Hunting With Whitetail Outfitters of Ohio By Brandon Wikman
Feb 12, 2009 - 6:36:55 AM
There aren't many places in the country where a hunter has the fortune of express-shipping an arrow to the downtown vital station of a mature buck in mid-January. That's what I thought anyway.
Typically, many of us call it quits after the firearm season, considering bucks are as jittery and nerved as a person downing their fifth cup of coffee. Weather conditions in the Midwest during January are flat-out frigid, which puts the freeze on any hunter unwilling to face temperatures teetering the teens! Both of those variables are enough to keep both deer and humans hunkered in shelter and searching for energy enriched food.
I can honestly attest in my woodland-wonderland of Wisconsin, giant whitetails evolve into a totally different creature come mid-November. Many turn completely nocturnal after the 9-day gun season. There's simply far too much hunting pressure and stress put upon the herd among bordering properties. I wouldn't even consider unwrapping hand-warmers and busting out the bibs to only feel my nose and cheeks turn frostbit. I was utterly amazed and left in disbelief of the successful hunting program Whitetail Outfitters of Ohio run from the muggy mornings of opening day to the chilly evenings of late January.
It's a concrete combination of variables that determine an awesome big buck hunting experience during the late-season. Well-managed property is critical to not only attracting deer, but also holding deer to a property on a yearly basis. Another important feature is obviously food sources. Deer must eat to survive; it's as plain and simple as that. Properties that border agriculture fields, installed food plots or implement bait sites are among the best places to hunt during the final days of deer season. Lastly, and in my opinion the most critical characteristic to seeing antler booming bucks is hunting a property that has experienced low hunting pressure. In general, deer that remain undisturbed throughout the year are far more likely to move during daylight hours. Whitetail Outfitters of Ohio has each primary hunting feature and attribute any serious buck hunter would want to sink an arrow into!
Proof positive. Big bucks are here at Whitetail Outfitters.
Ty McCombs, who is the owner, met us at the airport in Columbus, Ohio at noon. We were pretty fortunate to leave the airport not only on time, but also with all of our baggage. Needless to say, it's something I consider a blessing after countless delays and lost gear. McCombs and I pulled into a local gas station to purchase a non-resident deer license, which is fairly cheap when compared to places like Iowa or Illinois. The entire way back to the lodge, McCombs explained the consistent success he's had during January. I was completely dumbfounded and listened intently. I wondered how something so obvious would be so difficult to comprehend. I was so used to hunting my stomping grounds that it was hard to believe hunting would be so different anywhere else in the country. According to McCombs, all we needed were a few days of cold weather to kill a burly buckeye-buck. And that is just what the meteorologist ordered.
The first evening I sat in a fully enclosed hunting blind overlooking a natural funnel, due to contrasting brush density. As the last, luminous glow of sunbeams sparkled upon the snow, the frozen woods thawed with life. Just as McCombs promised, a buck began weaving his way toward us en route to one of his late season Antler King food plots. The buck cautiously broke virgin snow, step-by-step, until he was a mere twenty yards. My eyes were fixed upon his antlers, just like you're told not to. Buck fever kicked in within seconds as I gawked in amazement, this could be the largest buck I ever killed! As I drew my bow, my ice-chilled bones popped and crackled. I aimed down my Eliminator Pro bow sight and my broad head daggered him.
Brandon poses with Ty McCombs and his Jan. buck.
The beginning of a year and an end to a season couldn't have been written any better. As each year passes, we gather an insightful amount of hunting information about deer that television, books or magazines will never teach, but only tell. Experiencing the hunting venture first hand is the only way to really grasp the reality. I owe much gratitude to my good friend, Ty McCombs, for teaching me firsthand that big bucks are killable during one of the most underrated months of the entire year, January.