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The Four Arrow Buck

The Four Arrow Buck  11/9/03 Genesee County, Michigan

The Four Arrow Buck
11/9/03 Genesee County, Michigan

Mike Tison's Four Arrow Buck

Mike Tison’s Four Arrow Buck


It was a cool, crisp and clear November afternoon. Conditions for bagging a monster whitetail were perfect. It was peak rut, virtually no breeze, and half a dozen doe were already spilling into the surrounding woods. A hunter couldn’t ask for better circumstances.
All of the doe quickly snapped to attention and that is when I knew it was time. A giant eight-pointer sauntered into view; there was no need for an introduction. Everyone knew he was the “king of the woods”. Focused and obsessed with his trophy rack, my thoughts drifted to an earlier conversation with my wife about where I would hang a monster mount in the house. I was hesitantly confident – my wife would agree that this mount might look best over our bed. I was wrong.
The buck jumped when the arrow pierced the ground just in front of him. Still unaware of where the sudden thud came from, the eight-pointer intent on finding an estrous doe pressed on. Armed with only two arrows, my next shot had to be on target. The last arrow in the quiver took flight and sailed over the back of that four and a half year old buck. In an almost a mocking gesture, the mighty buck raised his shoulders and lifted his head high as he casually worked his way toward a nearby grazing doe. No longer armed, I sat helpless, and slowly watched him saunter to the other side of the woods and eventually out of sight.
I was so focused on his large rack that I was just about willing to do anything for a third chance. I climbed down from my tree-stand and with the stealth of a rhino I was able to reach my first arrow, presently stuck in the mud. Sitting on both knees, I yanked it out and was able to clean the mud from the broadhead as I saw that familiar flash of white coming back in my direction. There was still hope.
A thirty-yard broad-side shot presented itself in just a matter of seconds. The arrow, back in flight again, raced towards the unsuspecting buck. The impact of the arrow ripped through the flesh of a little sapling tree before it came to a screeching halt. To my dismay I sat, lowly in the mud, watching the deer of my dreams literally walk off into the sunset.
It was a gloomy day with forty to fifty mile an hour winds howling through the woods. Gun season was drawing near and the cold air was piercing. Immediately upon reaching my tree-stand, I caught a glimpse of a whitetail flag off in the distance. Did I scare off a new deer? No, it was the same Pope and Young eight-point buck dogging after a doe.
In our earlier encounter this whitetail trophy came out victorious, but this day would be different. My heart had changed and my focus was much clearer. I knew what had to be done. Years of training and experience quickly came flooding back. My focus no longer rested on boasting, or on the distraction of his mighty rack; instead my target became a matter of enjoying the hunt.
This time the buck took my abilities for granted, taunting me by coming closer. I’m sure he thought he was safe since I had missed him three times earlier in the week. The impact of the arrow sent a shock wave through his body as the shaft of my arrow penetrated his heart. The “king of the woods” had now lost to a man who had learned to reset his priorities, resulting in a day of victory and redemption.
Mike Tison
Wild Game Speaker & Author

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

Michigan Monster


by Mike Guenther

On Sunday, February 7, 2010 family friend Sharon Weidmayer was walking her dog on her 10 acre parcel in Lenawee County, Michigan. She stumbled upon a deer carcass with an enormous set of antlers. She called my father-in-law Ron Waldron to come take a look and to see if he wanted the rack. Not thinking too much about it, he waited two days before he did. When he first saw the deer he exclaimed, “That’s not a deer, that’s an elk!”

That evening, Ron called to say he was bringing a rack for me to see. When he brought it to my back door, I knew it was something special. I immediately told Ron, I think this may be a state record!  I called my friend and neighbor, Mike Sheats who is an avid hunter and has hosted a local big buck contest for over 20 years with his brother. We took the deer over there and called a few more friends. Everyone was pretty amazed to say the least. We got a tape out and started to measure the deer. We were all taking bets on a score. When we finally finished scoring the deer, the initial score sheet was full and nobody was even close. Our first unofficial score of 257 2/8 gross was pretty to close to the official score of 257 1/8.

The next morning Ron called the local sheriff to obtain a permit to possess the deer. A few days later, Ron went out of town and left the deer with me. I wanted to keep things low key until we had it officially scored, so I only called a few close friends to come over and take a look. Apparently, word spreads quickly in our small community and by the end of the day over 200 people had shown up in our barn to see the deer!

photos & story courtesy of  Mike Guenther

MonsterBuckRunning MonsterBuckBucket

Let ’em go, Let ’em grow…

dawn_bauerI saw this buck on our 10 acres during the 2011 bow season and my husband told me to pass him up as next year he would be bigger and score better. In 2011 he was likely in the 110 – 115 class. The 2011 season was a challenge because he was in range from me three times and I decided to pass him up. We watched him all summer and I was hoping to be able to get a chance at him in the 2012 season. Passing him up paid off as his G1 and G2’s had grown about an inch and a half.
I was sitting in our elevated blind on October 8 and saw him. He was in range at about 15 yards away but did not give me a good shot. My husband was getting ready for work and watching from the house. He was texting me to ask if it was him and to shoot him! I told him I didn’t have a good shot and that he was facing me straight on. I didn’t feel comfortable shooting him in the chest and missing. It seemed like he stood there forever but a few minutes later he wound up running out of range because other deer in the area got spooked and ran. I watched him for a few more minutes hoping he would come back but he didn’t. I thought about him all weekend and prayed that I would get another shot at him.
The following Monday I was out again and saw him twice. The second time he was about 35 yards out and gave me a shot! The shot was a little low but he only ran about 75 yards. I was shaking and my heart was pounding. I called my husband and said, “I got him, I got him”!!! He left work to come home and help me track him and drag him to the house. I was so excited and seeing my husband so excited for me made it even better. I am waiting on my mount to come back. I am so excited to have this be my first bow kill!
-Dawn Bauer – Ingham County, MI

My Michigan Wolf

Jared Cece Macknac County Wolf 2013It was a warm overcast day in Mackinac County on the last day of November. My dad, Terry, headed out on his daily wolf scouting ride. He checked one of a couple wolf baits we had out and spotted some fresh wolf tracks. He got out of his truck to look at the tracks closer and heard something in front of him. When he looked up, he saw two huge wolves doing zigzags in the thick brush about 40 yards away. My dad knew there was no way he could get a good shot off and decided to go home and get me in hopes of cutting the wolves off.
My dad dropped me off on foot on an old logging road ahead of where the initial sighting was. He went up the road 100 yards to where the tracks were and we both headed in the woods after the wolves. I got about 200 yards down the two-track and I heard a loud deep howl and I said to myself out loud “THAT’s A WOLF”! I started shaking from head-to-toe. After I heard the howl, instinctively I howled back at the wolf. We had at least 4 howling exchanges before something to the left caught my eye. That’s when I saw the wolf standing about 20 to 25 yards away in the thick under growth of a red pine tree plantation. I pulled my gun up shaking so bad that I thought my scope was going to fall off. I didn’t even think twice and BANG, I saw the flash of the muzzle and a furry tail go up in the air.
I didn’t even go to the wolf but instead turned around and ran to my dad. I was so excited that I couldn’t even see straight. Together we walked over to where the wolf was and it was dropped in her tracks. The wolf was an 83 lb. female with a DNR tracking collar on it.
Later we found out from the local DNR that the wolf was collared with help from late Mark W. Spencer a trapping mentor and family friend of mine and my dad’s. Uncle Mark, as we called him trapped this very wolf in 2009 and was the last wolf he helped the DNR collar before passing away in 2011.
– Jared Cece

Big Buck Down

Chris_Olsen_JrIt was the evening of opening day rifle Nov. 15th 2012. My girlfriend Holly Snodgrass and I headed to the top of a hill on a long 75ft wide clearing between two hardwood thickets. I felt this would be a good spot from finding some rubs and scrapes in the middle of the thickets the day before. I thought maybe something might pass through this clearing. We plopped down around 3pm on 5 gallon buckets and we were having a conversation about how she and my good friend Richard Groves thought it was a bad spot to sit right out in the open. Little did I know, we were sitting 100 yards from an active run at the bottom of the hill. Around 4pm a 4 point popped out at 50 yards in front of us. I put him in my cross hairs for about 30 seconds before I decided to pass on him and as I lowered my rifle, he scattered back into the woods. Holly and I continued to converse and she kept telling me to be quiet. Things started to heat up around 5pm, approximately 175 yards out a doe in heat was on her way out into the open. I raised my rifle once again and put her in my cross hairs. I said to Holly, “I bet a buck is following her”. Thirty seconds later, I took aim behind her at what I thought was 6 point at the moment. It was starting to get dark and hard to focus, both deer were blending into the back ground very well. I stabilized my shot with my left elbow on my left knee holding my rifle free handed and centered my cross hairs to the best of my ability. I slowly began to squeeze the trigger and BANG! went my Howa 30-06, the smoke cleared and Holly witnessing with her binoculars said he ran into the woods. I thought I had missed! So we then headed down the hill to see if we could find a blood trail and we found nothing. I said, “Let’s go back to the cabin and get the rest of the guys to do a search”. On my way back I stopped and talked to another hunter. He asked, “Was that you who shot?” I said, “Yes”. He asked, “Did you get one?” I said, “I think I got a 6 point, but I’m not sure”. He said, “I was sitting in my stand 100 yards to the east of you and I heard something run into the wood and crash into the ground, I think you got something”. So Holly and I made our way back to the cabin to gather up the search crew and we all headed back out to the scene to start the search with flash lights. We searched the woods for about 10 minutes and I hear my buddy Dave L. scream BBD(big buck down)! My other buddy Richard G. screamed, CHRIS, you shot a 10 point man! Holly screamed, “You got him babe, get over here!” I ran over and arrived to him lying in the leaves motionless and everyone was staring down at him in disbelief like it wasn’t real. With no blood trail we were all wondering where I had shot him and our emotions were high. Hard to believe, we then pulled him 50 yards back to the truck drove him back to the meat pole to take pictures and field dress him. I took him to Dean’s Bait and Tackle on M-33 to hang him on their buck pole. Mark and Tam Foster unofficially measured him out first at 157.3 and I found out when I took him to the Butcher Boy in Warren he weighed out 155lbs dressed.
-Chris Olsen Jr.

At The Age Of 75 Can I Still Continue To Do This?

richard_blake_9_point“I’m not sure I can go this year son, my arthritis is hurting, and at 75 I just don’t know if I can do it any more”. As a son and an avid deer hunter these are the words you don’t ever want to hear from your father. But as a father these are the words you want to hear from your son.” Dad I don’t care if I have to carry you over my back, your going deer hunting”. This conversation took place in July of 2012. When I heard these words it broke my heart, and almost my spirit for deer hunting this year. Then I thought to myself, for years he was there for me… now it’s my time to be there for him.
For the average deer hunter, this may not seem to be a big task. Hop out of the truck, walk into the woods a few hundred yards, and get comfy in your stand. We are not that average hunter! Our family has always scouted, tracked and used our woodsmenship to harvest the largest, most matured deer on public land. This philosophy has been handed down from generation to generation.
My goal for this year was to put my father in front of a buck that we considered a shooter. I shared with my dad a few pictures of a buck that wasn’t a shooter last year but should be this year. I think at this point the pain in his body was so great that these pictures didn’t mean too much to him. My challenges were to make sure this deer survived another Michigan deer season, and to put my own desire of wanting to shoot it myself on the back burner. I had to be un-selfish this year and dedicate this season to a father that has always been there for me.
I started putting the cameras out in August, and begin doing a little scouting. It took a few weeks for the deer to start showing up on camera. I had some success on the cameras but no bucks worth taking. Every few days I would give dad a call and give him a report. By mid September it wasn’t getting any better. Both things were getting worse, the arthritis and the deer activity. And once again I heard those same words. “I’m not sure I can go this year”. I encouraged him to contact his doctor and give me a few more weeks of scouting before we made any more decisions. It was early in the season and the deer were still on their summer habits.
By now, October was getting here and the deer action was still slow. I had a few potential “future bucks” on camera but still not the big one I’ve seen in the past few years. We have been deer hunting long enough to know it can change in a moment’s time, and that it did. I had five cameras out and one of them got hit with a shooter. The only issue there was that it was on my primary bow stand, and not where I wanted to put my dad. I could worry about that later. The only thing that was on my mind was to show him the pictures and get him excited about this deer. Things were changing quickly. Dad’s doctor was getting him meds that made him feel a lot better and our deer had made a mistake by showing himself. By now dad was excited and getting ready for his 63rd opening day. My focus now was to maintain that excitement for him and hope the big one would show up on one of his cameras. I put the trail camera photo on dad’s computer and added it to his screen saver. I wanted him to wake up every morning and take a look at this deer. This would accomplish two things; keep him interested and I figured by seeing it everyday that might just calm him down when it comes in on November 15. Just as any deer hunter can relate, your heart starts to pump a little faster when you see a deer of this quality come in. We went over what runway it would come down, and to focus on its heart when it did. I wanted him to be very relaxed, and again cover all our bases so no mistakes were made.
November 6th was the day I knew it was only a matter of time. On that day it showed up on dad’s run way at 5:45 a.m. The next few days I concentrated on timing the deer out. If I needed to move his blind to assure a daylight shot, I needed to do it now. We did just that… adjusted his blind over looking the run way. Now it was a waiting game. The morning of November 15th was here and we were ready. We went through our opening rituals and hoped for the best. I had the deer timed out to come down the run way around 8:30.
Well 8:30 came around, and I heard no shots. It was a slow opening morning, a few shots in the hills but not too much in the swamp. By 9:00 o’clock I have to admit I started to worry just a tad about why I didn’t hear the crack of the ole’ lever action 348. It’s a sound that is very distinct, any lever action fan would recognize. At that time I looked up and said a small prayer. I told the good Lord if it meant that deer coming my way or his please send it his way. Now I don’t know if you believe in the power of prayer but it didn’t take long after that. At 9:13 a.m. I heard the ole’ lever go off. I think at that moment my heart stopped and I about fell out of my stand. I looked up into the sky and whispered “thank you Lord.” A few short moments later the cell phone rang and dad said “I shot at a rack.” “Did you hit him?” “I’m not sure,” was all I heard. We both knew that it was now or never.
An old mature white tail like this doesn’t stay alive on public land by being dumb. You’re going to have one shot and you better make the best out of it. I instructed Dad to stay there and give me a few minutes to get over to him. I climbed into his blind with him and asked him to show me where the deer was standing when he took the shot. He pointed over to a very thick log pile. I had my doubts at his age if he could make a killing shot of this caliber. I walked through the thick swamp headed over to the stump pile and it didn’t take long for a tear of joy to run down my cheek. There he was! The deer I was after for the last three years. My old man did it! I couldn’t begin to tell you how proud I was that he got it. It meant more to me that he got it then if I had shot it.
After 75 years, his name will be in the record books. Its not the biggest ever shot in the state but it’s a fine public land buck at that. I can tell you now that nothing meant more to me then the next hour spent dragging that buck out with my dad at my side. For all those hunters still hunting with their dad I think you can relate to what I was feeling. And for those that are younger reading this. I can now speak from experience don’t take any of those moments for granted.
Deer hunting means so much more then just getting a deer. It’s about family.
– Richard and Bill Blake


jeremy_strickland_11_14_11_wayne_8ptI decided to hunt the 14th of November. I figured the bucks were locked up with girlfriends and it was unseasonably warm so I didn’t expect much but I wanted to tag out before gun season. I went for my morning hunt and got in my tree around 5:30AM, the woods were quiet until about 7:30 when I had a little doe come by to get the blood pumping. I watched her for about 15 minutes until she got spooked off and I wasn’t sure why. About 20 minutes later two does came in and kept looking back so I grabbed the ole trusty bow, locked on the release and there he was following them in at about 60 yards from me. The blood was really pumping now as they kept walking my way. He was right on their tails until they stopped at 25 yards out. The does looked back again and by that time I was coming to full draw. My buck was broadside and then I heard that comforting sound, THWAAACK! He bolted like he was struck by lightning but he didn’t run but 50 yards. Double lung. Biggest deer to date, close to 150 and the main beams are 25″ long.
-Jeremy Strickland

My First Monster Buck

zach_burton_fieldjournal_picOn October 11th 2012, I woke up at 4:30 AM, made coffee and watched the news. After seeing the weather, I knew it would be a good day to hunt one of my favorite tree stands. The wind would be right in my face at around 5 MPH. It was 28 degrees and the first light frost in my area. So I took the dog for her morning walk and came home to gear up.
I live in Eaton County Michigan and hunt a pressured area. But I practice quality deer management and “let them go, let them grow.” My neighbors also practice good management. I don’t have food plots on my land, but the crops are corn, wheat, and soybeans, with the remainder woods.
I climbed into my stand by 7 AM and waited for light. I’m not a fan of heights, so my stand is only about 12 feet up. I’m hunting a fairly open area in my woods, about 25 yards from the edge of a cut wheat field that has sparse grass growing in it. I’m at a narrow point between the woods and a wood line that the deer tend to favor for crossing the field.
At first light I had a doe and her fawn cross the field and go through the woods, at about 70 yards. I waited about 10 minutes and rattled lightly with a rattle bag. Within about 3 minutes, a bachelor group of small bucks came into the field and started sparring. I watched them for about 10 or 15 minutes and they finally worked off on the tree line in the other direction.
It was now about 8 AM. The bachelor group had just gone out of sight; I scanned the field and the wood line with my binoculars to see if there was anything moving, and saw nothing. As I turned my head and looked into the woods, a slight movement caught my eye. I watched for a few minutes and saw nothing more, so I lost interest and looked back to the field. I then scanned back into the woods and that little movement had turned into a very large set of antlers at 70 yards and headed to me.
This deer was wide and tall, one of the largest I had ever seen in my area. He took his sweet time coming, stopping often and smelling the air. Any seasoned bow hunter knows that this is a bad thing! It gave me plenty of time to get buck fever. My adrenaline was flowing and I was getting the shakes. He finally came in at about 25 yards and stepped behind a tree. Knowing that this was the time to draw my bow, I drew slowly and with as little motion as I could, but he still heard it.
So now we had a stand-off, and I was already shaking from the adrenaline. He stood there blocked by a tree, frozen motionless. I held my bow at full draw for what seemed like an eternity (in actuality it was probably only about 1 minute). He finally started to walk forward and didn’t stop, but he was moving cautious and slow. When he cleared I released and with a thump he fell right to the ground and started to roll on the ground. Before I could even take a breath he jumped up and ran full speed into my woods.
I looked down and my arrow was stuck in the ground, a sign of a full pass through. I waited about 15 minutes (still shaking) and climbed out of my stand. I checked where he had rolled and there was one drop of blood. When I inspected the arrow there was nice bright blood, but no sign of blood on the path he had taken. I decided to wait at least an hour to start tracking him. So I went home and had some coffee while I called a friend to help me track him.
We went out about an hour and a half later, following the hoof prints for about 60 yards until we lost them. We started walking back and forth through my woods looking for any sign of him. After about an hour of searching, I was starting to get a little sick to my stomach, finding no sign and thinking I had just wounded the best deer I had ever had a shot at.
I was just walking out of the woods with my friend, about to give up, when I looked down and in between my feet was a puddle of blood. I instantly got the shakes all over again. There was a good blood trail! We took up the trail and followed it back through my woods to a cornfield. It then went up the edge of the field and into my neighbor’s cornfield. I had my cellphone on me so I called to make sure I could go look for my deer. No answer. But I knew my neighbor would rather I get the deer so I went after it.
We tracked it for about 80 yards and the blood stopped, no more sign or anything. So we backtracked for about 40 yards and found where he had come back on his tracks and then turned off on a different route. After about another 40 or 50, he did the same thing. Three times he backtracked on his trail. Then we started seeing signs that he was confused and going everywhere. By this time, the blood trace was disappearing, and we were on hoof prints again.
Then, finally, we stepped between corn rows and looked up, and there he laid, about 40 yards away. I was elated! I was shaking so much I could barely hold my bow. I gave my friend a hug of thanks, and told him I could have never done it without him. He helped keep me calm while tracking it.
I knew it was a big deer when I took the shot, but I had no idea he was this big of a monster buck. It took 3 of us to drag it to the end of the field to get it with my tractor. He had a 19 ½ inch spread with his G2’s and G3’s all over 10 inches. This truly is a monster for this part of Michigan. The buck’s green score grossed 161”. By far the biggest ever taken off of this property.
In conclusion to the story, please let them go, let them grow. It really does work. I have proof of it! And never give up hope, they are around. I have hunted this property for 15 years, an average of 70 days a year, 8 to 10 hours a day. This is the first deer of this caliber I’ve had a chance at. So be patient, it can happen to anyone.
-Zachary Burton

Grandma’s Call

will_finklerOn Thursday, November 15, 2012 in the afternoon I was sitting out in the woods while my Dad, William J Finkler and Uncle Dennis Finkler, were pushing to me. I got a call from my Grandma Lucille Finkler saying there was a big buck out in my Uncle’s cow pasture so I went running out there and that is when I saw him about 100 yards out with a doe. I was using my dads 12 gauge for the first time that day. I started to creep on up on him and the doe jumped the fence. At this time I was 75 yards away from the buck and he started running and jumped over a fence. That is when I took my first shot at him. I ran up there as fast as I could and started to look into the woods and I saw him 75 yards away standing there looking at me in the brush. I took a step back and shot 4 more times. I then struggled to find my last bullet to put in the gun and I tried to jump the fence but fell on the ground. At this point I started to walk towards him and could see his tracks but there wasn’t any blood so I thought I missed him. I went running through the woods to try to cut him off and I found him laying 25 yards to my left.

It was one of the most exciting moments in my life.

-William Finkler

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