The Untold Story Of “CJ”

I’ve gotten the filming bug pretty bad these days. I love to relive fishing adventures with my friends and deer encounters from hunting trips. I’m no pro, but filming and editing is a lot of fun. During the first year of self-filming my hunts I was able to capture three bow kills on film. That was 2013, and since then… notta! Every hunt I pack in my video camera and camera arm, set it up, take it down, repeat. It gets old, especially when you go two years with no kills on film. I’m not sure why I never told the story of how I killed my biggest buck last year, but it is a great story and it’s better late than never.

I’ll start from the beginning, which is May 2015. I had just taken a job transfer and one of the unknown perks was access to 50 acres of prime hunting ground in northern Michigan. I only work with two other guys so I pretty much had the place to myself. I started running trail cameras in June and to my surprise there were four or five mature bucks showing up regularly. (Check them out here) I watched them grow all summer long and they consistently showed up either at daybreak or dusk. I knew they lived close by but wasn’t sure what would happen once they broke out of their bachelor group.

Fast forward to October. I had hung five tree stands and had stayed off that 50 acres as much as possible. On a random night I decided to hunt a creek bottom and was covered up with does and fawns instantly. I was drawn back on two different does but couldn’t make it happen. Regardless it was an exciting hunt. My wife on the other hand had not been seeing much on another property we have permission to hunt so on Sunday, October 25th, I took her to this 50 acre work property and decided I would film her.

Creek Bottom

We weren’t both even in our tree stands yet and we saw a young buck chasing does through that same creek bottom I had hunted just days before. I had a good feeling right there that something was going down that night. At 5:30 p.m. the unimaginable happened. I had to climb out of the tree stand to respond to an emergency work call. Legal shooting light lasted until a little after 7 p.m. so I told my wife to stay put and I would see her after dark.

An hour later, I was standing outside of my work building, glassing the field that was about 100 yards in front of where my wife was hunting. I was blown away when I spotted a shooter buck chasing does around. He was about 300 yards away, nose to the ground, and was cruising around at a steady trot. What happened next still feels like an automated reaction that I don’t feel I ever put any thought into. I instantly grabbed my bow and started stalking my way in to this rutted up buck.


The terrain I was hunting on is an overgrown, three year old clear cut. Luckily I had plenty of bushes and tall grass to hide behind as I stalked closer to him. Once I was within 100 yards of him, he took off after some does and ran off into a creek bottom about 200 yards away. With only about 10 minutes worth of legal shooting light left I thought there’d be no chance of seeing him again.

Here is where luck really kicks in. A few weeks before all this, an asphalt roller had been parked near the creek bottom that buck had disappeared into. With the buck out of sight I decided to creep about 50 yards over to the asphalt roller and just wait out the remaining minutes of that evening. Within 60 seconds, he emerged from the creek bottom and was walking straight at me. I drew back on him when he was at 50 yards but he didn’t offer a shot until he was at 20 yards. I touched off my release and watched the lighted nock on my arrow completely pass through him and stick in the ground. A double lung hit had him piled up about 50 yards from the shot. My wife watched this all unfold from the tree stand that night. It was such a cool experience for the two of us to share together. We will both never forget that night and how all the events unfolded.

Like I said, I didn’t capture that hunt on film. However, we did video our raw emotions after the shot, the tracking job, and the grip’n’grin once we recovered the buck. Check it out!

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