Heartland Hunt: Hanging Tough


Hunting’s window of opportunity can open any time during a hunt. Sometimes it’s the last 10 minutes, or it might be the first. More offen it’s some time in between. My own Ohio hunt at the Heartland Wildlife’s property started without big buck sightings for the first three outings. Then the rocket launched.

A Booner walked by close to the elevated blind I was in but I couldn’t see him … yet. When I did he was in bow range but walking and when I hooked up and got to full draw he stopped, but he was 40+ yards away. So I wound up not shooting.

But the monster buck didn’t have a clue I was there and if he returned before the hunt was over I was going to be there.

This particular food plot is L shaped and a Blind Turtle blind is at the inside corner of the L. Here is the setup.

Looking through the windows on the inside of the blind the distance to the edge of the woods from the corner of the L (which is in the far right window) is 31 yards.

After the huge buck left a few does came to the food plot. This one is a solo doe.

The solo does are of particular interest because if the Monster saw them chances were very high that he would investigate them. The doe above is beginning to show black hocks. When those hocks are darker and the hairs are covered with the rutting doe’s urine, bucks will be a coming.

Bucks were taken every day and I went in to take pictures and find out about the hunts of Mike Jordan, Bob Humphrey, Joe Byers and Jay Leichty. And one afternoon we had a business meeting where the manufacturers ATSKO, Grim Reaper and Heartland Wildlife showed us about their products and what was new. We also ate a delicious home cooked lunch every day. (And dinner after the hunt.)

So that knocked a couple hours out of every day. But my day’s in the blind at the L food plot began at 6:00 AM and ran until dark, minus the lunch jaunt.

The two track road we used to get to this food plot was straight ahead of the blind. It went uphill and turned left near the top. There was action at the turn. Both single does and bucks appeared there, usually standing around a while. I wondered about moving there with the Double Bull I brought with me but hung in where I had seen the monster buck.

In my lifetime of bowhunting deer I’ve seen a couple dozen real B&C type bucks in the wild. The monster here had a massive rack, in fact it looked out of proportion. The rack was super big compared to his body — a normal Ohio mature body of 250+ pounds. Taller and wider than you would expect, even on a monster buck.

There was no extra time to take pictures or even study the buck’s outstanding head gear. I just got my release hooked up, yanked my bow back and waited for a shot I could make — which unfortunately didn’t happen. It was at least a 10 point and probably more. The tines were very long, all of them. In retrospect I’d guess them 16 to 18 inches long.

Another two track road came from my left and I saw deer in it during the afternoons.

Two mature does and a yearling were regular visitors, morning and afternoon. But the monster buck did not show up.

This was a short hunt. It began Monday afternoon and ended Friday afternoon. Saturday morning we packed our stuff and left.

This hunt is hosted by Heartland Wildlife Institute and Ryan Outdoors: www.heartlandwildlifeinstitute.com

Also sponsored by:

Products were supplied by Darton Archery, Don Woods Polaris (Athens, OH), Fall Guy Treestand Safety Systems, Blind Turtle huntiing blinds, Pine Ridge Archery, Pro Scents, and Knight & Hale Calls.

This years Whitetail Hunts are Sponsored by:  Hang-On Buddy Universal Treestand Mounting System