Brandon Johnson of Mount Airy, N.C. told Carolina Sportsman:

“I had been seeing pictures of this buck on trail cam. He was among a group of bachelor bucks for the past two or three months. A lot of those were daytime photos. So I knew I had a good chance at seeing him once the season opened. But I knew I had to make it happen early in the season before his pattern started to change.”

On opening evening of the 2019 season, Brandon saw a couple of the bachelor bucks that had been traveling with the big buck for weeks. “When I saw that, I knew the giant was probably close.”

Two of the bucks came within 25 yards of Brandon’s ground blind, but the huge 8=-pointer hung back on the edge of the bean field, acting more cautiously, like mature bucks do. Finally, he inched closer and with shooting light waning, Brandon made a good shot with his crossbow.

The velvet rack had almost 7” bases, 12” G2s and rough-scored around 160, about as good as it gets for an 8-pointer. Way to go man!

Source: Carolina Sportsman

Lessons you can learn from Brandon’s hunt:

In an article on early-season bowhunting I just posted on Outdoor Life digital I wrote:

The first days of your bow season in September are second only to the rut for the best time to kill a big deer. Bucks have not been pressured for months…single bucks, doubles and bachelor groups (generally a couple of small guys hanging out with a shooter or two) are visible in fields, and they are locked into tight summer bed-to-feed patterns. Your first job is to find bucks, and then zero in a mature deer to hunt.

That is exactly what Brandon did.

I went on to say in that story: Late-summer visuals coupled with trail-camera photos take your scouting to the next level, and double your chances of patterning and shooting a monster early… Once you snap a big boy moving in shooting light, slip in and hunt your best stand for the kill.

That is exactly what Brandon did.

One other thing I have blogged about many times and said on TV will help you out in the early season: As you glass and study trail-camera images of a bachelor group in late summer, study the makeup of those bucks because those deer will run together into October. If you spot one of the bucks close, the others are close, too. Be ready!

That is exactly what Brandon did.

Whether you’re bowhunting right now or about to in October, remember these tips and good luck.