One of the biggest bucks bagged in Michigan during 2018 seasons was collected by a hunter Chris Reed from Constantine. Chris, also known as the Rolling Hunter, is setting an example for others like him that are disabled, showing them that his disability doesn’t keep him from doing what he loves…hunting. While doing so, he arrowed an 18-point nontypical in St. Joseph County on December 4, 2018 with a specially-designed crossbow. The buck has an official net score of 193 6/8, according to Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).
Reed is certainly the first wheelchair-bound hunter in Michigan to bag a buck with Boone and Crockett caliber antlers, and may be the first to do so in North America. And that’s not the first trophy buck to Reed’s credit. He collected big bucks each of the last three years.
In fact, the 8-pointer Chris arrowed during the fall of 2017, which has an official score of 161 3/8, according to CBM, also qualities for entry in national records maintained by Boone & Crockett. In 2016, Chris nailed a 10-point buck with antlers that measure 156. Reed’s string of big buck success is exceptional for able-bodied hunters much less those who are handicapped.
Chris has clearly shown that handicapped hunters can accomplish the same things as any other hunter and his example is inspirational. He makes it clear, however, that he didn’t accomplish these things on his own. He credits his circle of family and friends and at least one landowner who are committed to helping him do what he wants. Their combined efforts have made Reed’s exceptional success possible.
“I want to make it clear how blessed I am to have the support of family and friends,” Chris commented. “All I do is pull the trigger. Everybody else takes me out. It’s a group effort.”
Reed was paralyzed during a swimming accident in June of 1998 when he was 20 years old. He has no feeling from the chest down. He has limited use of his hands and arms. His right arm is stronger than his left.
“A rope swing came off in shallow water and I fell on my head, breaking my neck.” Chris said. “I grew up hunting and fishing with the family; my dad, uncles and cousins. After the accident, I thought I would never be able to do those things again.”
Fortunately, that mindset gradually changed. Chris’ family made sure he was eventually able to resume hunting.
“In 2000, my dad decided to adapt a crossbow for me, so that I could start hunting again,” Chris wrote on his website. “I had instant success! That fall, I shot a little four-point buck from my wheelchair and the thrill of being able to hunt again gave me goose bumps. I realized that with the help of my family and friends, I had achieved a unique accomplishment. I knew that with the support system I had, anything was possible!”
After early success with his customized crossbow, Reed experienced difficulty filling more tags. Things took a turn for the better in 2014.
“We had been hunting property where the landowner gave me permission to hunt for four years at that point,” Chris explained. “The guys built a new hunting shack. I also bought a new crossbow that year, a Mathews Mission. Up until then I hadn’t had much luck.”
The Mathews crossbow was customized like the previous one, which allowed Chris to use his hands to aim the bow. The crossbow also has a mechanical cocking mechanism. Once on target, Reed blows into a tube to fire the crossbow.
“Once the crosshairs are lined up, there’s one little puff and the arrow’s on its way,” Chris said.
After Chris started hunting from his new hunting shack, he began seeing a lot of bucks, but they were out of bow range. Unable to connect on a buck, he shot a doe. Then in 2015, a 5-acre food plot consisting of radishes, turnips and some other things was put in by the hunting shack to help bring bucks within range of Reed’s crossbow.
It worked. That fall, Chris connected on a 100-inch 8-pointer during late November while hunting with his brother Aaron.
“In 2016, we started getting pictures of three big bucks on our trail camera,” Chris continued. “So I started letting nice bucks go while waiting for shots at the big ones. On the evening of November 9 that year, I shot a 10-pointer that scores 156. He came in behind a doe that was coming into heat.
“He was 28 yards away when I shot him. That’s my sweet spot. I waited for the buck to turn broadside before I shot him. I had to wait about a minute and a half for him to turn.”
On November 8, 2017, a similar scenario played out as a big buck followed a doe into the food plot that was coming into heat. Chris also shot that buck at 28 yards, but he had to wait a nerve-racking six to eight minutes before that buck finally gave Reed a good shot.
Chris had to wait until December of 2018 to shoot his biggest buck. He saw the nontypical frequently on earlier hunts, but he would never come into the food plot. By December, the whitetail was more interested in gaining weight lost during the rut. The buck was 28 yards away like the other two when Chris finally got the shot he was waiting for.
The 10-pointer that Chris got during 2016 had a dressed weight of 186 pounds and he thought the whitetail was seven or eight years sold. Both the bucks he got during 2017 and 2018 were aged at six years old. The 8-point had a dressed weight of 185 pounds. The 18-pointer only dressed out at 165 pounds, but he lost a lot of weight during the rut.