Targeting one specific buck is always a challenge. It is exponentially tougher to find success when doing this, rather than just trying to shoot a deer, or even a mature buck. During the 2013 Minnesota archery season, this is what I did, kind of. It wasn't the type of hunt your probably thinking of, I wasn't hunting a deer I had years of history with and was obsessed about. In fact, I didn't even know this particular buck existed. I always have multiple properties to hunt, and 2013 was no different. One of my properties I had permission on, I had to share with two other guys, and it was only a 40 acre parcel. We split it up into three sections, so I had roughly 13 acres to deal with. I didn't set foot into this property in the summer or early season. To be honest, before I even walked it, I had written it off. Besides the guys hunting the same property as me, there was an abundance of hunting pressure all around. I simply never gave it a chance.
One late October morning, I happened to be driving by this property, and noticed a massive rub right along the road. I wasn't in a rush to get anywhere, and thought why not take a quick walk and throw up a trail camera. Everything started to change after this walk. There was more rubs and scrapes in a concentrated area than I could count. I quickly put up a camera and would check back in about a week.
After letting that camera sit for about a week, and with hardly rut action going on in other spots I was hunting, I was hoping to get a picture of something that made me want to hunt here. I had put the camera up over a series of scrapes, and thought it would be my best bet to get an inventory of the bucks in the area. What I wasn't expecting was to get a picture of a buck that made me change my goals so drastically.
The second picture on the SD card made me have to catch my breath. At the time, it was the biggest buck I had ever gotten a trail camera picture of. I guessed the buck to be in the 160 inch area, and knew he was mature. What excited me even more was the fact the picture was taken only a mere fourteen minutes after legal shooting light. I was going to set up in a funnel area that I thought he would be using during daylight.
Once getting this picture, I did something that I would never recommend to somebody, and didn't know if it would work for me. The stand I hung was so close to the road, I figured that if my wind was blowing the wrong way, the deer would suspect I was just a person out on the road. The parcel was located in a suburban neighborhood, so I could get away with hunting the same stand day after day. In fact, I sat that stand over fifteen straight sits. It was the only stand I hunted in November that year. I saw a lot of deer, and some good bucks, but the buck I named Skyscraper never showed. I had quickly become obsessed with the deer. It was like he knew I was hunting him. One day when I pulled up to my parking spot to hunt, a car pulled up next to me. "I saw a giant buck, right where you park your car, the other night" the guy told me. I knew he was still in the area, but could never lay eyes on him, and didn't get anymore pictures of him.
The month of December was brutally cold, and we got pounded with snow. It was hard to hunt most of the month. Towards the end of the month, on December 27th we had a warmup. It went from -35 degrees on the 25th to almost 40 degrees on the 27th. I knew with this drastic of a weather change, deer would be apt to move. And they did move, but not until the last few minutes of daylight. I noticed movement behind me, and three does popped out of a cedar thicket. There was a line of deer moving through this area, and at the end of the line was Skyscraper. It was tough to keep my composure together, I couldn't believe what was unfolding in front of me. I got my bow off the hanger, and as soon as he cleared a large maple tree, I drew my bow back and gave him a soft grunt. He stopped, broadside, and a I let my arrow fly. I knew I made a good shot, and after letting him sit for a couple hours, I made a successful recovery.
There are so many lessons I learned that season. But if I had to pick just one, I would say that don't ever give up on your goals. If you work harder than you ever have before, and stay positive, only good things can happen.