of them and not every year matches. Some years just, left or right, but enough to follow a story on them. I actually got an opportunity on.

The fall or the far side of this farm when he was five and a half and I actually , I missed him. I was drawing and a dose snorted behind me that I didn't see. He took about three bounds out. I guesstimate at 35. Shot right underneath him. Threw him completely nocturnal the rest of that year and the following year.

Not a single daylight, not a single daylight picture, sighting, nothing. He was all dark. And had Had some other good encounters with him, but nothing that I could, a shot I could take or anything. Last year

[00:31:00] antler wise, and I had him coming in pretty consistent. I had winds, everything, figured out on when he was coming on certain trails. If we had a really extreme cold front pulling in in November last year my youngest daughter she had a heart appointment down at the one children's hospital.

So obviously, that's, that comes first and my wife and I were down there and in the hotel room that morning of her appointment. And I got trail camera pictures of him standing in front of my one stand in daylight. And that was all I had him last year for daylight. And whatever.

It happens, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then this year I really figured him out. I knew where he was. Got frustrated, like I said, with that fatigue early earlier on this year because I couldn't [00:32:00] find him and I just I got on my feet and started walking, finally was able to track him down and even we did some observations just through the summer just to see who's walking where, who's in what bean field, like really went, like I said, went old school when just, gave up a lot of that technology.

And threw it aside and was able to find him the old school with my honor. Yeah. Yes. And and like I said, it was, we woke up opening day. I sat a different part of the farm just not to blow these deer out in the morning. My wife had some really great encounters at a different stand. And then we hunted until about 11 o'clock and went back in about one o'clock.

I had the saddle. I was like, you know what? I'm hunting the only pond, the only source of [00:33:00] water we have for a thousand acres kind of thing. If anything, I'm gonna see, I know he's in the area up on this little hardwood ridge for the day and got set up, got comfy and about, like I said, that was about 1 30.

I got settled in and about six o'clock. I was just lounging in the saddle, taking it all in, enjoying it, Reconnecting with hunting again almost, after, like I said, those few years of that fatigue and pressure that you put on yourself for no damn reason.

And so anyways, lounging and all of a sudden everything just went eerily quiet. Okay. 

[00:33:39] Dan Johnson: Hey, we got to stop. We got to stop here because I have a whole bunch of other questions about this deer. All right, so You have seven years worth of history on him seven years Okay, you have six years worth of sheds from him, right?

Yes, sir. Has he always been a Six pointer. Yes. [00:34:00] 

[00:34:00] Curtis Reynolds: Yes always ever been. Oh, sorry. Sorry when he was five and a half He was a seven and I say a seven with the old school red neck count, like if you can hang a ring on it at the point, so he literally had a, he had a G three on his right side one year and that was it.

And other than that, he's just gotten, he was heavier, like he was a lot more mass. And a bigger frame, but other than that, he has always just been a six point. Okay. 

[00:34:33] Dan Johnson: Yeah. So as far as this deer's travel patterns over the years, has it been like hard? If you were to mark every dot on a map of every time you've seen this deer, every trail camera picture that you have you, is this deer's core area tight, is it big?

Has it changed throughout the years? Has he done the same thing over and over? 

[00:34:56] Curtis Reynolds: It was until until he was five and a half and I missed [00:35:00] him, it had been one little block of woods that had, it's just a hardwoods that goes into a little like spruce swamp and then into this big heavy swampy area until he was five and a half, that was his area and it was, he was so predictable that But yet so hard to hunt at the same time.

We all know that these big deer, like you can pattern them as good as you want, but for some reason, these guys know that they are something special and they know when someone's there, for the most part. And yeah, he would be in the same area every year. And then once I missed him, he actually shoved like.

It's only seven kilometers down the road to a different, to a, to an entire different farm, still ours and all the land in between is still ours, but he shoved his and he, [00:36:00] and then he never left. He just housed on a totally different farm. So he shifted. 

[00:36:06] Dan Johnson: Yep. That's a huge, in my opinion, that's a pretty big shift.

Yes. All 

[00:36:11] Curtis Reynolds: right. Yeah. He left. Like I said, the rest of that year, he was nocturnal. He shed on that farm and then he just, he shipped out and then I could not find him, could not find him and all of a sudden it was, by chance. I'm going to go into this area that we really never hunt on this one farm.

We've left it alone for, four years, three, four years. And sure enough, there he was seven kilometers down the road and and then yeah, and then the story picked up late that 

[00:36:40] Dan Johnson: next year. Yeah. So did you think he was dead? 

[00:36:45] Curtis Reynolds: I didn't think he was, I didn't think he was dead. I knew he was still a healthy enough buck, but I thought he might've just shifted off.

If he would've went to the east. He was on someone else's property. So I figured [00:37:00] by me missing him, it just threw him off that much that he did ship off. Didn't figure, like I said, I didn't, I was hoping anyways, he wasn't dead. But cause he was still a healthy enough buck and, he wasn't super, super old, but but yeah, and then lucky, like I said, lucky enough bumped into him on one of our other properties.


[00:37:20] Dan Johnson: So out of curiosity cause sometimes what happens is a bigger more mature buck, more dominant buck can kick a deer. Off off their core area or there could be a power vacuum somewhere else where a bigger, big, nasty, mature buck dies and another buck moves in. Did you ever witness maybe via trail cameras or even yourself, shooting a deer and then another one coming back in.

Did you ever witness any type of power vacuum or do you think this might have been a reason why?

[00:37:58] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah, it might have [00:38:00] been my dad shot a, got a super, super mature buck and he was definitely one of the bullies, like he was he'd push everybody around, dad actually harvested them last, I guess two years ago, so I think that's, that could have been why, and he was like, this deer was never a real A real dominant buck in my opinion, he was more of a subordinate, like he was a big body deer, but he never seemed like he was the most mature buck around, or most dominant, sorry.

And I think when he trans transitioned into the other farm, there's definitely. Bigger antler bigger antlered deer and everything, but I think it was more of an easy transition because like I said, like he was more of a subordinate, so he wasn't a threat. He just, he was easy to push around, so I don't think...

Didn't like fighting probably. No. So like I said, dad did take one of the more mature deer off of that property a couple [00:39:00] years ago. But it's not like he was going to fill that role anyways. And we do have a few deer on this property that are, there are definitely a lot bigger antler deer.

And he didn't bother. He hung around with a lot of the, a lot of the younger bucks. Yeah. Seemed like he that was his gig was training those up and comers almost right, 

[00:39:20] Dan Johnson: but yeah one thing that, we all learn is just different personalities of deer, especially if we're following a specific buck for several years, you get to learn that who you might be able to rattle at, who you don't think you should rattle at, who would respond more to a grunt or.

Yeah. Deer that just don't give a shit. I've run into a couple of deer throughout the years that you call Adam, you rattle Adam, even when they're scraping or they're in an aggressive posture, they just, they're not going to come into any type of calling. And yeah, man, I just find that very interesting.

Like the subordinate versus the dominant buck and who, man, cause I've seen, [00:40:00] it's crazy last year. I was doing a late season hunt and this I'm guessing just based off body, I'm going to guess him in that six to seven age range, huge, absolute huge body, all the characteristics of a mature buck. And he's probably packing a hundred and 20 inch eight point frame.

That's it. And so if he would have walked by, I definitely would have shot him. But he walked out into a cornfield and he beat the shit. Out of a hundred and fifty inch four year old just years back, boom, gone. And it was something really fun to see that the, how dominant, how dominance works there.

[00:40:42] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah. Yeah. That's 

[00:40:43] Dan Johnson: cool. Yep. That's cool. And leading up to opening day though, now we're going to get fall back into the story leading up to opening day. Were you getting any type of trail cam pics? I, you said you went old school there and you located him, but [00:41:00] were, did you. Get any did you put any trail cameras out?

Did you get the trail camera pics? What led you to say? Opening day is the day that I need to go after this buck 

[00:41:13] Curtis Reynolds: You know what? I did have a couple trail cameras in around that pond and in that hardwoods I knew that He was the most frequent buck in that area. Yeah definitely, like I said, I hadn't got a picture of any deer on that pond for at least two to two and a half weeks.

But I knew that was, from out throughout the summer, that was where he was, that's where he was hanging out. And I, like I said, it's heavy, open there too. So I knew hot day. They're going to be hunkered in there. But yeah, like I said, he was the most [00:42:00] frequent buck in that area for the last month and a half.

So it's just kinda. I don't know, going off of that hunter's intuition and gut, too, yep. 

[00:42:13] Dan Johnson: And you got the right, obviously, you got the right wind direction layout this scenario. Lay it, lay out the wind direction. Lay out the, you mentioned it was hot. Lay out the access.

Lay out the entire map for us of where this deer was at, where you thought he was coming and where you were going to position yourself. 

[00:42:31] Curtis Reynolds: Okay. So yeah, going into that afternoon like I said, it was like 32 degrees and there was actually zero wind. It was calling for five kilometers. If we get a five kilometer wind on a forecast.

It's nothing. Yeah. There's nothing. Yeah. And 

[00:42:47] Dan Johnson: just for the people, I'm sorry to interrupt, but just for the people, when he says 32 degrees, it's not Fahrenheit, it's centigrade. So we have to clear that story up right now because 32 degrees is [00:43:00] cold right here. But not where you're at. It's blistering hot.


[00:43:05] Curtis Reynolds: say this, yeah, that's like June weather. That's let's go to the beach and go swimming with nothing on thing weather, right? Yeah, it was supposed to be a, I guess it was a southwest wind. I'm supposed to pick up a little more towards the night.

So it was perfect because they would have been bedded in the hardwoods to the southwest of me at this pond. So access point to this. It's right off of a four wheeler trail, like we have our main access trail through this little chunk of hardwoods literally drive right by the pond on this four wheeler trail.

So I threw the saddle on my back, went in, snuck my way in got to a tree that I had picked out a month and a half ago. Up I went and.[00:44:00] There was literally zero wind all day and it was just beaming hot. Like I said, it was, yeah. And then I knew that they like to hang out to the Southwest of me.

Usually they come around to the front. So the East side of this pond And I just, like I said, everything went eerily quiet about six o'clock, and I heard that rhythm, that footstep rhythm, knew it wasn't squirrels this time, I turned around in my saddle, and of course, Go figure, it's the old school thing, the time you're going to see a deer that you want to see, you are completely unprepared.

I was lounging in the saddle, like I was so laid back in the saddle, I couldn't even reach my bow. I was so sprawled out in this thing, right? And I turn around slowly and there's this. This young eight point standing, coming in down, down this ridge to the [00:45:00] pond. And I'm like, Oh man, like I can't move now.

I'm wide open. And all of a sudden he's in right underneath. My Saddle Tree and everything like he's just picking away crunching at all these acorns and a couple squirrels actually came down a tree were fighting spooked him a bit and then all of a sudden I could see these other Legs come and walk him through and as soon as this big guy stepped out.

I knew exactly who he was I've got all this history with them And then it's okay, let's calm down here, see if we can make this happen and they settled down, they come right in, picking out the acorns. I was able to pull myself up, and I had to I ended up getting all wrapped up in my main line, in my saddle, and I had to spin my back around to the tree, because they came in the exact opposite way to the pond, as I thought they were going to.

He actually, went to the edge of the pond. I was able to get my ball he started drinking, and he was [00:46:00] eight yards, and I had to lean way up and out, lean way out and finally I found a hole. It was about eight inches through the trees. And it was perfect, right where I needed it to be, and settled the pin on him, pulled the trigger, and he went 15 yards.

He went right through the pond, up out of the back of the pond, and expired, like I said, 15 yards away. So it was, and then it was, I gotta hang my bow up and, before I drop, because I'm shaking so damn bad now, but... So it was... Definitely bittersweet, it's always a remorseful thing, like you're, you all of a sudden you have so much time and so many years invested in this, in a certain deer.

And, it's like seeing a best friend, move away or something. It's, but it was pretty awesome. It was so nice to finally end that chapter and finish that story. Do you 

[00:46:59] Dan Johnson: think the moment of [00:47:00] truth? When you're full draw, putting your pin right on this buck, do you think that because you had seven years worth of history with this deer, it made that moment more intense?

[00:47:15] Curtis Reynolds: A hundred percent. For me it does. For me it does because, I've already had encounters with this deer. I've... 

[00:47:24] Dan Johnson: You missed him. I missed him. 

[00:47:26] Curtis Reynolds: Exactly. And so it's it's not only is it... Not only is it was he my rebound buck for the reason of okay I'm rebounding back from missing him for four years ago.

Yeah, so alright, let's not do this again let's not reenact this part. But you know like a rebound buck for so many reasons For my first buck in four years because of all this, stupid pressure that us as hunters put on ourselves and relying on certain things like, like trail cameras and coming back from [00:48:00] all that, there was just, it was crazy how It was such an intense moment for so many reasons and to push yourself through that mentally, and calm yourself down, quiet those, voices and focus on the task at hand, making that ethical shot, for myself and for this deer, that I've got so much history with, it's yeah long way answering your question, yes, I think that because, You have so much history with a deer that it, to me it's more intense than.

They going into having a day Walker come in that you don't know and shooting, it's still intense, but it's a different level of intensity for me for sure. Yeah. 

[00:48:45] Dan Johnson: Okay. Whew. That's tough, man. I can remember when, I don't know if you've heard the shipwreck story that I've told on this podcast, several times now, but the moment of truth, when that buck.[00:49:00] 

It was, I feel like I would have had a better shot at killing that deer from just a nerve standpoint, if I'd never seen him before, as opposed to having five years, four years of history with him, having several encounters with him and things like that. And I, dude, I'm telling you right now, I blacked out.

I just was like, I see him. I knew it was him. I grabbed my bow, drew back. And then it was just lights off until I saw him spin around with my arrow in him and ultimately I didn't get him, but I was just, I was a wreck, an absolute wreck when he showed up and I think a lot of that also has to do with experience.

Right now I'm way more comfortable around mature whitetails than I was 10, 12 years ago, because that was, that would have been 2010. So I have all that other, all that experience under my belt now where, they say act that, that whole notion when it comes to winning a championship, they [00:50:00] say, act like you've been there before.

And so more times you've been there before, it does make it, it does make it easier. 

[00:50:07] Curtis Reynolds: Yeah, and that's the thing it is funny because like I've been fortunate enough to harvest a lot of great deer I got you know five years ago I shot an eight point that I've been after for a while and and he's 170 172 inch a pointer.

No. Yeah he's a, great deer and I've been fortunate enough to harvest a lot of deer, not 150 to 170 class, but yeah, none of them were as intense. Is this buck, just because of, like I said, having that deer that I've had a story with for, seven, eight years it's, it definitely made it.

It, I was full drawn this year for a minute and a half, I'd say almost two minutes. Just to calm myself down, to make sure I was settled in enough and [00:51:00] yeah, I said it's once that luminol hit him, it was just, 

[00:51:03] Dan Johnson: yeah. That's awesome. I knew that's a good feeling, man. Great feeling. Yeah. Alright I gotta ask, did you measure him at all?

[00:51:11] Curtis Reynolds: I really haven't yet. He's still drawing. Yeah. Like he's honestly sitting on, he's a six point, just sitting on probably a, I'd say 140. A hundred and. 140, 150 class frame, but but just, yeah, no, I, I haven't yet. He just huge forks 12 inch G2s kind of thing, right? Yeah, 

[00:51:37] Dan Johnson: that's awesome.

It's awesome. I'll tell you what, man, congratulations on kicking off this season the right way. What else do you have? Is. Are you able to hunt at all anymore or are you done for the season? 

[00:51:51] Curtis Reynolds: In Ontario here, we are fortunate enough. So we don't, we only get one tag per year per hunter.

[00:52:00] But in our part of Ontario, we can party hunt with archery equipment. Okay. As long as as long as my buddy Josh or my wife, Erica, or my mom or dad are out, we can all party hunt as long as we're within five kilometer radius of each other. Okay. Yes, I've still got hunting I can do, but to be honest with you, I don't mind taking the sidelines.

I don't mind. Getting the bench and warming it and and allowing everyone else and trying to get everyone else on, on good deer. Like I'm happy. It's it's definitely a weird feeling, 

[00:52:33] Dan Johnson: being done this early. I don't know if I'd like it or not, man. I don't know. 

[00:52:40] Curtis Reynolds: I don't, I don't, I like those cold fronts.

I, I fiend off of, on hunting snow storms. Like I, that is my favorite and that is definitely by far by I'd say. By 15, 20 degrees, the hottest I've ever, the warmest day I've ever killed a deer. [00:53:00] Usually we got a foot of snow on the ground. That's when I love to hunt. So when he said taking the sidelines and potentially not hunting the rut this year, I don't know.

It's a little weird. You might 

[00:53:13] Dan Johnson: have to go somewhere else. Can you go to a different unit in Ontario or go over? I don't know, it's just natural on and do something like that. 

[00:53:23] Curtis Reynolds: I can but a lot of that is then you've got to have, then you got to have an outfitter go with an outfitter.

A lot of provinces, a lot of the other provinces, I can't just go and buy an over, over the counter tag. So it's, yeah, it's definitely a weird system, but like I said, we can party hunt with archery equipment here. So there will be the odd day that will definitely get out still.

But if not, Hey man I am totally happy and humbled by harvesting this deer. So if I don't get out again, I'm good, man. So it's, [00:54:00] and it's neat because next year, my. My son, my oldest son, he turns 12, so we can get our hunting license at the age of 12 in Ontario. Awesome. And so yeah, that was another kind of special thing about this year is this was my last hurrah, my last solo year.

Yup. Until. Yup. So the next year it's all about, it's all about getting him out there and making him, be able to be thankful for all the small things and. Making him fall in love with what we've fallen in love with and the woods and the pursuit of these animals.

It's just, show him how incredible it is. Yeah. 

[00:54:37] Dan Johnson: So that's a fact, my friend. Mr. Reynolds, man, I really do appreciate you taking time out of your day to come and talk to us and share your story. I would say good luck the rest of the season, but I'll pass that luck on to your family members.

Good luck to them. And man, we'll talk to you next time. 

[00:54:57] Curtis Reynolds: Thanks, Dan. Appreciate it. [00:55:00] 

[00:55:01] Dan Johnson: And there you have it. Huge shout out to Tethered, Wasp, Vortex, Code Blue, Woodman's Pal, Huntworth, Full Sneak Gear. Please go out and support the companies that support this podcast. A huge shout out to Curtis, man.

Awesome story. Good luck the rest of the season to you and yours and to all of you, man, I am telling you, I hope all of you slay giants this year. I hope all of you fill the freezer. I hope all of you get what you truly want out of the honey season, whether that's spending time with friends and family, whether that's a disconnecting and clearing your mind and rejuvenating your soul, or.

At the end of the day, man just do what you want, do what makes you happy. And and that's it, man. So good vibes in good vibes out where your damn safety harness. And we'll talk to you on Friday.[00:56:00]