For years I dreamed of owning my own land where deer and turkeys would roam in abundance. I wanted to create a place where Pope and Young bucks would wander in a free range situation. The old rancher that I leased from acted as though he would never sell his land. I always planted the seed with him that if he did ever consider selling his property to keep me in mind.
I will never forget the evening I walked in from work and checked the phone recorder and lo and behold it was the old rancher?s voice asking me to return his call about his ranch. I called him back in a heartbeat. We had not talked a minute when we decided on a price and finally the dream of owning my own ground became a reality.
The land I purchased is in a very remote area where the hunting pressure is non existent. The first couple of years I owned the property, my son and I did not shoot a deer. We studied the property and moved stands strategically to figure out the animals travel patterns. I also made a concentrated endeavor to protein feed. The last couple of years I have religiously fed Record Rack protein pellets. The protein feeding coupled with showing restraint on passing on smaller bucks has really worked. The pay off is, I now have some very good bucks that frequent and live on my ranch. Some nice 140 to 150 class deer are on my game cameras. I honestly feel my place can reasonably produce two Pope and Young class deer a year for my son and me. That is my ultimate goal.
This year I am also working with the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) in doing some habitat enhancements. The big goal this year is to clear around 30 acres of mesquites and then plant two fields with some perennials to help the deer and turkeys with additional food source. All and all it should be a fun and exciting project.
This past summer I had game cameras (Camtrakker) monitoring the activity at my protein feeders. I had some tremendous bucks hitting the feeders all summer long. One buck in particular stood out. It was a buck that had a very wide set of antlers. I named this deer, The Record Rack Wide Buck. I estimated him around 22 to 24 inches wide. Wow, what an awesome looking deer! I continued to see this deer on a consistent basis all summer long.
Once the bow season was here the wide racked buck and all the other big deer I watched all summer vanished. It is funny how those big guys can evaporate in thin air, but that is why everyone loves the sport of bow hunting for these elusive creatures.
During the bow season I saw many deer but none of the big guys. One evening n December I decided to hunt a Double Bull Matrix that I had put up in a very secluded and brushy area along a creek. Getting in the ground blind I had no more than knocked an arrow when I noticed a nice young 8 pointer making his way by me at 6 yards, how cool is that. In my 40 years of bow hunting I still get excited at the sight of a deer, any deer!
With around fifteen minutes of daylight remaining I noticed some movement off to my left. It was him; The Record Rack Wide buck ? and he was making his way towards me. He fed very slowly and was very cautious as he moved from my left to my right. The deer stopped at 10 yards and quartered away.
Slowly I got the Bow Tech General to full draw. Picking my spot I sent the Carbon Express arrow on its way. The hit looked and felt good! The large buck evaporated into the thicket and was gone. Sitting in the Double Bull, I started playing the shot over and over in my mind. . I waited until dark, and then decided to head back to camp and give the deer some time. Doubt started to creep in my mind about how good the shot was. If the hit was not as good as I thought, giving the deer extra time would be good. A lesson I learned years ago, when in doubt on your hit you can?t give the animal to much time. Usually exercising patience will weigh the odds in the hunter?s favor of recovery.
Getting back to camp, I kept playing the shot over in my mind and I reassured myself the shot was good. But as we all know, nothing is a slam dunk until you wrap your hands around the horns. After 3 hours I decided it was time to go look for the buck. I went to the exact spot of my shot and found my arrow.
The arrow indicated a lethal hit. I started following the blood trail and I had not gone 40 yards when I saw the big rack sticking up out of the weeds.
|Forty yards from the shot the buck’s wide antlers poked up out of the weeds.|
The SPITFIRE head had done its job! I knelt down by the big deer and checked his great set of horns. After admiring the deer?s rack some sadness creped into my heart. I knelt by the deer, said a quick prayer and reflected back on all the hard work and time that I put into making my place the ultimate bow hunter?s paradise.
|In late December Rick crossed paths with the wide buck.|
I have taken many deer over the years, but taking this one on my own land was completely a different emotion. The Record Rack Wide Buck ended up scoring Pope and Young and was exactly 22 inches wide. Wow!
I want to summarize by saying, with the right situation, attitude and dedication it is possible for anyone to build their own bow hunter?s paradise. This coming year will be the third year that I will be feeding the Record Rack protein pellets. That in conjunction with the two perennial fields I am putting in excites me at the thought of what will be cruising my property next year. At the end of this article I am going to show some of the pictures of The Record Rack Buck and some of his buddies eating the Record Rack product earlier in the year. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do sharing them with you.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
- RECORD RACK-this product is the real deal and the deer simply love it. It is a 20% crude protein product and the deer eat it like its candy. www.recordrack.com
- BOW TECH – I used The General to take this great deer. What can I say; Bow Tech Archery is second to none. Their bows are fast and quiet. www.bowtecharchery.com
- NEW ARCHERY PRODUCTS – I?ve shot their broadheads for 10 years. They make some of the finest heads on the market. This year I used the 100 grain spitfire. This head is awesome and it fly?s just like my field tips. www.newarchery.com
- CARBON EXPRESS – I used the Maxima Hunter?s on this hunt. I have been shooting Carbon Express for years and simply love their performance and penetration.
- NIKON – My range finder is The Archer?s Choice. This Range Finder is for the bowhunter. Check out their web site to read about it. www.nikonusa.com
MONTANA BLACK GOLD – I used a Montana Gold Flashpoint sight. I love the light gathering capabilities. This is a fantastic, quality sight. www.blackgoldsights.com
- CAMTRAKKER- I had these cameras up all year. They are great cameras and easy to operate. www.camtrakker.com
Scent Blocker – I wore Scent Blocker clothing by Robinson Labs. This product works at containing you scent. www.robinsonlabs.com
Before Season Pictures Taken by the CamTrakker.
|A picture of the Record Rack Wide Buck in velvet visiting Rick’s protein feeder station.|
|Rick first saw the Wide buck at his Record Rack protein feeding station.|
|The Wide buck has to turn his head to fit those wide antlers into the space to eat the protein pellets.|
|In this picture two bucks are eating the protein.|
|The Record Rack Protein feeder was a hit with the local bucks when they were in velvet.|
|This buck it eating Record Rack from the feeder tray.|
|An impressive buck.|