Property owner / habitat manager / conservationist / deer hunter, Kris Ambrose, fulfilled a long term goal on October 9, 2016. He killed a trophy buck after dedicating a great amount of time to managing a one hundred acre parcel of land that he owns in southern Michigan’s Calhoun County.
Ambrose’s land management plan started with tree and shrub planting. He then added several fruit trees and planted screen cover for designated travel routes. Next he added food plots and set aside large sections as established sanctuaries. He also made designated entry and exit routes for when he would actually hunt.
In 2015, Kris got a single trail-camera photograph of a big buck on November 14, but when he didn’t see it or get another photo of the trophy-class whitetail, he concluded that the buck must have been killed by another hunter. During the summer of 2016, Kris placed his cameras out on his property and waited until September to check them. When he gathered around the computer with his family to “see what they got” he was pleasantly surprised to see that the big buck had lived and returned to his property. Kris says, “You would have thought that I had won the lotto with the way I reacted at seeing the big bucks picture. I nicknamed him ghost since I only had two photos of the big buck.”
During the second weekend in October, a cold-front moved in. This is a great time to find deer up on their feet during the daylight hours. On Sunday evening, Kris wanted to hunt a stand near the Kalamazoo River but changed his mind once he was a field because he didn’t want to disturb the thick cover that it was near so he picked another stand that he had in a tall birch tree.
Once he was settled in, Kris started coughing due to a cold that he fighting. He saw some does run away and thought that he had scared them off. However, this was a temporary disappointment because a few minutes later he heard another deer in the thicker cover. He could distinctly hear the whitetail pawing the ground. Kris says, “I did a grunt sequence. The deer moved towards me and I could see him through the brush and I instantly recognized his profile. It was him! He was in some real thick willows and started tearing them up. I then doe bleated and he moved into a small shooting window that I had. He was broadside at twenty-six yards when I let the arrow fly. He went down right where he was standing. I hit him in the spine. I called my wife and told her my good news. After that I walked over to where he was laying and just sat on the ground and reflected on what had just happened. It was a real emotional experience.”
The buck is a massive 12-pointer that has a gross green score right around 170 inches. The net score will probably place it in the 160 inch range and it will compete for Kris’s personal best because he shot a Branch County buck in 2009 that has a net score of 165 5/8 Boone and Crockett points.
A few days after we talked Kris emailed me and had this to say, “I have been blessed in so many ways…I knew that I wanted to make my property the best in the area for the surrounding deer herd. It has been a 365 day per year endeavor but four years later to be able to harvest a giant Michigan whitetail from my private land has made every ounce of sweat and blood worthwhile. I need to say thank you to my wife, Kate. It is her constant support and encouragement that has made these past four years of property management dreams a reality.”