Mass, Mass and More.... Mass

By Chris Stone
California, 2009, DIY, Private Land
Mass, Mass and More....MassJan/Feb 2011 EBJ (Issue 63) - After three straight days in the stand, one of the most impressive blacktail bucks I had ever seen was carefully closing to within 15 yards. It was almost as though the rest of the world was in pause mode. By the way this bruiser acted, it seemed he was in charge of Mother Nature and everything around him.

Being tagged out, I was behind the video camera and my buddy, Ricky Wilmshurst, was in the hot seat with his bow. What led up to this event was constant scouting, preparation, patience, and a will and obsession for hunting trophy blacktail bucks. They are amazingly elusive and challenging to hunt, plus they have their own unique characteristics. My interest in bowhunting blacktails began several years ago and has rewarded me with great hunts and great trophies.

In 2008, I was fortunate enough to take a huge, wide buck that was featured in EBJ 54 (July/August 2009). The buck officially scored 167-5/8 as a non-typical. I truly thought and was told that bucks of that size were unheard of and nearly impossible to take, especially with a bow. However, I felt that if I did it once, maybe I could do it again.

While scouting during the scorching hot months of June and July 2009, I located an impressive buck that had mass, long main beams, and a droptine. Never having harvested a buck with a droptine, I was pretty excited. After a few weeks, I had figured out his travel routes from his bed to his nighttime feeding area. This buck, along with three other nice bucks, was feeding in an area of oaks that were dropping acorns.

Fast-forward to the second day of the archery season; I was in my stand hoping my scouting and preparation would pay off. I had placed my stands close to the bedding area, knowing big bucks like this were nocturnal and I needed to stack the odds in my favor. Along with me was my buddy, Aaron Brooks, who was running a video camera.

We were set up in a thick white oak grove and the California heat was in the high 90s. Throughout the afternoon and evening, a few does and an annoying gray squirrel kept me entertained, but there was no sign of the big droptine buck.

With only a few minutes of light left, Aaron and I decided to sneak out of the stand and return the next day – and this is where I almost made a huge rookie mistake. Just as I started exit the stand, Aaron excitedly whispered to me that he heard deer approaching. I quickly and quietly resecured my harness and prepared myself for what was about to happen.

Chris Stone

For a full account of Chris's adventure, go to page 36 in the January/February 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.