A Real Michigan Monster

Brian_Hughes_11_8_10_Oakland_15pt.jpgThroughout most of 2007 Brian’s cameras showed no sign of the huge buck. But on December 10, he got one more picture. Then déjà vu—the monster disappeared again.
A buck of this stature is hard to come by anywhere, let alone Michigan. Brian and the property owner kept the buck a secret, knowing pressure in the area would double if word got out.
The 2008 season came and left with no sign of the ghost-like whitetail. Did another hunter get him? Did he get hit by a vehicle?
Early November 2009. The temperature was 37 degrees, and the rut was at its peak. Around 8:30, a doe broke out of a hedgerow with a 150” class buck in tow. For 20 minutes the buck chased her all over a 5-acre clover field, but out of range of Brian’s stand. He watched helplessly as the chase lost momentum, and the deer fed off.
But then, a grunt, snort, wheeze from downwind. Brian looked up to see the buck that had haunted his dreams for the last 3 years! The giant left a dust trail as he blew through the field at full throttle. He caught the 150” 11-point that was tending the doe unaware and helpless. He drove his massive antlers into the 11-point and pummeled him to the ground. He took the doe and chased her south, directly away from Brian.
Brian sat awhile, dejected and feeling sorry for himself. At 10:35 he looked to the south and his heart skipped. The huge buck was 90 yards away, scanning the food plot for another doe! Amazingly, a yearling 8-point walked up to the monarch and began to spar with him! The giant let the smaller buck bounce his meager headgear inside his massive 10- point frame. This was Brian’s chance. He grunted, bleated, rattled—buck looked up a few times, then faded away into the thick undergrowth.
Brian was supposed to hunt in the morning and return home to help his wife prepare for his son Jake’s first birthday party. But no way he was leaving. She would be mad, but he hoped she would forgive him. For the next 5 hours, he watched young bucks chase does in and around the plots.
At 4:20 p.m. 5 does broke through the hedgerow and into the clover. Fifteen seconds later he heard brush busting–the buck was back! Trying to keep his composure and not spook the does, Brian got ready. The does stopped to feed 7 yards below his stand. The massive buck sat tight in the hedgerow 25 yards south, directly downwind. Brian hoped his Scent Lock and the earth scent wafers did their job. His head spun wildly. Would this be another close call? How could the buck not smell him?
A shift in the wind gave Brian hope, and the does began to slowly move. The buck flared his nostrils and took 3 steps. Brian drew his Mathews and kept saying “it’s only a deer” over and over. The bow launched forward in his hand, and the 100-grain Rage ripped through the ribs behind the buck’s front leg. The deer kicked, stumbled 40 yards and fell on his side.
Brian Hughes proved that perseverance and patience pay off. After the 60-day drying period the massive animal netted 203 2/8” non-typical Boone and Crocket. With less than 6 inches of deductions, it makes book both typical and non-typical.
Two weeks later during firearms season, the property owner shot the first big buck Brian saw that memorable November day. The buck netted 146’’ with a broken G-2 (estimated 8”). The antlers were the spitting image of Brian’s buck. Proof that Michigan has what it takes to produce world-class animals.
–Dave Lee of Big Buck Ballz for Brian Hughes