Corey James is a farmer and lives in Hillsdale County…Big buck country. Like many of us, he has a real passion for hunting. Last year, he had an exceptionally good buck he had seen on his property that managed to survive last hunting season.
This year, Corey discovered that he had grown into a real bruiser of a buck. He had been watching and scouting him all summer. Unfortunately, during this time, Corey injured his neck and the injury required surgery. The surgery went well, but during the healing process, his arm was numb. Over time, the feeling came back in all but three of his fingers. This all happened just nine weeks ago.
With the help of his hunting friends, they made sure that stands were up for Corey to hunt out of, and they spent many hours trying to figure out how to harvest this brute that they had been scouting all summer and fall.
On October 15, Corey was in a stand overlooking where they thought the buck might be coming into a bean field. As the sit went on for Corey, he was beginning to think that because of the wind direction, he might be sitting in the wrong spot. Corey thought about getting down after not seeing any deer activity for some time. He then saw eight does a short distance away. But after a brief period, Corey decided it was time to get down from the stand.
He had his crossbow in his hand, and as he stood up, the does stared in his direction. He thought they had heard or seen him.
Corey then heard something walking through the beans. He looked over and saw his targeted buck. Somehow, this buck had traveled about 50 yards and Corey had never seen him, probably because he was focused on the does.
Corey was already standing up and the buck was 30 yards away. When Corey moved the safety off the crossbow, the buck heard the click and stopped, giving Corey a shot. Corey heard the sound of a good hit.
After that, Corey said he remembered everything going quiet, and he just sat there in the stand for another 45 minutes, knowing he hit his trophy buck but wondering how good of a hit and where it went?
Corey then got down and walked over to where he thought the buck was standing when he released the arrow. There was no blood and no arrow to be found. So, Corey snuck out of the area and called his friends and told them what happened. They all agreed to back out for a while. Two hours later, they returned to start the track. Corey found his arrow near the fence line.
Corey told me that he never thought that evening that he was sitting in the right location. He thought the deer might be bedding somewhere else, and he was surprised to see him come out that evening and incredibly grateful that he did.
Though Corey normally hunts with a compound bow, with the lack of feeling in three fingers, he decided to use the crossbow. Corey is still recovering from his injury and surgery, but he feels much better, especially now, knowing he has harvested his targeted buck, which scored 160 ¼ inches green and had 15- points. Corey figures the buck was 4 ½ years old and very heavy. While loading it into the back of his CanAm, they broke the tailgate. It wasn’t easy to get the large buck up and loaded into it, even with the help of others.
Corey told me he is not sure what he will do for the rest of deer season as it will be hard to top this trophy buck!
The author is Jeff Pendergraff, a retired MDNR Law Enforcement Division Captain.