My Most Memorable Mobile Bowhunt - #4 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. CLINT CASPER

December 22, 2022 7 min read

My Most Memorable Mobile Bowhunt -  #4 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. CLINT CASPER

Mobile Hunting: The Chase for the GIANT 8

By: Clint Casper 

When thinking about breaking down my most memorable, mobile hunt, it’s really challenging to say which exact hunt, stands above the rest because they are all so special! But, this specific eight point, that I called “The Giant 8” stands out to me, because of the specific details that went into mobile hunting this buck! So let’s dive right into it!

Early Season Patterns

I learned rather quickly that this buck loved certain winds AND certain locations, that these winds were in his favor! South and West winds proved to be the winds he favored most, mainly because they allowed him to bed on a thick South facing slope and could have the wind in his face the entire way to feed in the soy bean and corn fields nearby. When I would get pictures of him in daylight, he was almost always on one of these winds and this would prove to be a very, very important piece to the puzzle of getting him within bow range!

 I knew there were a lot of neighboring bowhunters who would be targeting this buck, so I already kind of figured that I would need to have a plan B and C incase he switched up his summer routine before the season started, at the end of September. Unfortunately, I was as correct on this assumption, as I could have been!

 The Giant 8 disappeared on me and completely went nocturnal on the cameras that he was still frequenting. This told me that he knew he was being hunted and that I would need to get super crafty in my hunting setups to catch this buck slipping!

October Struggles

My new plan for the first month of the season was to scout as much as I could! I needed to find this buck again and figure out where he had made his shift to, as far as his bedding and feeding locations. I didn’t think he’d move too far away, but I absolutely had to have a solid gameplan before diving in after him without actually knowing his whereabouts. I spent a lot of time moving cameras and glassing fields that first month of season, but no matter the efforts, we couldn’t turn up our buck in daylight!

My next move was to start preparing for the rut, in hopes that late October and November would bring him back to his home turf, in search of a girlfriend! As November drew closer and closer, I did start picking up more pieces to the puzzle. A few daylight pictures and some giant rubs were giving away his presence that he was indeed coming back to his old haunts, right before November kicked off! There were a few good funnels and punch points, in the area that he called home and I had a feeling that if I spent enough time in these spots, that I would get an opportunity at him, as he searched the area for a hot doe. This area was his core area, for most of the year and even though he shifted gears earlier on, I knew he would be back to check and breed these local does. So the plan was simple, hunt as many possible hours and days as I could, in hopes of settling the score with “The Giant 8”.

Missed Opportunity

As November heated up, so did my cameras as he was all over them basically every night! I knew it was just a matter of time until I was in front of me during daylight, I just needed to be there! The game plan was to hunt all day, close to these bedding areas and on the right winds! When the wind wasn't south, or west I would hunt a few funnels and saddles nearby that potentially he may use as he traveled looking for does. On November 7th, the day after my birthday, I was about to get my first crack at “The Giant 8”.

That morning was brisk and cold, 17 degrees my phone read and I remember heading down into a creek bottom funnel because of a North wind. I was a little concerned with the falling thermals in that bottom right off the bat, but this spot was my best option and had recently been torn up with hot sign! Right at daylight, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a buck grunting up on the ridge to the west! He was walking fast and grunting with each step and I just had a hunch that it was HIM! He stopped a few times and aggressively rubbed on some small oaks, as I could watch the tops frantically swing back and forth. A few moments later he stepped into view, up on the ridge about 100 yards away and I could see plain as day what Buck it was!

Knowing that he was acting aggressive and all rutted up I had to think quick and try to pull him down towards me, so I let out two load snort wheezes with my mouth, as loud as I could! He immediately stopped, flicked his tail, put his head down and was headed my way! My attention was now solely on a shooting lane in front of me and my only concern were the downward thermals in the cool, morning air! At a mere 15 yards, at full draw and only needing a few more steps to slip a shot into this buck, the worst possible scenario took place. He had caught my thermals and I knew it!

Immediately, he back pedaled and changed his whole demeanor! Frantically searching for a lane to shoot at full draw, I found nothing and had to let down. The buck backed up, scanned the area one more time and then walked off blowing with every step! To this day, I’ve never heard a buck blow more than this buck did, as to only run salt deeper into my wounds! I knew this was a great opportunity and unfortunately it did not go my way. I was deflated to say the least and now wondered would that be my only opportunity at this buck that year?

Late Season Grind

As the Calendar flipped to December, I changed tactics from rut stands to strictly evening sits centered around food! Day in and day out I spent my evenings either glassing, or hunting different food sources in hopes that this buck would show back up, but he never did. A neighbor supposedly hit a giant framed buck during gun season, but never recovered him and I had a huge fear that maybe my buck was dead!

 As December turned to January I had all but given up hope. The last picture I had of this buck was during November and not a single sighting or photo since! I was truly hunting a ghost at this point and I knew it, but what actually happened to him? That suspense was killing me. At this point, I had to make the call to go back to the drawing board and start hunting other bucks, since my target buck was now either dead, or had completely left my area. To say that I was discouraged would be a huge understatement and I really questioned if I could even pull the trigger on another buck besides him, but I had to keep hunting!

 4th Quarter Gameplan

 As luck would have it, one late January evening, my dad called me one night with great news! He told me that he had saw a buck cross the road in front of him that looked just like The giant 8! He said he was heading towards a cut cornfield of ours and that I should throw a camera up just Incase! My hopes were that I could get a picture of him to confirm that he was indeed still alive AND that’s exactly what happened!

That night, while making my kids dinner on January 25th, my phone buzzed and there he was! He was alive! All three of us shouted and screamed! That night I came up with my master plan, my final plan! Knowing that he was coming from a South facing ridge that utilized the west wind, I decided I needed to do a hang an hunt, in a tree line between his bed and this field he was feeding in! With brutal conditions, I knew carrying in a stand and hunting it in the same night would be a brisk task, but it was my best and only option.

 The next day around 2pm I headed off towards the tree line with my bow in hand. My plan was to be all settled in by 3pm and ready for action! All I needed now was a little luck and to not freeze to death. As I got nestled in that evening, a little after three, my hopes were high that he would show himself and give me one, final opportunity!

At about a quarter till five I caught movement to the north, coming from the south facing slope! It was him! He was headed straight for the tree line that I was in and had 9 other bucks and a doe with him. Nervously, I stood up and said a little prayer, as I now knew I had a lot of ears and eyes to beat. Fifteen minutes, or so later had me standing up, bow in hand, watching the whole line of bucks walk right underneath me, headed for the cut cornfield! I was on pins and needles and needed them all to walk out past me, so I could then get drawn and make my shot.

Finally, all of the deer made it past me and now my task was to get back to full draw undetected! What seemed like the perfect time to draw, unmistakably was not and while almost back to full draw I was busted by a little buck! He stomped and stared, alerting the entire herd! I was now at full draw and pinned down, but luckily the other deer had no clue what the small buck had seen. Knowing that I was in an oak tree treeline, littered with squirrels, I decided to make a squirrel chatter call with my mouth in hopes of tricking the herd into thinking a squirrel was all that this little buck had seen. To my extreme surprise, it worked!!! And every deer went back to feeding!

Now at 37 yards and calm again, I had my opportunity to come back to full draw, one final time and with the intent to make this one count! Quartering away, with his head down I settled my pin behind his shoulder and let the shot break! It was a perfect hit! Immediately calling my boys on the phone I couldn’t wait to share this moment with them. This was not my buck, this was OUR buck and the quest for “The Giant 8” had finally come to an end.

 

ABOUT: Clint Casper is a calculated straight up big buck killer, host of the CC Hunt Files with Working Class Bowhunters, and long term outdoor/hunting writer. He just recently added this Mobile Venatic column to his long resume! Clint is easing into saddle hunting...listen here



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