A Public Land 144″ Buck

I moved to a new part of Michigan within a month of bow season opener in 2015.  I scouted a lot of ground including a secluded, dense river bottom with mature timber on either side.  I set up a few cameras in areas with buck sign from seasons past. On the first pull I was rewarded with a picture of the biggest buck I’d ever seen in my life.  

Fast forward to season opener, a Thursday that year, I took off a few hours early from work and was in the tree at 2 pm. Saw lots of deer, young bucks and does, but not the buck I’d seen on my camera that I’d since named King Tut. Friday night I was back in the tree at 4 pm but I snuck in quietly without bumping any deer.  At 5:30 I was scanning the banks of the river for movement and there he was, standing in a small opening, scanning the woods ahead of him. He traveled the corridor cautiously and presented a 34 yard shot.

The shot was low and back in the liver and I backed out quietly after retrieving my arrow and confirming a liver shot. Friday night was long a sleepless, and Saturday morning I found myself crawling hands and knees through the dense cover tracking blood with my headlamp.  I tracked him to the bank of the river where he got in to cross and called a blood hound tracker. The dog took us to the bank where I had left off then continued along the bank headed upstream. After another 35 yards he seemingly lost the scent and we stopped to wait for him to find it again. I just happened to look across the bank and see a big white belly floating in the log jam on the far side. We made our way over the river and retrieved my biggest buck to date; a 144-0/8” non-typical whitetail that dressed out at 195 pounds and my first ever with a bow.

Hunter: James Sutton
Resides: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Weapon: Mathews Z9
IG: @4joutdoors

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