On November 3, bowhunter Mike Zachary lived his dream. He arrowed a heavy-horned, 12-point buck. Annually, 750,000 hunters go afield in our state but only a few get to feel the rush of actually taking a extra large buck. Mike applied skillful tactics and put forth a lot of effort in accomplishing this task.
Zachary hunts a parcel of land in Hillsdale Co. that participates in a Quality Deer Management (QDM) program that encompasses 2,000 acres. The participants have agreed to only shoot bucks that are 3 ½ years or older and does. During the previous (2007) season Mike saw at least five trophy bucks that would score 130 or above.
November 3 of this year would be the 24th day out of the possible 34 that the retired Taylor police officer hunted. On this day the temperature hit a daytime high in the upper 60s and there was a southwest wind. Mike’s son Ryan, joined his father for the day by taking time from his student responsibilities at the University of Michigan. The Zacharys have three stands to choose from that are favorable for a southwest wind and Mike gave Ryan the first choice. Ryan picked a stand that they simply called “the oak stand.” That left two options for Mike and he chose “The short-stand” just because he wanted to place a trail camera out in that particular location. “The short stand” got its name because it is only 10 feet tall. It is a permanent stand that is built into four maple trunks which provide lots of cover. Mike arrived at the stand at 3:30 pm after a strategic three-quarters of a mile walk in. A swamp with deep water is behind the stand which funnels deer past the front of it where the woods meets up with a cornfield.
At 4:20 p.m. Mike heard a doe bleat. At 4:25 he saw a big buck walking toward him between the woods and the cornfield, he knew from the onset that this buck was a shooter. The bowhunter drew his 70 pound Buckmaster bow when the monster stepped behind a tree. When the buck was a mere 18 yards away, Mike mouth-grunted him to stop the deer. He then placed the arrow directly behind the shoulder for a desirable double-lung shot.
As the deer ran away Mike thought to himself, “The rack looks like a TV antenna.” With the buck now out of sight the fever took hold and Mike began to shake uncontrollably, He called his son Ryan but was unable to speak very well. Ryan got the message though, “Big buck shot!” Mike stated that his legs were shaking so bad that he could not immediately climb down from his treestand.
When Ryan arrived at Mike’s location he observed bubbled blood sprayed on the corn. With a buck of this caliber, Mike elected to play it safe and give it time. He returned after dark with Ryan and his longtime hunting companion George Gergely. George shot a 140-class 9-point a couple of years ago from the same stand.
It did not take the trio long to find the downed trophy. Ryan saw him first lying in tall grass. Mike stated that when he saw the big buck, “He was totally overwhelmed.” After a fun celebration and dutiful admiration of the buck the three men loaded it onto a two-wheeled cart and spent the next 1 hour and 20 minutes getting the 217 pound (dressed) deer out of the wild.
When they got the buck to their truck a neighboring hunter and QDM participant, Shane Bowman was waiting. Shane asked, “You shot ‘Twist Ties’ didn’t you?”
“Twist Ties” was a buck that Shane knew well. Shane had passed up a shot at him when he was a 2 1/2 year old 10-point. Shane had both video and trail camera pictures of the great buck and nicknamed him Twist Ties because of the split brows on both sides. Displaying great sportsmanship, Shane congratulated Mike and shared his pictures with him. Shane had the privilege of shooting a 140-class 8-point the year before in the same QDM area. Mike’s buck is a main-frame 10-point with two additional brow tines pushing its total to twelve. Its Pope and Young green score grosses at 166.
Mike was thankful to all of the other QDM participants in his program and to Ben Rewaw, a friend who taught him how to hunt because Mike did not grow up in a hunting family. Also Mike is extremely grateful for his patient and understanding wife Karen.
Congratulations Mike on your hard earned achievement. Hopefully your story will inspire others to “stay the course” with their management efforts.