Let’s start this story out in dramatic fashion. This buck will be top 5 all-time archery harvest in the state of Michigan’s rich deer hunting history. The story of the hunter and the hunt is also one of the best-ever if you are a fan of pure bowhunting, family, faith, and hard work as well as a little good luck. We can sum it all up with one word that makes it all come together and that word is fate.
Washtenaw County resident Corey Memering is exclusively a bowhunter. A high-voltage electrician by occupation, when I first spoke to him via telephone inquiring about this buck I was very impressed in the first minute or two into our discussion as he said he would gladly share this great buck’s story with our readers but couldn’t do it that evening as he would like to help his wife put their three young children to bed and could we chat the next day? I knew I was dealing with a good man.
The story on this magnificent buck starts over a year ago on October 27 of 2017. A fellow hunter in the area sent him a trail cam picture of the buck. Corey inquired further and as the conversation narrowed down to this being a Michigan deer his counterpart’s willingness to provide information quickly dried up.
Corey tells me “I didn’t think much of it at the time. Sure, it was a big deer, but it could be from anywhere.” As fate would have it though four days later while their family was out trick-or-treating Corey’s wife saw the buck walking across a bean field and could hardly wait to share the news with him.
“I couldn’t believe it. Not only was it real, but it was close by. I had to find it!,” he shares.
So, the quest to harvest this buck began. He initially had no access to any of the property in this buck’s home area, so he started door knocking, a quality that is often lacking in some these days. He said at first the lady he approached initially refused to allow him to hunt, but they had a good long chat about everything from diesel trucks to dogs, even camping and kids. She obviously also saw some very positive qualities in this young man. She said she would discuss access with her husband if he promised only he alone would hunt. Shortly after he received permission and by the time the 2018 archery season opened, he had identified what he thought could be some of the buck’s travel corridors and maybe even his core area. The area had the usual mix of small parcels of 5 to 20 acres owned by private landowners. It also of course had some nice thick areas Corey termed as ‘gnarly,’ as well as agricultural fields. He aided his search by aerial photos to find specific funnels and bedding areas then did some more door-knocking, and he was able to gain access to several key small pieces of land.
Corey was able to get trail cameras hung and got his first picture of the buck on October 1, 2018. He also got pictures of the buck October 9, 15, 16, 18 and 19. On October 20, severe thunderstorms would roll through Michigan and Corey took advantage of the rain, wind and thunder to go back in and hang another stand in the core area. He mentioned how a few folks thought he was crazy, but this hunter knew he had to take every opportunity given to have a chance to harvest this magnificent buck. It wasn’t until Oct. 21 when Corey got the buck’s picture making a scrape near that new stand and signaling, he had found his best location to try and harvest the animal.
On October 30, he had planned to sit in that stand all day. But as the morning began to slip away, he felt like he needed to adjust one of his trail cameras and proceeded to move it from one side of the property to another. As it happens with many moves the camera was left on and as he was placing the camera in the new tree, he caught movement from off to his left in a thicket and yes it was the giant buck just 30 yards away. As the standoff unfolded, the buck became nervous and took what Corey described as two big bounds away but stopped just out of sight. Corey felt a doe had kept him from bolting off the property and he took that opportunity to slip out and leave the buck with his hot doe.
Later, he would see several pictures his trail cam would take of the encounter with an astonished hunter’s face froze while a monster buck tries to figure out what is happening in his core area. He ate lunch with his wife that day and obviously was worried he had blown his one chance at the buck he had focused on for the last year. His wife gave what he describes as “some tough love” and the assurance he needed to hear and that afternoon he would sneak back into the core area. He decided to take a slightly more concealed route after the morning encounter and walked in through a low wet area and when he came up out of the area, he immediately caught movement in the same exact spot from the morning encounter. He had a Lone Wolf treestand on his back and a utility pack on, which he shed as he dropped to his knees. Corey nocked an arrow and grabbed his range finder from his pack. As the hot doe began pulling the buck away, Corey began creeping slowly in that direction. He said he ended up within 10 feet of the stand he hung during the thunderstorm when both doe and buck came into view. He says at that point his emotions really started reeling but with some self-talk and concentration he settled in and waited for a chance he has worked so hard for.
During the 8 to 10 minutes he waited for the shot he witnessed the giant rake several trees and make some amazing mature tending grunts. His release was clipped in to his Mathews bow and he was ready as the doe moved right into the one shooting lane he had, and she stopped right in the lane. The buck mounted the doe which gave him the opportunity to draw and settle his pin on the vitals. He took the giant buck right behind the shoulder with a perfect shot.
Corey states as the buck barreled out, the scene was chaos as deer were running everywhere. He immediately backed out and walked out of the area and at one point the emotions again overcame this young hunter as he dropped to his knees and tried to grasp what had just taken place. He called his wife and she first answered the phone tentatively wondering why he was calling her at 4:15 p.m. “I told her it was over. I shot Splits.”
She immediately stated. “It’s 4:15!” She then inquired about the shot and he stated, “It was a good one, I double-lunged him and he is probably dead right now.” He gave the buck several hours just to be safe but found the buck a short 40-yards away piled up under a bush.
This magnificent buck’s rack is not an easy one to describe. A main frame 6 x 5, his green score was 227 2/8 gross. The net as scored by CBM scorer Dennis Sheets, ended up at 216 2/8. He has splits in both his G-2 and G-3 on his left side which are deep, wide and heavy. He also sports a deep heavy split on his right G-2 and a giant crab claw on his right G-4. His right brow tine is split three ways and there are two more nice stickers at its base, while the left brow tine is split at the top and sports two nice stickers at its base. The rack’s longest tine is his right G-3 which is 11 4/8 inches. The rack’s inside spread is 22 7/8 and longest main beam is 26 inches. But this description does very little to describe the mass, cork-screwing, sticker-filled rack with 23 scorable points. The buck weighed 260-pounds on the hoof and could possibly land at number three or number four all-time on the archery list of Michigan whitetails and number seven all-time for all-weapons in Michigan.
Once again as we look at every aspect of this great story, fate was on Corey Memering’s side during this hunt. From his wife seeing the buck last year, gaining access to the core area and being able to put in the work needed to accomplish this goal was truly remarkable, and the good fortune to have a doe pull the buck into a shooting lane emphasizes that every great trophy requires intense work, great skill and a little luck.
Congratulations Corey on a tremendous deer season!