A rancher’s tip, and some last-minute maneuvering with help from HuntStand, leads to a jaw-dropping trophy of a lifetime.
Whoa. Our first weekly winner in our 2018 Big Buck ALERT contest has set the bar high indeed, a buck that would turn heads wherever they roam. This one called Oklahoma home before being waylayed by bowhunter Cody Brown, 31, of Tuskahoma, a dedicated HuntStand app user who made the most of his early season opportunity. Brown’s Week One win earns him the ALPS OutdoorZ Bino Harness X and Vital X rangefinder pocket, AND makes him eligible for our Grand Prize Drawing: A choice of either a sweet new binocular, OR a cutting-edge riflescope, from proven hunting optics specialist Leupold (contest details below). Enter now to join the fun!
Here’s the incredible HuntStand Success story in Brown’s own words:
“I first heard news of the buck I would nickname ‘180’ on the 4th of July, 2018, from a local rancher who called me and told me he had seen a group of deer that included one or two giant deer, not far from my home, while driving his tractor after a long day of bailing,” Brown wrote. “I immediately thought that it was probably an over-exaggeration of a few average six- to 10-point bucks, as I’ve heard plenty of similar reports before.“As luck would have it, I had an old trail camera that I left out year-round in this area. A few days later I checked it out of curiosity, and immediately I knew the rancher had been right. The huge buck was nowhere near being fully developed, but I realized he was definitely something special. As a result, I decided to pour out some minerals and feed. I waited patiently for a few weeks, then checked my camera again. I remember shaking out of excitement seeing a photo of the now-jaw-dropping buck. I said out loud to myself, ‘I believe he’ll go 180 inches.’ The name just stuck. The anticipation and preparation was now running through my mind. How many different ways could I increase my odds to get a chance to harvest this deer? Thumbing through my old game camera photos, I realized that I had captured images of the same deer in 2017, yet he had grown some 30 inches of bone in a single year!“I glassed this deer weekly on my personal property for most of the summer. It was the most visible buck I had been able to track in my life. I glimpsed it drinking from the pond, grazing among the trees, and occasionally crossing the road to the neighbors’. My anticipation and nerves began to grow. As we all know, deer can often disappear in the blink of an eye without notice. My father and I own two neighboring properties. We try to make his obsession with running cattle, and mine with deer, coexist…which can be tough at times. Soon we had reached an agreement. I would furnish a half-mile of cross fence, set corners, and drive posts on a portion of his property, in exchange for keeping the cows off the suspected bedding area of this particular deer until I had either killed him or he had left. My dad agreed. I wanted to create a pressure-free zone with no traffic.“Soon it was October 1st, 2018. I had seeded two food plots, one ‘kill plot’ and a larger plot 150 yards away. They were planted the day before a 7-inch weekend of rain in the middle of September. The plots had exploded with oats, and the deer, including 180, were tearing it up.
“The week before opening day, 180 had been on the ‘kill plot’ every day between 3 and 5 p.m. He was still running with five other bucks…lots of noses and eyes for a man holding a compound bow. The plan, initially, was to hunt a stand I had hung back in August; however, the forecasted wind for that day on the HuntStand app was a southeast wind, which would put my ScentCone right where it didn’t need to be. As a result, two days before the season I hung my climber in a thicket on the southeast corner of the kill plot in order to combat the wind direction.“Deer were only coming to these food plots in the evenings, so hunting the morning was of no concern. However, I decided to climb into the tree at 11 a.m. I had no trail cam evidence of deer movement during this time, but assumed it would allow me the most concealment without bumping deer. As I sat in my treestand knowing I wouldn’t see deer activity for some time, I used the HuntStand app to review the winds for the latter part of the day, and noticed the wind was projected to change from the west-southwest. As 2 p.m came and passed, my wind indicator puffer confirmed that I now was in big trouble at this location. I knew 180 would likely be on the kill plot in about 3 hours. Aggravated and torn, I finally called the hunt off.“As I was walking out along the edge of the larger food plot covered in oats, a group of three trees caught my eye. They were perfectly positioned to encircle and hide a ground blind. I knew my ‘go-to’ portable blind had been damaged the previous year, but I high-tailed it back to my house to scour my shop. I found an old blind not too small to prevent drawing a bow, but small enough. I grabbed the blind, a chainsaw, and some rope. Next I went to a fenceline near my home and began cutting every cedar tree I could get my hands on. Using my Ranger ATV I hauled them to the edge of the plot, and began building a cedar-covered blind. I had seen 180 on this plot one time the previous week, but now it was my only option to be able to hunt that particular evening. I knew getting the wind right was crucial, and I had the feeling that I may very well be able to pull this off.“I went home, showered, and threw on some shorts due to the heat, then grabbed a big glass of sweet tea before crawling into the newly set blind at 4 p.m. Waiting patiently on the 91-degree day was difficult, but the sun finally began to set. At 6:50 p.m. the sun dipped behind a large hickory tree, allowing me some relief. The blind was facing west toward a plot of oats.
“As the evening stillness descended, I heard a tussle back in the brush, and hoped it was 180. My anticipation rose even further when I heard what sounded like a giant buck shredding a tree. Soon, out of the thicket walks a 140-class deer I had seen accompanying my target buck many times; with rangefinder in hand I locked on as he walked directly away from me: 35 yards. Then I noticed something right behind him. Unbelievably, out walked the biggest deer I’ve ever seen on the hoof at such close proximity. I fumbled to range him, but locked him in at an even 30 yards. The small blind forced me to stick my arrow out of the window to draw my Hoyt Defiant compound; as I did I saw the buck’s hips were still in the brush, but his front quarters were fully exposed, broadside. Now on autopilot, I watched as my arrow buried in his chest cavity up to the fletching; instantly I knew I had made a fatal shot. From about 70 yards away I watched as the huge buck piled up next to a sapling pine. It wasn’t too long after that I found my initial guess at this buck’s headgear had not been too far off; my dream buck ended up green-scoring 172 1/8. Thank you HuntStand; I love the HuntStand Hunting app!To enter the HuntStand 2018 Big Buck ALERT contest, simply send us a few clear, high-res. digital photos (three to five) of your 2018 buck (accepted NOW THROUGH NOV. 29) 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]Team HuntStand will choose 12 weekly winners that we will share with the extensive HuntStand community; EACH weekly winner will receive BOTH the Bino Harness X (valued at $49.99) AND Vital X rangefinder pocket (valued at $19.99) from ALPS OutdoorZ (see above).In addition, at the end of the 12 weeks, all weekly winners will be placed in a drawing for our Grand Prize. The Winner will GET THEIR CHOICE of a Leupold BX-2 Tioga HD 8X42 binocular (shown above, a $389.99 value) OR a Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 CDS riflescope (see below), a $389.99 value.
Good luck out there this fall from all of us here at Team HuntStand, and let us know when (and how) you score!