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.
I 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