Cory Frank hid on the ground in a CRP thicket, and the big buck walked right past him
|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||October 6, 2023|
|Place:||Medina County, OH|
Two years ago, Cory Frank noticed a promising young buck on his trail cameras. The following season, the buck put on quite a bit more antler, almost enough to make Frank hunt him. But the Ohio hunter knew the buck was still young and growing, plus he had another target buck to chase that would score a bit higher. So he held off.
Early this spring, Frank and his hunting buddy Dange Hoge were shed hunting in the buck’s core area. Frank found one shed and Hoge found the matching side. They made a pact that whoever killed the buck the coming season would get to claim both antlers.
After passing on him the year before, Frank was excited to see the buck return this year with an even more massive rack.
Come summer, the buck was back on camera. And antler growth had far exceeded expectations. The buck was still a main-frame 8, but he was massive with tall, dagger like brow tines. Both Frank and Hoge knew this would be their target buck this season.
When the buck showed back up this summer, Frank knew right away he had made the right choice in passing him the year before.
The buck’s core area was a small chunk of timber and swamp land surrounded by ag fields. He was patternable throughout the summer and fall, spending most of his evenings feeding in the surrounding standing bean fields. “The buck really was a homebody. No other hunters in the area had pictures of him. He would change feeding fields, but he stayed centered on his core chunk of bedding cover most of the time,” Frank said.
The buck stayed close to his core area throughout the summer and fall, moving from bean field to bean field to feed.
Once season came in, Frank would use scouting trips and cameras to find the field the buck was using, then hunt it. But there was a problem. The farmer was harvesting the beans at the same time. Each time Frank would get the buck patterned, the beans would disappear and the process would start over.
While the buck’s rack had an 8-point main frame, the mass, extra tines and giant brows made it truly special.
On October 6th, a strong cold front blew through, dropping temperatures 15-20 degrees. While Frank needed to spend the day moving some farm equipment, he knew the weather change would likely have the big buck up on his feet during daylight hours. He made the decision to go hunt.
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There was only one bean field left standing next to the buck’s core bedding area. Frank gambled that the big buck would hit it before the evening was over. While there weren’t any good trees in the area for a stand, there was a chunk of overgrown CRP near the main trail entering the field. Frank found a good vantage spot in the tall grass and settled in to wait.
With no handy trees near the field he wanted to hunt, Frank settled into the tall CRP to hunt the buck from the ground.
The big buck came in from his right, but due to the heavy cover, the deer was already at 35 yards before Frank saw him. “The grass was so high that I could only see his antlers, not his body, but I knew instantly it was him,” Frank said. “It happened so fast that I didn’t really even have time to get shaken up. I’m glad he didn’t come across the open field so I had to watch him come all the way in.”
The big buck continued to work his way from the heavy swamp cover into the open field. As the deer climbed a small rise, Frank took careful aim with his TenPoint Crossbow. At the shot, the deer bolted across the open ground. Frank watched him cover 100 yards before he disappeared from sight.
“I lost a huge buck back in 2019 when I went in too early and bumped him, so I wanted to be sure to give this one plenty of time. I already had a dog lined up just in case we didn’t find him right away,” Frank said.
He backed out and gave the buck 3 hours. When he and his buddies headed back to the spot of the shot, they immediately found the bolt and good blood. A quick tracking job proved the waiting dog to be unnecessary. The giant buck was down just beyond where Frank had lost sight of him.
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The buck was even more impressive in person. The rack featured over 40 inches of mass on an 8-point frame with 16 total scorable points. Maybe the most striking part of the rack were the brow tines. Emerging from higher up on the bases than normal, both brows towered right at 12 inches high. A quick tape session came up with a gross green score of 194 inches, truly massive for an 8-point frame.
Cory’s buddy Dange stayed true to his word and delivered his side of the matching sheds once Frank tagged the buck.
Cory’s hunting buddy Dange was happy for him and stayed true to their agreement. When he came over to see the buck, he brought along his side of the shed antlers so that Frank would have the matching set to go along with his trophy whitetail.