A Trophy Day Off From Work


By: Stacy Engstrom

Most of the hunting stories you read seem to start out something like, ‘I couldn’t sleep the night before in anticipation of my hunt’, or ‘I awoke the morning of the hunt around 4:30am to a cold crisp fall morning, I knew the rut was going’. Well my story is a little different than most.

In the summer of 2010 I started a new job. Knowing full well I would not have any vacation time built up, time would likely be very tight. The good news was I was going on a shift which meant I would be working three days on three days off.

My anticipation was also very high as I was also going to be trying out my new HECS suit on deer. There is always something exciting about trying out new equipment and I have to say, HECS made for some great anticipation. If HECS worked on deer anything like it did on spring turkeys, it was going to be a fun year.

Getting picked out of the tree really wasn’t that uncommon; I just always called it unluckiness or just a deer’s sixth sense. The first weekend out I quickly realized that with me wearing HECS, not one deer that eased by me during that time became slightly nervous.

On the last evening of my hunt I decided I would test out my  arrows for penetration on one of the unsuspecting does heading my direction. A perfect double lung, complete pass through told me all I needed to know.

A few more weeks of not one deer getting nervous went by, including a few deer that got down wind of me with no major response. I knew now there wasn’t just something to these suits, there was something big to these suits.

Back to my story; as with most jobs. November rolled in and the business became very prosperous. I was getting very few days off. On the flip side, the news from the other hunters I was staying in contact with were all telling me they were not getting much rut activity yet. It was now mid-November, the rut should have been heavy.

On November 18, after working seven days straight with no time off. I got off work at 6:00 am. My plan for the next 3 days was simple…doing nothing but chasing rutting P&Y whitetail bucks.

Even though I would be getting in the stand a little later, I knew I needed to take a chance. I was showered and in the stand at first light and feeling good….30 minutes later I was fighting to stay awake. I just couldn’t take it; safety had become a major issue at this point. Not willing to take any more chances I climbed down and went directly home and slept great for about 5 hours. I got up showered and was heading out the door to hunt for the evening when my cell phone rang. Of course it was work. “Hey Stacy, sorry to bother you but I’ve got a problem out here at the plant and I don’t know for sure what I’m doing. I need you to see what you can do to help.” My heart sank. So off I went to work, NOT hunting as planned.

Finally, at 4:30 in the morning I had everything back in order and working well so I quickly informed one of the guys that I was finished and was going hunting. He asked me to keep him informed if I shot one.

After arriving home, I showered and was ready. This trip I was going to the inside corner stand. Any deer coming along this narrow strip of timber going to the bedding area had to pass within bow range. With a southwest wind I could get to the stand undetected and the wind would blow perfectly across the creek, safely away from the deer. Plus, if the rut was happening any at all, I would find out quickly since I had taken 2 other high end P&Y bucks there in past years.

After parking the truck I put my HECS on, got all of my gear together and began the journey to the stand. My muddy tree stand went up quickly and quietly as the sun was just popping up. It was as good as it gets and as I got my last piece of gear in place I noticed a doe standing about 40 yards to my left. As I was observing her I heard a grunt but couldn’t find what made it. I scanned the area and then, abruptly, he stepped out from behind the cedar thicket. All I could see was mass and at least 8 big long tines sticking up.

The doe had browsed and was directly under me at about 5 yards. Thoughts keep running through my head of “I can’t believe it; she hasn’t picked me out of the tree. This is just amazing, this suit works better than I could have ever imagined.” Normally when the adrenaline kicks in, is when you seem to get picked out of the tree. Not this time and she fed contently below me completely unaware I was there.

The buck studied the doe intently, also with no idea what so ever that I was there. Finally, feeling secure he slowly headed toward the doe, stopping at 19 yards. With his vitals hidden behind an oak tree he began to shred a cedar sapling, taking short breaks to see if she is impressed with his work. The doe, not impressed with his work, began heading off down the trail leading him to a date with destiny at 12 yards.

The  100 grain Slick Trick Razor Trick sliced directly into his ribcage. After running a total of 30 yards he stopped and looked back trying to find what hit him,. He looked to his other side, then back again. Then he wobbled took a step and toppled to the ground next to a large white oak tree.

After 10 minutes of shaking like the oak leaves blowing in the wind around me, I took a look through my binoculars to check out my buck. He looked at least to be giant 6 point, really heavy with 135 inches at the minimum. While waiting approximately 30 minutes on him to expire three other P&Y bucks sauntered in front of my stand looking for the hot doe. Two of the bucks easily scored over 150”; I believe that’s what you call a hot area.

What a great feeling walking up on this great trophy buck.

The ascension down the tree was quick and easy and as I walked I noticed my buck was growing drastically. It didn’t take long on to realize I was way off the mark on his size and rack. We always hear about ground shrinkage, well on my walk to retrieve my buck it quickly became ground growth. Not only was I off on the score but I was way off on the scorable points. He not only had brows making him 8 but 16 extra scorable points making him 22 pts.

After the required drying period he was officially scored at 166 4/8. Typical and 179 3/8 non typical. At the time the buck was shot I didn’t recognize him so assumed he was from one of the adjoining farms. After some extensive studying of trail cam picks I began to piece the puzzle together. I had been getting pictures of the buck from the time he had grown his first rack back in 2004 making the buck 7 years old.

Author with his 7 year old trophy buck.

Everything came together and I couldn’t wait to call my fellow hunter at work and tell him the good news.

to take your hunting to the next level, make sure you put on your HECS

2 Responses to "A Trophy Day Off From Work"

  1. Ryan Mead   2012/07/24 at 10:08 am

    Good article nice buck also. I was wondering though why you talk about the HECS suit however in your picture you are clearly wearing ScentBlocker.

  2. Collin Cottrell   2012/07/26 at 10:35 am

    Ryan Mead (comment above) – the HECS suit goes underneath your outer layer. I am guessing the HECS was underneath his ScentBlocker suit.