New crossbow record

As it turns out, two trophy whitetail bucks with huge nontypical racks large enough to be of state record proportions in the crossbow category were bagged in Michigan last fall and both of them were shot in Monroe County. On November 14, 2011, Brad Burton from Monroe arrowed a 16-pointer that gross scored 188 2/8 and netted 180 7/8. State big game record keeper Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM) declared the Burton Buck a state record when the 2011 scoring period concluded at the end of March.

Then during May, CBM scorer Bill Nash from Lambertville measured a set of 15-point nontypical antlers at a taxidermist’s studio that had been taken by Larry Hensley from Monroe in his home county. Hensley had taken the buck that grew the impressive antlers with a crossbow on November 30, 2011. When panel measured on May 27, 2012 that rack grossed 189 7/8 and netted 183 4/8, outscoring the Burton Buck.

Nash went to the taxidermist to pick up a bear the taxidermist mounted for him. Bill shot the bear in the UP last fall. The taxidermist asked Bill to bring his antler measuring tools with him when he picked up his bear mount because he had a big set of antlers he was preparing to mount that he thought should be scored.

Even though firearms deer season was open when Hensley shot the record buck, he hunted with a crossbow because he prefers to bowhunt. Disabled by a serious accident years ago, Hensley is not a recent convert to crossbow hunting. He said he’s been deer hunting with a crossbow for 10 years, qualifying for a handicap permit.

And the 15-pointer is not the only buck he bagged with his crossbow last fall. He arrowed an 11-pointer with it on November 15, 2011. That 11-point was the biggest buck to his credit during 35 years of deer hunting until he got the 15-pointer. So last fall was really one for the records for Hensley in more ways than one.

Larry said the 11-point was being mounted by a different taxidermist than the one who is doing the big nontypical, and that rack had not been measured yet, but it is most certainly large enough to qualify for a place in state records. Typical bow kills only have to score 100 to make it.

“When I shot the 11-point on November 15, I thought it was the bigger buck,” Hensley said. “I was hunting from an Amacker ground blind along the edge of a CRP field. I had some bait out 15 yards away and I shot him at the bait.

“It was late in the day when he came in. When I saw the big rack, I thought it was the buck I had been hunting for six years. After finding out it was a different buck, I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I was still pleased about getting the 11-point. It was the biggest buck I had killed up to that time. But it wasn’t the one I was after.”

About a week after Larry got the 11-point, he saw the big nontypical following a doe. The buck followed the doe into some timber. A short time later, he heard three shots in the direction the buck had gone and he was convinced another hunter had gotten the whitetail. That’s why he was pleasantly surprised when he saw the monster buck at 4:45 p.m. on November 30.

“I saw him coming 500 yards out,” Hensley said. “There was a 10-pointer ahead of him. They were angling toward me, but it was getting dark. I had put some scent out earlier, but I opened the window on the blind and made three sprays with a can of Buck Bomb.

“I closed the window, put the can down and picked up my crossbow, putting it on my lap. The next thing I knew, the big buck was 10 to 15 yards away staring at the blind. Then it was a stare down.

“The 10-point was nowhere in sight. I was concerned about him smelling me.”

As the nontypical started toward the bait, Larry made his move, managing to get his crossbow up and make the shot. He shot the deer with a 145 pound draw weight Ten Point crossbow and carbon arrows tipped with a Hypershock expandable broadhead. Hensley’s arrow also had a Lumenoc, and the lighted nock played a role in recovery of the buck.

Larry said the buck went 50 yards into the CRP field and laid down.

“After it got dark, he got up and walked another 200 yards into the timber,” Hensley commented. “The only way I knew that is I could see the Lumenoc. I called my brothers and they helped me find the buck. Coyotes had already eaten 10 pounds of meat from his hindquarters by the time we got to him.”

The deer wasn’t weighed, but Larry said his brothers swore it would have weighed at least 250 pounds, based on the amount of effort required to drag the animal. The whitetail wasn’t aged either, but it was extremely old. Few teeth remained on its jaw.

Hensley said the buck already had a big 12 or 14-point rack when he started hunting it six years earlier, so the buck had to be at least 9 ½ years old. Although Larry knew the buck had a big rack, he had no idea it was of state record proportions.

“I never thought that I would ever get a deer like that in my lifetime,” he said.