Meat Hunter Strikes Big

Show Notes

On this episode of Huntavore, Nick is ecstatic about his recent big buck kill.  He doesn’t hold back on the details and drama of that Saturday here in early October.  So sit back and enjoy a good ol’ buck story on this episode of Huntavore.

How about that!  13 years of hunting a small farm in Michigan that butts up to state land, and Nick finally connects on a brute!  Taking tips and tricks along the way, connecting encounters, and learning from close calls, came together in early October.  Without spoiling the story, Nick had a plan for the hunt, and was going to stick with it.  Like any good story, a few obstacles got in his way, and he had to overcome adversity.  Ultimately this story includes friends, family, and bonding with his boys.  Hope you enjoy my tale of the Michigan 8 point that DIDN'T get away.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Huntivore podcast powered by Sportsman's Empire, where we celebrate the hunting and fishing lifestyle through the utilization and consumption of our wild game. No egos. Fork in hand, beer in the other. No status. A piece of red meat on a hot grill and turn it into a burnt offering. Just catch it, cut it, cook it.

This is episode 134, Meat Hunter Strikes Big. On this episode of Huntivore, Nick is ecstatic about his recent big buck kill. He doesn't hold back on any of the details and drama of that Saturday night here in early October. So sit back and enjoy a good old buck story. On this [00:01:00] episode of huntivore.

Good morning folks. Grab your favorite beverage and gather around. Everybody get in tight here. Everybody get comfortable. We're how we're about to hear a buck story. Not just any buck story, but a meat hunter that came out triumphant at the early part of October. I'm very.

I don't even know what to say. I'm still buzzing about the whole experience. This has just been an amazing start to the 20, the 2023 season. Not one that is totally not unheard of, but at the same time, for me, it's a combination of many different things. Putting [00:02:00] into practice things that I've learned.

From podcasts, from reading. At the same time, taking the educated risks, taking the calculated risks to make something happen. Stepping outside of my comfort zone of being absolute safe, and putting it all on the line. That's hard to do when... I get used to being things that are, I don't want to say done deals or sure, 100 percent sure that things are going to happen, or waiting for the odds to be in my favor.

But, yeah, I learned a few. Few lessons along the way even in a victory, more often than that, you learn most of your lessons in defeats. And believe me, I got plenty of those to be learning from, but I'm just really excited to be able to tell this tale of [00:03:00] how I got my Michigan eight point. It started out Where I wasn't gonna get a chance to hunt the morning.

I had it. It was a either an either or At this point we were still really busy with sports Yeah, maybe morning wasn't even an option. I think we had to be at the soccer fields But anyway, I think we had an early morning at the soccer fields. We came home and then the boys And the wife had a birthday party I got myself to be out of said birthday party.

I did not have to join in the festivities, which was wonderful because I got a chance to get my mind in the right space. I got a chance to prep my gear. Go through my little ozone box. I got one of those little ozone generators, the cheap knock off ones. And I put that inside of a tote. And that's my ozone box, so that way I could [00:04:00] get all of my equipment prepped. Everything felt very good as far as being prepared for what was going on. So I was actually doing a few things in the house that midday. And I thought, you know what, I am going to put on a classic favorite. I'm going to put on Escanaba in the moonlight and go ahead and watch that movie.

I liked that movie. For the for a number of reasons. One is it really highlights the, like the, just the social ability of. Of hunting here in Michigan. There's just a deep, rich tradition and how a lot of stuff can get overplayed or a lot of stuff, just with guys going up into the woods.

Like you can just really it really is a little bit of a slapstick and it's a little far outreaching, but at the same time, it also sends home a good message that at any point here in Michigan, and you go to deer camp, anything is possible when it comes to getting your prized animal. And. That [00:05:00] lore, that, that bit of legend is just really fun.

I really appreciate that, that movie. And maybe I also identify a little bit with with Reuben. In that movie, the fact that I haven't gotten my big buck. Now, I say that as I look at my two year old, seven point sitting here. He's a nice size. And you know what? For thirteen years, he was my biggest.

I'm looking at him currently now. It's a Euro skull. Actually, it's a broken skull. I need to create a... A skull mount of him now. He fell off a shelf and shattered, but I just I look at that buck and I just appreciate that whole story. And that was back in 2014. But yeah, for 13 years he stood as my largest deer at the same time.

Sitting over my shoulder is my first [00:06:00] buck, my little forkey. And anytime that I am on a video podcast, or I have a chance to be on camera, I try to make sure that he's in view, cause that little fork, he started it all. And as much as he is not huge in the antlers, he's huge as far as my story.

And for the longest time, and even now, antler size does not determine the hunter. Antler size does not determine how good you are. Mediocre baseball players hit home runs every day. But you know what? Those mediocre home runs are absolutely important to that ball player in their development as it's becoming greater and greater.

And yeah, my story here of getting my buck, Is a story of an average hunter, a guy who really enjoys [00:07:00] medicine, having an opportunity, getting a chance. Here's your opening and given the question, are you going to take it? And this time. I full on went for it, and you'll just have to find out how it went.

So here I was, walking out to the stand. There is an area close, or behind the farm, where it creates a point. And this point sits up level with the fields. And this point leads out into a section of the fields that is easy access from the woods. This area also holds a lot of oak trees. And being on this top shelf that extends out into the field, at least out into a point here is a really attractive place for deer.

As I've been listening to a lot of [00:08:00] podcasts, in fact one of them here I do have to shout out because this guy got me thinking about the idea of staging areas. And that would be Dan Johnson. So thinking of, or finding this place as a staging area. I see a lot of deer activity. I am constantly, whether I'm actually going in for a hunt or we're just going around the farm in the side by side or in the gator that we constantly see deer at this point and they hold up or they pile up in this area early.

To then head out to the field and this staging area has oak trees that they'll sit there and continue to feed on there is a lot of thick brush that Creates almost like a curtain and then once you get on the inside, it really is a dark canopy Really closed in not a ton of growth [00:09:00] or underground growth Excuse me, low ground growth on the edges.

And there's a lot of breaks in this area where it goes from like really dark timber to really light open, really thick brush. And so these little pockets hold these deer. Deer's attention, I should say they nibble on things as they just go come in from the afternoon and then evening They finally slip out into the field and I have found that putting myself in this spot has been pivotal now the spot is also drastically next to a ravine or a wet spot so I have a Watering I don't want to say An always wet area.

It does dry up quite often, but it has turned. It has become a drain area for the air for a large section of the back of the farm there, and so it all culminates down this low area that deer do water at a lot of wildlife water at this spot, [00:10:00] but off this ravine. It creates this funnel and I've then again put these pieces together and if I put myself in this funnel on a track from the ravine, as it opens up a little bit and you follow that up, it's The path of least resistance, and it comes right by this spot to the staging area.

I have just seen a ton of activity early on in the season. And this has been mental data that I've been putting together. Again, as I listen to, these Amazing buck killers that they talk about data. They talk about trail cam pics. They talk about different pieces of information that you can put together.

I'm finally putting this together mentally. You have had some really good experiences in this area. Why don't you take advantage of that and sit there? So it was a conscious decision to sit at the staging area. [00:11:00] I had a miss on a buck. Oh. 2018? 2019? I had another experience with a buck here, but way after shooting light.

And then, not too far from this spot I think maybe 20 yards or so in a different tree, I have taken multiple does from. This area I know I have had success, and so that's where I knew this needs to be a spot that I'm going in. The cold front had settled in to Michigan, into this area. And, rain was on and off all morning, and then it was going to quit.

Roughly about four o'clock. And so I wanted to be out there a little bit earlier. So I get set up, early part of the season, you're still getting used to your equipment again. It's one of those things like you, once you learn to ride a bike, you're never going to forget how to ride a bike, but that [00:12:00] first time that you do get on the bike, you're going to be a little shaky and then you'll remember what's going on.

That's the same similar okay. I've gone through my equipment again. I'm actually switched over to some ropes instead of the Ratchet cinch cinches for my sticks or the hawk cinches for my sticks I've actually got rope mods for those are actually worked out really well and So getting up there early, actually getting up in the rain, I think was also helpful.

It started out as a bit of a detriment, just because I wore my jacket, I didn't wear my pants. But as I get up in the tree I'm in this thick canopy, and so I'm... Even though it's raining, a lot of the rain is being held by the leaves, and so it's a slow trickle. But then when I found out, or then, usually as you find out is that it then continues to rain on you an awful lot.

Because it's now these rain, these soaked leaves just continue to shed water. So anytime a gust of wind would come through, we would just get dumped on from [00:13:00] all this held water. So it was one of those yeah, even though the rain stopped, I still had another hour, hours worth of getting wet. But the night started out promising.

Got up into the tree, got settled up, and I felt very confident. What I failed to realize is that with this cold front coming in, I think it zapped a lot of my batteries. And my headlamp was a little weak, but I thought, you know what, it'll be fine. We will just stick with that through, and I will change batteries out when we get back.

I turned on my pin lights to see if those would See if, just to make sure which one was brights and which ones were the dims in this area because it does get a lot of thick canopy in dark areas, but at the same time backlit by really bright areas. It really plays with your pins and having a light in this area is very helpful.

And so I turned that [00:14:00] on and it was also the batteries were showing to be very weak. I could see them start to flicker. And I was like, this is going to be the last hunt for these. These got to get changed out. But I was hoping for the best. We get roughly around five o'clock and at five o'clock I have my first sighting of deer.

I have a doe and a fawn and they're walking in and they come from the west side, heading east. Again, they're coming to this point, this the staging area, and they filter into an opening and they sit in this tall, thick brush. And they're nibbling at blackberry stems, excuse me, black raspberry stems.

They're picking through a lot of the marigold that's there. There's just a lot of just thick growth, just natural growth all in this area. And so they're picking their way through it. They're looking on the ground for acorns. And then they're just [00:15:00] nibbling on woody brows. But they're just filtering on through and I can see that she is a big doe.

This is something that I'm quite enticed by. So it peaks my attention, and I arrange them, and they're at 40 yards. It's a bit outside what I want to try to do. Have I taken 40 yard shots? Absolutely. But never 40 yard, 40 yards through a bunch of brush. So we're holding off. The two deer filter through, and they get...


Yeah, they probably get to my 11 o'clock now, and, or excuse me, at my 1 o'clock. And, from that point, they have come in to 30, but they're still, I could barely make them out through the brush. They were pretty much silhouetted inside of this tall grass. They appear out at 12 o'clock, as far as my, where I'm facing, right out in front of me.

And I can [00:16:00] see the doe's head and I can see the fawn behind her and I can see them then begin to move away from me and they are there. They pop out at about 44 yards and they are now open. And so I get a good look. This is a very mature doe. I think this is one of the nanny does that is still out on our farm.

We've got a couple of them that are just old. They're just wise and I appreciate how they can continue to pop out twins. I appreciate how they can just continue to build up the population of deer in our area. I love for them to stick around, but sometimes they can be a thorn in my side. And I really thought this was going to be a problem.

I thought she's going to get downwind of me and my night is going to be over. But I think just with the rain and how maybe the thermals were already sucking all of my [00:17:00] scent down into the ravine behind me that she again had no idea that I was there, she was not alerted. But there I had a good look at her at 44 yards, too far to take a shot, too far to take a for sure shot anyway, and I let them go.

They filter off over and lay down for the rest of the afternoon until they're ready to go out into the field. But I got discouraged over the fact that, was that it? Was that my hunt? Was that the night that I had worked up for? Was this gonna be it? So I can't say that I passed. on an opportunity.

I'd like to say that I never pass on an opportunity. I'm very opportunistic. Given the chance, I'm sure if she was at 20 yards, this would be, this would have been a far shorter story because I would have made it happen with that doe, what I would have been extremely happy with anyway. [00:18:00] But I chose to let them go, chose or had to because of the shot. So I sat there again, and we waited, and there was a long pause between the next sighting of deer. Roughly at about 7, 10, a doe filters in behind me. She came from the ravine, from the east, moving west, and she stops nine yards behind me. She's over my shoulder.

Looks like a nice sized doe. It's not the same doe. The fawn isn't in the area. And yeah, she was again by her, by herself, but she filters on behind me and just holds up right there. So I'm beginning to pivot to see what kind of shot angle do I have at nine yards. It was going to be a steep shot.

It was going to be one that I really had to focus on. I pick up my bow [00:19:00] and my pin lights. I watch them flicker and finally go out. I'm out. I'm now without my pin lights. At. Extreme dusk here in Michigan that I can see in, I can see in black and white, but I cannot see colors. And so picking up those pins was going to be very difficult.

I had to come up with a game plan. Do I just put the bow down and I'm done for the evening? And I just wait for things to develop underneath me and then I'll get down at dark? Or, do I use the pin housing, do I use the sight housing as my guide? And I've done this before in practice to not use my pins but just to use my intuition and shoot and hit a target.

And I thought if I get a deer that is a chip shot that is going to be within 20 [00:20:00] yards. I'm going to use the housing. I'm going to make sure that I put the whole body inside the housing and make that shot. That's going to help me be as accurate as I can be in this low of light.

As she's sitting here and as I'm coming up with this plan, I begin to hear, off to the east, in the distance, grunts. Braap. Braap. I hear this buck. I thought it was a little early for all this grunting to be happening, being that it was still the first it was like the first week and a half of October, but man, that one is hot to try.

He is on to something. And I then see him appear at about 60 yards, this super large, thick, dark body walking in my direction. [00:21:00] He's at a distance that I cannot make out. Any of the headgear and I have to take my range finder. It has a clarifying lens. It doesn't necessarily have a magnifying lens, but I put that up to my eye and I took a look at this buck and I could just see that his shoulders were broad.

His head was low and I just saw white. I just saw tines. I saw headgear and immediately I took my range finder and set it down. This was a shooter. I am not going to focus on anything more of his. Of his antlers. You mean you didn't count his tines? No. I couldn't tell you if it was a six point.

I couldn't tell you if it was an eight point. I couldn't tell you any of that information. All that I knew is that a tank was coming my way. And that body size said everything to me. [00:22:00] This is a shooter. He's walking in and he's head low and it is pointing directly at the doe. I grab my bow, and I take a pivot step on my platform.

And of course I went with a cheap platform, and I'm getting a cheap platform result. I get a squeak. Eee! The doe turns inside out and bolts 30 yards and quickly turns around. In a, in this crazed fury, I freeze. And in fact, the buck freezes. He stops in his tracks right there. And this doe, I could see her just frantically scanning, looking for where that sound came from.

She was on super high alert. This buck? He did not seem to care. He didn't seem to hear it, didn't seem to bother him. He then [00:23:00] slowly makes a turn and he starts heading for her in another direction. It's brought him now where he is going to be going broadside to me. I pull my rangefinder out again. I hit a range and I cannot see the numbers.

I look it up, I take it and look it up in the sky and I see the numbers 22. At that range, he is a chip shot for me. He's 18 to 22 yards. And I say that because I don't have the auto calculating range finder, as far as what the angle is. But I know that I'm pretty high up in a tree. I'm at 25, and I know that there's a depression on that side, so that deer is even a little bit lower than me.

So whatever that hypotenuse of 22 is, he's probably at an actual 20 or 18 yards. That deer begins to slowly move towards that doe. I then get that pivot step. I go ahead and I draw and I [00:24:00] begin to settle in my back tension. I have a, my trigger finger, I can feel it on the trigger of the release and I begin to settle in that shot and I'm settling my housing on the shoulder, just behind the shoulder of this buck.

As I got that shot set, the doe was watching me do every move. This doe blows, takes a few bounds, blows again, and just sends herself out into the field. She's out of here. I, again, my attention, my eyes roll up to watch this happen of the doe. My attention quickly returns to the buck. What is he going to do?

Where is he going to go? And this buck freezes, and again, it distracts. [00:25:00] I can tell this buck has avoided danger a lot of times because as he stood there frozen he looks off to the east where the doe had gone, he pivots, he doesn't move his body but he just moves his neck and he sweeps his neck, swinging all the way around his shoulder and looks behind, er, off to his right side and in fact he's now looking at my tree, he's looking underneath me and I get a look He's The last look I have of this deer looking in my direction is this tall, scanning view of this buck.

Just an absolute specimen. I can't see his headgear, but I can just make out these details. The white patches of his throat. The whites around his eye. And then again, the huge, dark body behind him. He slowly pivots. And I'm putting together, [00:26:00] he's going to come back the way that he arrived. He's going to try to sneak out the back door.

And so as he swings around, his nose goes away, and now he's going to come back around, essentially doing a 180 fan. And I let him come all the way around. And as he's making that, that that fan around, as he's making that swing, I told myself, This is the shot that you need to take. There will not be another one.

This will be a missed opportunity. You need to send this arrow as soon as he comes broadside. As he comes around, I settled again that pen that, site housing right there on the front part of his body. Just try to guess behind his shoulder. And I sent the arrow. THWACK! SMACK! A large crack hit this, er, a large crack echoed from the deer.

He bounds, two jumps, and then he's running through brush. And you're hearing him [00:27:00] snag. You're hearing limbs crash. You're hearing... Thumps from his feet as he's pounding the ground and he gets 50 yards and then all of a sudden everything goes silent Did he just drop right there? Did he just fall did he stop and he's looking back at me and trying to figure out What's going on at that moment?

My body began to give in to the adrenaline, my body began to shake and quiver and I'm trying to make sure that I can get every last bit of detail of what just happened. I know that I have a shot on his left side because he swung around. I know that I've hit bone at some point. I know that I have gotten something solid.

The way that it did, he did react though, he reacted like he was hit. He bolted out of there hard, and given where I made my shot, [00:28:00] that was the vitals. Did I hit shoulder blade? Did I hit backside shoulder blade? Have I hit something completely different? Do I exactly know where that arrow landed? No, I don't.

So there's still a lot of questions. But I'm trying to hold on to every bit of information of where this deer's gone so we can begin tracking good. I grab my phone, and I immediately send to my my group of buddies, Buck hit. Buck hit. There is, there's excitement now. Text or fly it in. They want to know different pieces of information.

We've we've learned as we go along with this, you ask these pieces of information so you make the hunter have to relive it, have to know what he's going, know what's happening, so that we can have a good, proper track on the backside of it. So I'm answering their questions, and finally I got my thumbs again, we're so frozen and so shaken with adrenaline and excitement that I finally, I [00:29:00] couldn't type anymore.

My, my one friend gives me a call and wants to hear just some details. And he said, so what are we doing? And I said, we gotta let him lay down. Nothing less than an hour before we even go try to find an arrow. Even before we go find the track, let's just give him an hour. So I said, let's meet at 9 o'clock.

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Nine o'clock reels by I get two buddies that show up one is a little one was a little behind Wasn't sure he was gonna make it So my two friends helped me out and we load up in the Gator and we head back to the shot site I scanned for the arrow in the shot area. We couldn't find the arrow.

I have reflective

wraps on my arrows and You don't give it a clean sweep Those pop those bright up real light Real nice in a [00:32:00] flashlight. And we got none of that in this area. And so we were going on a guesstimate on where exactly he was standing and then trying to work from there. It wasn't too long, and we found where he was thumping the ground, we fo we found his track, his footprints, deep gouges in the earth where he was pushing.

He was really trying to hustle out of. We find scat where it looked like, yep, this animal got the shit scared out of him. That's what we found. So immediately it was did we hit did it, did I hit intestines? Did I hit gut? If we've got. If we've got scat that looks like this, we start to put in pieces together, more footprints more track.

No blood, no arrow. We get to the 50 yard area where I lost track of where he of where he went or [00:33:00] where he of what he did. out of my vision at that point as well. And it led us to this depression where it was either he's gonna go up or he's gonna go down. We're deciding what we're gonna be able to do.

We're trying to figure out what needs to happen. And then at that point, my phone rings. Friend number three had finally arrived. So I left my two friends. Hey, pick her out, check it out, and I'll be back in just a minute with another one and we'll pick up the other track. So I left, picked up the friend, came back.

As I came back, I saw that the guys that I had left out there, their flashlights were down. They chose to go down into the ravine, into the hollow, and I could see them scanning and looking. I bring up [00:34:00] the first, they're the buddy that I picked up. I, we bring him up to speed, so I show him the shot site.

I show him where we had track. I showed him the scat that we had, and we worked our way up to that 50 yard line. My two friends that were at the bottom call up. Hey, stay up there. We're coming up to you. It didn't feel right. They didn't call us down to say, hey, we have blood. They didn't beckon us to come join them in that search, which, which at that point felt like It felt hard.

It felt like a defeat. I was not by any means ready to give up. We still had a lot to do. It is still early on. But I was mulling over my options. Do I get a dog? Do I wait till morning? If I had just a piece of... If I had my arrow, we could, I bet I could make a far better decision in what's going on.

And I just felt like I, we hadn't found that yet. We hadn't found that pivotal piece of [00:35:00] evidence to just make this a solid call. They come up and they greet my buddy. We talked there for a minute. Each of us out of the cooler grab a beer, just to get refocused, just to get resettled. We finish our beer, and my one friend that was down in the hollow said, Alright, do you want to keep tracking?

And it was a serious question. And I told him, without too much hesitation, Yes, we gotta find something. And he said, Or, do you want to go walk up on your buck? Because he's down here at the bottom of the hollow. Hot dang. I took it hook, line, and sinker. He got me good, making me think that we were off the trail and he was dead down at the bottom.

If I were to put those pieces together and from what we found [00:36:00] later, my shot entered just a little bit high, my arrow went in it clipped the spine as it went through and then after the field dress, I never hit any gut. But then it came through the spinal cord and it went into it would have been the right lung and chewed that right lung all up and then actually exited out the animal and nipped a shoulder.

We we take a quick moment and After we made that shot, he went about 50 yards and then I think at that point, his back legs gave out on him being that it was a spinal shot. I'm sure his bounds did not help now that he's got a bit of a fractured vertebrae that his back legs gave out. And so he pulled himself to the bottom of this hill.

And with that that vital hit being that his lung was all chewed up, he bled [00:37:00] out right there pretty quickly. My guess is that deer died. When I got out of the tree like I think he was quickly expelled, but now we have the buck We know where he's at. And I had to take a timeout and I said, you know what?

My boys wanted to go on this track and because I wasn't sure of what it was going to be, I told them to stay home, but that dad would be back when he had some information. So I then at that point, without even seeing the buck said, guys, you wait here. I got to go get the kids. I jumped on the gator. I'd already made a phone call up to the wife and told the boys, Hey, get the boots on.

I'm going to need them. I drove up to the house and standing on the front porch, boots on, coats on, their flashlights in hand, I had two boys that were really wanting to go. My oldest and my middle. They were excited. They wanted to help out so much. [00:38:00] And they jumped in the gator, but I was missing my third boy.

I peeked my head inside, and I see my little guy. He is curled up on the couch. He's watching a show. It's, at this point, it's about 9 o'clock. It's on the weekend. It's on a Saturday. He's watching a show. He now has control of the remote. And I was like, Archie, are you gonna join in? He looks over at me, and he's just I'll see it when it's in the shop.

Like he was comfortable. I wasn't going to mess with that, but I took my two other boys. We quickly drove back to the spot and there at that point, I said, all right, let's go through our steps here. And so I showed them our path. We got to where that 50 yards was at. And we were then to follow one of my other friends.

And he led us through what looked like. a bobsled or a barrel had been shoved down this ravine. You could see the path where this deer had pulled [00:39:00] himself down and it went at like a 45 it, or not a 45, but it went along this ridge here. He side skirted, didn't go straight down, just side skirted.

He went, he got around a tree, plunged down into the lowest part of this wet spot, not into the water again, was still a few probably like 30 yards away, but then he then pulled himself up into the thickest Pricker forest that I have. Ever witnessed if this stuff is thick the base of these briars I shoot some of them were like a base of quarters This is just wet fertile ground that gets a bunch of sunlight from some from fallen trees this is just a tangled mess and as we're walking up I sweep my Flashlight and I see my arrow.

I see that [00:40:00] reflective wrap flicker And so I know where my arrow is at. We walk a little bit further and I look in the tunnel of where that buck had gone into these prickers. I see the arrow and then I see the roundedness of his body humped over. It is huge. He is a massive animal. We follow his path that he knocked these these briars down.

And we get into this it's it's almost we feel so closed in. We're just surrounded by prickers. And here is this animal laying right there. I pull his head up, and I just grab hold of one of the antlers, and it takes a full grip. In order to pull out that main frame. It fills a paw up really well.

His snout is just elongated. He is an old, mature deer. Huge thick main [00:41:00] beams and those eight points that stick straight up. He's got what looks like either fighting wounds. Or scuffs on his back, or was he reaching back and itching? I'm not sure, but he's got these unique marks where he's pulled hair out of his hide, on his back.

Again, his elongated snout, just a huge aspect of his body. Just a very... Cool. I grabbed my arrow and I pull, and as I pull out, I don't feel the resistance of the broadhead and I just cleanly pull that arrow out and I see that it has been snapped. My arrow made a full pass through going through his through his spinal cord into his lungs and out the other side.

That arrow had stuck in and had probably gone right up to his fletchings. And probably the loud crack that I heard was either [00:42:00] hitting that spinal cord. Hitting the shoulder bone on the opposite side, or when that deer took off, he ended up cutting my arrow in half. That could have been it as well. He left the front end back up the trail someplace.

After it protruded through, it broke off. So at least I had half my arrow at that point, and now we had our buck here. We get him, we take a few pictures, the boys are stoked. They have not seen an animal this big. Yet, I think this is the biggest animal that they have seen. This is the biggest animal that I have ever gotten.

And I'm just in awe holding this buck up here. And at that point, the question was raised out, Hey, so you're going to do a Euro or are you going to get a full, are you going to get a shoulder mount? And again, without too much hesitation, I was like, this guy is getting full shoulder mount, we are going to get him done right.[00:43:00]

And he is going to go up on the wall. He has no name. He has. Little to no history with me, but when he came into my life It was an epic adventure where I didn't have my pin sights, or excuse me, my pin lights. I had to go on instinct. I had to take the calculated risk. If you want something big in life, you have to take risks.

And this was one of those moments. I'm going to chalk this up. There's a few of those moments. I wouldn't necessarily say the epsilon of wedding day and the birth of my kids, but like tier 1. 5, I have quite a few memories in there that it's like, these are going to stick with me to the death bed.

And this is one of those memories right here is that. I am going to remember every aspect of this, that I [00:44:00] am excited for somebody to ask, how did you get that buck as he's hanging up on the wall? And at that point I could tell him, Hey, sit down. You've got a good 45 minute long story. In real time.

Most of this eclipsed within. 15 minutes, and yet it felt like a lifetime. The track, yeah, it took a little longer, but because of logistics, it was a longer night. But, what a successful night. At that point, I was not tired. I was not I didn't feel any fatigue. I was just buzzing with excitement.

We brought the buck up and out to the field edge. I field dressed him there on the side of the woods. I kept the heart and I kept the liver. I... At that point I just wanted to get the buck home. I wanted to get him back to the shop so we could hang him up. So I did a complete gut job, I didn't get the call fat, and I didn't get the [00:45:00] kidneys off this buck.

But we're not done yet, we still have does to get, so there's still a lot of time to retrieve some of those goodies. In the field dress I I took the bits off, I took off his nuts and his penis, and hung those up in a tree. I was asked by the Times Up guys, do you do that for luck or do you do that, is that something that you do a lot?

And I, I don't know. It was more of a tradition thing, I think. I think tradition really steeps a lot. Superstition. I'm very superstitious when it comes to baseball. And I think I can throw deer hunting also into that superstitious thing. But I took those and hung those up in a tree. I grabbed actually a section of the briars and stuck that in the mouth because that's where I found that deer leg in and I stuck that in his mouth as his last meal and finished the job as far as the field dressing.

My little kill kit worked out great had a Had my shop towels to clean up [00:46:00] with. I had my gallon Ziploc bag to throw the heart and the liver in. I had I for, I hadn't got the gloves in there yet, so I was glove less. We just went straight on in. Didn't need the plastic tarp, or at least the, yeah, the big contractor bag that I opened up.

I didn't need that because I didn't do a whole lot of work there. It was a get this job done, get everybody home, and then then we're off to bed. But having that at the bottom with the knife already to go with the drag already set It was a very nice easy way to get started for our field dress Got him back to the shop got him hung up And again, we enjoyed a couple more beers sitting there around the deer hanging from my rafters It was an amazing night and one that I have not quickly going to forget Will there be other deer?

that I [00:47:00] have an opportunity to have. Yes, but I don't know, something about your first big one. Here in Michigan, it's, I don't want to say it's necessarily a rite of passage, but you do see that there's a real celebration around a Michigan eight point. That it is a milestone for a hunter. And for some, it happens the first day they go out.

They get, they go either, they're out with youth season. or they're with their grandfather, they're with their dad, and they have the opportunity to take a buck and that's super special for them. It could be their first year solo, either with archery or with gun, and they get a chance to get their eight point, their big massive deer.

And again, that's their milestone, that's their mark that they are a hunter. [00:48:00] And as I look at my deer that I have gotten, my little Euro mounts that I have lined up. I'm in, I'm very much impressed with each of them and I remember each of those hunts and I enjoy the whole story of that. But yeah, it's Ruben from Escanaba into Moonlight.

I had to take my licks. I had to take lessons. I wasn't given an opportunity real quick to get that eight point. And I've had some opportunities at other bucks that have not turned out well. Some of them more devastating than others. But getting my big deer now is just a sweet treat. It is the sweetest dessert that I've gotten and it's because of the work that I've had to put in.

It's because of the effort that was needed to be able to get into this spot to be given that [00:49:00] opportunity. And even at that opportunity, I didn't have the best of setups. I had some hiccups. I had some obstacles to overcome, but sticking to it and fighting through it, I walked away with my eight point.

Thirteen years in the making of being a hunter and I finally got my eight point. Very happy about it. So yeah, I hope you enjoyed our little tale. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of talk about this buck as I continue to break him down. As of now, he hung up for six days. And, six days hanging half with his hide on, half with his hide off.

I had the hide left on the hams, not on purpose, mainly out of laziness. And then I had the cape taken off the next day. And I got the cape and the head in the [00:50:00] freezer so I could get that to my taxidermist. Still living in my freezer right now. Hopefully this week I can take him over there to begin that new process.

Taxidermy? What's that all about? Normally you just boil the head but Nope, we're going the, we're going the next route here and we're gonna try to get something nice put together. But anyway, that's my story. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it about this meat hunter who finally struck it big. on an eight point buck that gave him an opportunity that was following in on a doe who the doe tried to ruin my night, but I was able to come through in the clutch as that buck tried to take an exit out the back door.

I was able to sneak an arrow. With all that said on this story time, I do want to say thanks to TappiQ. TappiQ is a partner of mine. They have they've provided me with some of those Bluetooth probes that, the Bluetooth [00:51:00] meat probes that work out outstanding. Whether it's my oven, whether it's in my pressure cooker, in my slow or in my crock pot, on the grill.

They're an awesome way to make sure that I'm keeping an accurate gauge on the internal temp. of whatever I'm trying to cook. So for a reverse sear, these things work awesome. If you're into making summer sausage as well, these are invaluable because they can give you a precise internal temp on the sausage as it's cooking.

When you get to that 180, man, you could pull that thing out, quench it down into that ice bath, and be able to solidify that that sausage making, chill it down, and then enjoy it. TappiQ has been a great product and a great partner to work with. Also Umidry. I'm working with that company. They make those synthetic bags that allow moisture to wick out of them.

And when you want to make real... Dry aged [00:52:00] treats. I'm currently working on some charcuterie. I have it equalizing in my fridge right now. It already spent a month in one of these bags, wicking out the moisture. They got to 40 percent of what their, excuse me, they got to 60 percent of their green weight.

So I've lost 40 percent of the water. I then pulled them out of those bags, put them in new zip, er, new, VAC bags and letting them equalize, letting whatever moisture is on the inside work its way back to the outside to even distribute it. And we're then going to serve that up hopefully soon. I'm really excited to break into those.

But those two companies have been awesome partners and just want to give them a quick shout out. But yeah. Whether you have already gotten your buck, and are excited about cutting it up for the first time yourself, or if you're still in the pursuit, whether it's the boning knife that you're going to be using, or whether it's the broadhead [00:53:00] that's on the tip of your arrow yet to be dipped in blood, make sure both those edges are really sharp.