New Strategy Pays Off For Early Kentucky Buck [Big Buck ALERT]

When a dedicated bowhunter sees a favorite hunting area in a new light thanks to help from HuntStand, our Week One winner is crowned.

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

When a dedicated bowhunter sees a favorite hunting area in a new light thanks to help from HuntStand, our Week One winner is crowned.

Kentucky’s Andrew Clifton has plenty of reasons to be excited about his start to the 2020 fall hunting season. Not only was Clifton, 30, able to close the deal Sept. 7 on a beauty Kentucky buck with his bow—he was also able to use the recovery to help train his young and eager bloodhound. And then, of course, the clincher: Clifton is the first weekly winner in the 2020 HuntStand Big Buck ALERT contest that earns him a sweet pack from ALPS OutdoorZ: the Quickdraw 2.0 Sling Pack (see below). The weekly win also makes Clifton eligible for our Grand Prize drawing in November (more on that below). We’re still looking for nine more weekly winners so enter today! WkOneBuck5 900“A lot of preseason work and strategy went into this successful hunt,” Clifton began. “Weeks of monitoring trail cameras and early season food plot prep definitely paid off. I had two stands set off a nearby food plot for several years, but winds in KY during the early season can lay down to little or nothing, but they can also swirl quite often as well. Knowing those conditions, and with help from HuntStand, I decided to take advantage of a nearby creek, and the consistent thermals caused by the terrain there, and set a new stand. I also used the creek for my approach to the stand. WkOnebuck3 900“After looking at the aerial/terrain images on the HuntStand app I decided to hone-in on a natural funnel created by the terrain—along the creek and the point of a ridge that held  several food plots. HuntStand allowed me to scout without spending a lot of time in these sensitive early season areas, which prevented leaving behind a lot of scent. I chose a rainy day to head into that area; I packed my gear in, located the best tree, hung the set, and trimmed four main shooting lanes through the thick brush. I was out of there within an hour or so.

“Kentucky’s opener falls on Labor Day weekend, and I dedicated all three evenings to hunting in pursuit of a specific mature buck I knew hung out in that area; I’d found him on several different cameras over the previous weeks. Saturday evening this buck would make his way in to my stand, but as I debated whether to take him he made the decision for me—he suddenly became slightly spooked, and eased out of the area. WkOnebuck4 900“Saturday’s evening hunt would also yield a few doe encounters and a young 8 point, just as light began to fade. Monday’s hunt started out busy with several turkeys making their way along the creek, but things were mostly slow until the setting sun met the horizon. At that time a few does approached from my downwind side, but I believe my scent was staying tight to the creek, allowing me some leeway. As they approached one doe began to act hesitant and peered in my direction but not at me—focusing somewhere beyond the base of my tree.

“As I turned to look in that direction I spied a mature buck standing 20 yards away in thick brush. The buck soon made his way to a shooting lane, where I was able to get off a perfectly placed shot at 20 yards. I then packed up and snuck out to meet with my wife, and pick up our young bloodhound to put him to the test on the blood trail—thinking it a good opportunity to get him some practice, as the buck shouldn’t be far. When we returned with Amos he quickly found the arrow and took off on the trail. I barely had enough time to look down and confirm he was on the blood trail; a few minutes and 80 yards later we were on the buck. WkOnebuck2 900“Upon recovery I was instantly proud of the buck, but even more so of my dog’s ability, and the results of our training. I believe the ability to digitally scout this area ahead of time using HuntStand—including using the app to carefully plan my entry and exit along the property lines, and utilize the creek to minimize human impact in this area—was critical to my early season success. Thank you HuntStand!”

To enter the HuntStand 2020 Big Buck ALERT contest, simply send us a few clear, high-res. digital photos (three to five) of your 2020 buck bagged after Aug. 20 (Entries accepted NOW THROUGH NOV. 26) along with a brief story of your hunt that explains how the HuntStand app played a part. Be sure to tell us if your buck was known to you or a newcomer, then describe the area where your stand sits, or where the encounter took place, as well as the fateful day’s wind and weather conditions, and of course, the blow-by-blow account of the exciting action as it unfolded. Include your full name, age, successful hunt date and state, weapon used, and also be sure to include your mailing address. Your e-mail subject line should read: Big Buck Alert! Send your photo(s) and requested info to: [email protected]ALPSQuickdraw-Edge 900

Team HuntStand will choose 10 weekly winners that we will share with the extensive HuntStand community; EACH weekly winner will receive the Quickdraw 2.0 Sling Pack (valued at $79.99) from ALPS OutdoorZ (see above). This unique single-sling daypack offers quick and easy swing-around access to gear compartments. Unlike traditional shoulder straps, the single sling allows free range of motion. You’ll also find a drop-down pocket that securely carries a bow or gun, MOLLE webbing with bungee system for toting a quiver or extra gear, and a 2L water reservoir to keep you hydrated. ALPSContenderX 900In addition, at the end of the 10 weeks, all weekly winners will be placed in a drawing for our Grand Prize: an ALPS OutdoorZ Contender X pack (valued at $229.99; image above). Pack specialist ALPS is calling this feature-packed design the ultimate whitetail day pack; the coolness of the Contender X begins with its innovative self-standing L-shape frame, which allows you to set your pack on any flat surface. The unique U-shaped zipper provides extra-large, flip-down top access to the main compartment—ideal for easy gear access while hanging in your stand or sitting on the ground, without losing precious pack contents. The Lycra covered molded foam suspension ensures carrying comfort even when fully loaded with hunting necessities.

Good luck out there this fall from all of us here at Team HuntStand and let us know when (and how) you score with HuntStand!



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