Strange things can happen in the deer woods. Whether the eye witness is a new hunter or cagey veteran seems to make no difference; this crazy trophy buck story centers on Maryland’s Connor Kretzing. Kretzing, 25, experienced a hunt for the ages this past November, with some welcome help from HuntStand. As you’ll hear, Kretzing, a relatively new hunter, is on a serious roll with his trusty HuntStand app. This fall alone, HuntStand’s accurate wind and weather information led Kretzing to three separate buck encounters, but the third one was the charm. Here’s Kretzing’s amazing HuntStand success story in his own words.
“On the days leading up to the hunt for this buck, a family friend was out and saw a big buck about 80 yards from a stand at the back of the private parcel I hunt—my grandfather’s place,” Kretzing wrote. “At this point in the season, HuntStand was my best friend, as I was checking the weather and wind direction daily, at all the stands on my Hunt Area map. Twice this season HuntStand’s accurate information put me in the right stand at the right time, on two hunts in a row. However, I missed my chance at the two different bucks; I shot just under them.
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“I was feeling pretty defeated, but I went out any way that Tuesday night, Nov. 15, to a stand at the front of the property. This was about 300 yards from the back stand; I was hoping the buck seen recently by the friend had been traveling toward some soybean fields, and I could catch him on his way back there. Sure enough, the buck came through that evening, but again, was about 80 yards away. I was nothing but determined to bag this buck.
“I have only been hunting seriously for three years, and this was the biggest buck I’d ever seen in the woods. And ironically, the last 8-point taken on my grandfather’s property was killed eight years ago. The next day, Nov. 16, I got off work at 2 p.m. and told myself I was going to get this buck tonight. I got my gear on, grabbed my grandfather’s crossbow that he had passed down to me, and a bottle of doe estrous scent to drip a trail out to my stand. The only question, which stand? I fired up HuntStand and clicked on the HuntZone feature to see the wind was blowing from the south. That was no good for my main stand. So I went to an almost-forgotten stand my grandfather had put up years ago. It was about 100 yards southeast of my main stand.
“I got up in the stand at 3:30 p.m., and just as I’m settling in I look up and there he is. The buck is 50 yards straight out, between me and my main stand. I couldn’t get a good shot in the thick woods with my crossbow, so I remained quiet and still. I was hoping and praying the buck would circle around; when he disappeared I dripped the whole bottle of estrous scent down the side of my tree. Then I started a rattling sequence. At 4:15 p.m. I heard movement to my right, then he appeared at 35 yards heading my way. When he stepped out from behind a big tree he was quartering away and getting ready to leave, so I took the shot. The buck dropped down, then got up and took off. I could find no blood but felt he was hit.
“Thankfully, I could easily see the leaves the buck had turned up running away. About 60 yards north of the shot site, I spooked him from his bed. He was now headed toward a road that marked the property boundary. Knowing this, I ran as fast as I could to the road, then took a left down the street; I caught the buck just before it could cross the road. As I yelled ‘HEY!’ the buck saw me and bolted back into the woods. We were running side by side about 30 yards apart from each other, when the buck suddenly fell. After a second, double-lung shot, the buck jumped up and ran 30 more yards! I might harvest a larger deer in my lifetime, but I doubt I will ever have a more-determined, action-packed hunt as long as I live.
“All in all the buck made it about 150 yards from the shot site. It was the best experience I could’ve ever had. My grandfather was so proud he couldn’t contain himself. He has killed many a deer in his life, but he told me mine was bigger. He ended up gifting me the taxidermy bill to get the ‘Redeemer’ buck mounted. I call him the Redeemer, after having such a rough season leading up to him. Then soon after, I bagged another, smaller 8-point later that same week. I guess my fortunes had turned!”