Have you ever found a certain buck and hunted that buck, and only that buck? Well, Studley was the first buck I had ever targeted like that. Once he showed up on my radar, I was going to harvest Studley or eat my tag. Two things had kept me from doing this in the past: distance between my home and hunting property; and not utilizing trail cameras.
The property I hunt typically doesn’t hold mature bucks during the summer, but when October rolls around they start showing. The first trail camera picture I had of Studley was on October 7th, and once I saw him, I was all in. He was definitely mature and sported a heavy ten point rack. I kept monitoring my cameras when conditions were right and had another picture the morning after a major cold front rolled through. He showed around 8:00 in the morning checking does. I had no sightings or pictures of Studley for two weeks following that, but then he showed again right after another front blew through. See a trend? He showed up on the same camera at 10:00 am the day before my vacation started. Now I knew he was still in the area and frequenting the farm. The hunt was on.
I hunted for seven straight days without a sighting or picture of Studley. I had plenty of encounters with two 3.5 year old bucks numerous times, but no Studley. My window of harvesting him was about to take a big hit. Kentucky’s two week rifle season was opening and with more hunters afield and him showing himself in daylight, I had a feeling he wouldn’t make it long. Personally, I would rather bow hunt than rifle hunt, but a couple of my best locations don’t set up well for a bow because of the big fields on the property. Opening day of rifle season I was in a tree overlooking a huge CRP field that deer felt comfortable in. As day broke, I could see a big buck tending a doe and fending off a number of smaller bucks 150 yards away. As the bottoms lit up, I realized it was Studley. This was the first time I’d laid eyes on him and he looked so much bigger in person than he had on camera. I quickly got my cross hairs on him and waited for the perfect shot. He turned broadside and I squeezed the trigger. The shot was true as he mule kicked and ran 50 yards and piled up.
What a beautiful buck! Studley is a typical ten point with sweeping main beams, good mass, and good tine length measuring 158″. It was great to have a target buck and even better to harvest him. I’d never truly experienced this before and have two final thoughts. I was fortunate to have a target buck that can keep you in the tree for longer hours knowing he is out there. It is also nice to hunt and not have a clue what size buck might show up. The anticipation is high either way it goes. I’ll share another story later in the summer about not knowing what is out there and what can show up and how the satisfaction is just the same. Studley was a great buck and I will never forget the hunt for him.