Hunter hunting along a marsh

Tommy Harbison


  • Date Taken: 12/29/2021
  • Time Of Day: Evening
  • Method: Compound Bow
  • Official Score: 174 7/8
  • County: Van Buren County
  • Property: Private
  • Type of Photo: Deer
  • Dressed Weight: 227

I was in the search of hunting property tired of state land and leasing property to Hunt. I said it’s time to find my own. I seen quite a few different properties and I fell in love with this one. It’s 89 acre’s with 10 acre blueberry’s the rest is timber and swamp. I purchased it and right away got to work on setting up stands and cameras. Seen quite a few deer on camera in Oct 2020 and my 12 year old son got to witness me shoot a nice 10 pint 142” with my bow I was pretty excited that my son was there for that. I was checking cameras in November and that’s when he showed up. Immediately he grabbed my attention and 13 is all I can think about. We never seen him again that season. I was praying that he would make it throughout the rest of the winter spring and summer without getting hit by a car predators or just old age. September 1st finally came around and hunt mode was turned on. Setting trimming stands and hanging cameras is my favorite time of the year. Going into this hunting season 2021 I purchased one buck tag with only one deer in mind 13. Immediately started getting action on the cameras and on October 14th
Mr. 13 showed up making a scrape 10 yards from one of my stands. Right then I knew it was on and started focusing on that stand. But again it went cold and gun season started gunshots all around me while I’m sitting in my stand with my bow with every gun shot wondering and scared if that was 13. The gunshots finally started dying off and 13 finally showed up on the opposite side of my property. So I started hunting over there in stands I haven’t hunted that much this year. I started focusing on aerial maps and wondering where he would be coming from and going to. I decided he was in a wooded peninsula that everybody walked around and figure that’s his sanctuary. I was getting worried because it was getting to the end of December with no more signs. I hunted December 29 early and pretty much sat all day. I seen four nice bucks they come in with each other and about six doe’s. I was contemplating shooting one of the bucks because I didn’t think there was gonna be a chance for anything else this year. I decided to pass and let him grow. It was getting to be the end of the day my wife was on the phone with me and I heard some branches snap behind me. I GOT TO GO!! I turned my head a little to see what it was and 13 was standing there in the brush walking straight to me. My heart stopped I seriously thought I was gonna have a heart attack. I was also losing light fast praying that he doesn’t take his time getting into the open. I seriously had to do breathing exercises to calm my nerves so I can make a clean shot. Not only is it the biggest buck I’ve seen on hoof but I have a little history with him. I know not long history but pushing two seasons. So he finally came out 20 yards and presented a shot pulled my bow all anchor points were set and I let one fly. The way he acted didn’t really seem as if I hit him. I got down and checked my arrow and there was a little bit of blood on it and the trail had barely any drops of blood so I was worried. I pulled back and decided I was gonna let him sit overnight. The hardest decision ever. Midnight came around as you can imagine no sleep I decided to suit up grab a flashlight and start on the trail. So I started into the field and came to the edge of the woods and all I could see was a red carpet immediately I got excited following the trail about 30 yards into the woods there he laid double lung pass through shot. I called my dad and my brother I did not care that it was late and neither did they. I could not believe that I got to put my hands on him and all my anxieties about 13 we’re gone he was mine.