And It Is Adam Stretch’s First Buck In 20 Years Of Hunting…
It has taken Adam Stretch from Dundee more than 20 years of deer hunting to bag his first whitetail, but he figures it was worth the wait. He put his first punched tag on a buck that is the envy of the most successful hunters. The Stretch Buck is the highest scoring typical-antlered whitetail known taken in the state during 2013 seasons, according Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). The 12-pointer Adam shot during the first hour of firearms season in Monroe County has an official gross score of 181 3/8 and net score after deductions of 176 1/8.
The exceptional buck not only had a large set of antlers, it had a huge body and was an old-timer. Adam said the buck was estimated to be eight or nine years old and the butcher who processed the deer guessed its dressed weight at 300 pounds. The weight estimate had to be fairly accurate because the hunter got more than 200 pounds of meat from the deer.
Stretch knew the buck had been around for years because he said he almost collected the same deer four or five years earlier with bow and arrow. He got a bow shot at the buck during the evening of November 14 as it was following a doe, but his arrow hit the whitetail’s right shoulder blade, causing a nonfatal wound. Adam said he thought the buck had an 8-point rack when he got a bow shot at it.
He knew the buck was still around after failing to get it with bow and arrow because there were always a couple of six to eight-inch trees in the area that had been rubbed by a deer with a big rack. And while cutting firewood in the vicinity last summer, he frequently saw the whitetail’s “ginormous” tracks. The tracks were so big one of Adam’s friends thought the prints were made by a cow.
A last minute change in deciding where to post on opening day of gun season may have played a major role in Stretch’s success on the Boone & Crockett buck.
“I had a ground blind and two tree stands set up on the property I hunted,” Adam said, “but on opening morning I decided to sit in a different spot. I brought a folding lawn chair with me and sat in a thick patch of weeds where I could watch the edge of the woods. My father (David) went to the ground blind.
“We got there a half hour before daylight to get set up. After things quieted down, I started playing with a grunt call to see if that would bring a buck in and I kept blowing it. I had been using the call about an hour when I decided to look over my right shoulder and the buck was only 10 yards away looking at me. He must have come from somewhere behind me.
“My gun was laying across my lap, pointing in the opposite direction from where the deer was. The buck started moving away as I just kept blowing in the grunt call. When the buck was 50 to 60 yards away, he started walking across the field and that’s when I was able to get a shot at him.”
Adam was hunting with a scoped Mossberg 12 gauge pump shotgun with a rifled barrel. The Bushnell variable scope was set on 1X or 2x at the time. The gun was loaded with Hornady SST Slugs.
Stretch was confident of scoring a hit on the buck, but a thorough search with his father’s help failed to turn up any blood or hair, so he assumed he missed. That all changed the following morning when he got a phone call from his girlfriend’s aunt, who lives on the property next to the parcel where he had been hunting. She
spotted the buck’s antlers sticking
out of creek in a ditch that was 16
Even with help, it took Adam three hours to wrestle the big deer out of the deep ditch it died in. The creek water kept the carcass cold, so the meat was still good. Adam said the buck traveled about 200 yards from where he shot it. The wound from his slug had been plugged with fat and that’s why he and his father couldn’t find any blood.
The butcher who processed the big buck told Adam that there was scar tissue on its right shoulder from the broadhead he had hit it with years earlier.
“I spent a lot of time deer hunting with my grandfather when I was a kid,” Stretch said, “and he was always waiting for the big one. I’ve kind of adopted the same philosophy. Now I’ve got the big one.”