Do You Ever Deer Hunt with a Crossbow?
|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||November 10, 2017|
|Weapon:||Crossbow Bowhunting, Crossbow|
Andy Hudson's neighbors were excited. All summer, they watched a big non-typical buck graze in their soybeans. They shared the trail-camera photos with Hudson. As summer faded to fall, the beans began to dry up and lose their appeal to the large buck.
Hudson ran trail cameras in the weeks leading up to archery season, but he still hadn't caught a photo of the big buck. That changed in late October. The buck's pattern switched from the neighbor's beans to Hudson's timber and alfalfa. He started getting regular photos of the deer. Because of the buck's weird rack, he and his hunting buddies dubbed the buck The Mad Hatter.
With the firearm season rapidly approaching, Hudson knew time was short to get on the large buck. A nagging shoulder injury had kept Hudson from shooting his bow, but a signed release from his doctor allowed him to continue hunting with his crossbow during the archery season.
Hudson certainly concentrated on the big non-typical, but there was another good buck in the area that he knew would be hard to pass up.
There was a big 160-class deer in the area, too, Hudson said. I was sitting in my stand a week or so before I saw the bigger buck and the 160 came through.
No stranger to big deer, he knew he couldn't pass up a chance on a buck of this caliber.
He stopped at 15 yards and I tried to get turned around to get a shot, Hudson said. When I did, my stand creaked and [it] took off.
Hudson was disappointed that he had missed the opportunity, but he knew the bigger buck was still around.
On Thursday, November 9, he sat in his stand watching for his target buck to pass through the area. Soon, movement through the timber caught his eye — the buck he was looking for, but it stood just out of range. Hudson sat and watched the buck slip away.
Encouraged by the sighting of the buck, Hudson decided to hunt the same stand the next day. With the firearm season starting the next morning, Hudson knew this might be his last chance at the buck. As the morning crept by, deer movement was slow.
A flash of brown caught the hunter's eye. He could tell it was a deer moving in his direction. It soon became apparent that it was the same buck he'd seen the day before. When the buck stopped in range, he squeezed the trigger on his Raven crossbow.
The hit looked good. After giving the buck a bit of time, Hudson called his brother, Noel, to help with the search.
We didn't see much for the first 30 to 40 yards, Hudson said. We found a drop or two. Then the blood trail got heavier.
The pair found the buck 150 yards from where he'd taken the shot.
As big as the buck looked in trail-camera photos, it looked even bigger in person. With a 9-point main frame, two extra beams, and 15 scorable points, he knew the buck would gross well. When he took it to the local gun shop and sporting goods store, they green scored the buck at an eye-popping 212 inches.
After causing a scene at the sporting goods store, Hudson took the deer to his favorite processor. The guys there asked what it had scored. His reply caused an arched eyebrow or two. The next day, he saw one of the guys from the processor.
You know, we weren't sure about that score when you told us, so we put a tape to him, too, he said.
Hudson laughed and asked what they came up with.
We were pretty conservative, and we got a little over 210, he said.
Hudson said that between he and his neighbors, they had trail-camera photos of the deer going back three years.
We were guessing him at 140 to 150 inches last year, Hudson said. He really exploded from last year.
Don't Miss: Realtree's Rut Report
Are you a deer hunter wanting to learn how to accomplish your goals? Check out our stories, videos and hard-hitting how-to's on deer hunting.
Watch all the latest video episodes