North Carolina: Man Kills 160-inch Buck 1 Year After Fall From Tree Stand

nc velvet bcuk fall

Last October 19, Brad Duke fell 20 feet when a strap on the top section of his tree stand ladder steps broke. Brad lay unconscious for 2½ hours, then stumbled to his truck and drove home. His wife drove him to the hospital, where x-rays revealed he had a cracked vertebrae and 3 broken ribs.

Doctors told Brad surgery was a possibility, but he’d have none of that. He signed himself out of the emergency room 45 minutes later and went home, spent 3 weeks in bed and “then got in the gym and started lifting weights.”

Fully healed, Brad was back in a tree stand in Granville County on Saturday, September 13. As fate would have it, the same big buck he had been hunting a year earlier when he fell showed up. “I had tons of history and pictures of this deer since he was a young up-and-comer,” Brad said.

Brad’s shot was on target, clipping the 9-pointer’s heart, and the deer didn’t go far. The rack rough-scored 161” in velvet. Read the full story at North Carolina Sportsman.

Kentucky: Giant Velvet Archery Buck, 175”

Ky velvet 2Today’s fine guest blog is from Kentucky bowhunter Jeff Fogle, who hunted the Crabclaw Buck for 4 long years:

Mike: I first saw him 4 years ago in the summer of 2010. He was 4 years old then and already completely nocturnal. I attempted to hunt him a few times, but never saw him.

In 2012 I studied aerial maps hard to try and find where he was bedding. I had a gut feeling about a particular ridge top that I had never hunted, so in late October that year I hung a stand and hunted it. I saw him on Halloween and again on Nov. 1st, but he slipped by me both times.

These were the only 2 times while hunting that I had ever seen this buck, but I had more than 3,000 trail cam pics of him. He was an old ghost! And I became obsessed with him.

This past summer I completely dedicated every waking moment to killing the Crabclaw Buck. Based on trail cam pics I had determined he was living in a 30-acre section on top of the ridge directly behind my house. I planted a food plot behind my pasture in the woods, hoping that as he transitioned from summer to fall patterns, he would stick around long enough for me to have an encounter with him.

One week prior to the bow opener in Kentucky I stopped getting pics of Crabclaw. I was heartbroken. I hunted opening afternoon at my food plot and saw nothing. I thought about totally giving up on him again this year, but something told me to stick with it.

A cold front had come thru that weekend, dropping temps 15 degrees. Just what the doctor ordered. At 7:25 pm on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 7th, he appeared thru the woods coming directly at me. I waited for him to enter the field, drew back and released an arrow as he quartered away at 20 yards. He ran into a nearby hay field.

KY velvet 2014 1I gave him a couple hours before I went to look because I was worried about the shot being too far back. But the hit turned out to be good, and the rest is history. Four years, 3,000 plus trail cam pics and countless sleepless nights studying deer habits and game planning had all come to fruition. What a rewarding feeling!

The Crabclaw Buck had 17 points and scored 175 5/8”…full velvet…270 pounds live weight…an 8-year-old ghost! He was my first buck with a bow after 10 years of trying. Finally I had sealed the deal!

I could write a full book detailing exactly all that I went thru to kill this dude and how crazy the hunt for him has been the last 4 years, but I don’t think there’s enough space on any blog for all that, haha. I’ve already got my eye on some net Booners for next year that I’ve been watching grow. I can’t wait to hopefully share more stories. Hope you and all the BIG DEER Bloggers have the best season ever. Stay safe out there. Thanks for following my journey with the Crabclaw Buck.–Best wishes, Jeff Fogle

David Hale: 5 Bow Tactics For Big Bucks

haleBack in 1972 Kentucky farmer David Hale sold his tractors and cows. He teamed up with local barber Harold Knight, and they started building and peddling turkey, deer and duck calls. It worked out. Knight and Hale has become one of the most successful game-call companies in America. My good friend David, with whom I have hunted many times and have always thoroughly enjoyed it, has become a legendary outdoorsman. He enjoys all types hunting, but his passion is bowhunting whitetails. David  offers 5 tips for bowhunting the early season:

  1. Most bucks don’t travel far in September or October. If you spot a big 8 or 10-pointer, he’ll almost certainly live close by for the next few weeks. Heck, he might stay within 500 acres or so all month, or even all season.
  2. A big buck loves to walk along or through cover for as far as he can. Look for a weed ditch, brushy fencerow or head of timber that juts out into a field. Any little bit of cover that sticks out into the crops is a good spot for a tree stand.
  3. Hunting back off a field or food plot can be an effective way to ambush a buck before dusk, but don’t penetrate more than 100 yards back into the surrounding woods. If you push any deeper than that you’ll probably bust deer. Does and bucks bed tight to the feed in early fall.
  4. The falling barometer associated with a cold front makes bucks get up and move. Watch your barometric pressure; hunt the afternoons when it starts going down.
  5. Scout for clusters of big, shiny rubs. Then look out from those for smaller rubs that show a buck’s travel route between his bedding area and a food source. Hang a tree stand in between for an ambush.

Maryland: “Colossus” Bow Buck!

maryland giant 2014

Thanks to Tony for letting us know about this monster that a hunter shot in Charles County, Maryland last week (they kill some big deer every year in that county).

Cool buck, main-frame 10 w/split G-2s and super-wide. After battling the heat and mosquitoes for a couple days, it cooled off a bit and Jon got the monster he and his wife had named “Colossus.” Way to go man! Read the story at