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Early Season B&C at Sunfish Valley Whitetails

October 6, 2011 by  
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You may recall that I did a post back in the summer about the big bucks that live on the land owned and managed by Sunfish Valley Outfitters in Latham, Ohio. I have to give credit to Tom and Tim from Bighorn Outdoors because they referred me to Sunfish originally. They had been there, seen some great deer and submitted a highly rated review at NextHunt.com, exactly the kind of feedback I prefer.

Tom and Tim were right. I’ve been running trail cams on various Sunfish tracts for the past two years, and big bucks do live there. I’ve spent a fair amount of time scouting and have only seen a small fraction of the thousands and thousands of acres they have at their disposal. It’s a family run operation, brothers Matt and Brock Brewster are co-owners and great people. One of their guides, Andrew Wilburn, grew up in the area and definitely knows a big buck when he sees one. He and I spent a lot of time during the off season checking out various properties and talking deer hunting.

Since I live in Ohio they granted me the ability to come and go under one of their DIY archery packages. Unfortunately for me, they’re not next door, it’s a good 2.5 hours each way, not convenient but it’s been worth the gas. For all the days of work and preparation, I hadn’t hunted a single day until last week. Last year I tagged out on my best buck the first afternoon I sat in a stand so I never got to hunt my Sunfish stands in the 2010 season. Four Lone Wolf Alpha’s went completely untouched. Based on trail cam pictures from 2010 I left two up and took two of them down with plans to relocate them somewhere later on in the summer.

This year I ran 8 trail cams in 5 counties and the largest two bucks were from Sunfish, a big 10 point with stickers and a massive 12 point. Actually, Andrew got some video of the 12 point one evening in July which set the new plan in motion. In August, I put a Covert 3MP IR trail cam over two Trophy Rocks and some corn on the east edge of a newly established foodplot in the same general area. On the same day, I hung and pruned those two stands. One on the north east side of the plot on the downhill side of an old logging road that met the field and the second a couple hundred yards east inside the woods at a trail crossing. By early September, I had pictures of both bucks entering the foodplot via the logging road. With less than a month till opener I prayed they wouldn’t disappear after shedding. By the third week of September the trail camera showed the 12 point coming mornings and evenings on a regular basis. The 10 point was gone, maybe driven out by the larger 12? Who knows.

I had planned to hunt my foodplot stand last week after getting back from Wyoming but we had a cold front and N-NW winds that just wouldn’t quit. That stand was by far the best spot but a NW was totally out of the question, I’m not patient and staying out was hard.  My schedule allowed me to hunt the afternoon of Monday Oct. 3rd., the wind was still wrong so I hunted one of the other two stands I’d left up. All I saw was 6 does and a flock of turkeys. I was beginning to worry that my early season opportunity might slip away. Finally on Wednesday Oct. 5th the wind shifted. The bad news was the forecast was hot, nearly 80 and the winds “light and variable”. Not a big fan of those conditions but hoped the evening thermals would overpower the wind, moving any scent down and away from the logging road.  I decided the opportunity was worth the chance and jumped in the truck and headed south after lunch.

It’s days like this that quality scent control products like Dead Down Wind can make all the difference. I had washed all my clothes in their detergent and showered with their soap. At about 3:00 I changed my clothes, sprayed down and walked slowly to my stand. That evening was a scorcher on the edge of the foodplot, one of the hottest sits I can ever remember. As the light faded a small six point showed up first, then a few minutes later I saw a large rack moving through the brush, the big 12 was coming from the south, not on the logging road like I’d figured. At about 25 yards he stopped behind a tree and stared into the field for several minutes. I slowly leaned out to get a better look and he must have caught a little of my movement. He circled around and entered the field, then headed towards the smaller buck, which was in my direction. I drew back my Hoyt while he was walking and as soon as he stopped, quartering to me at a little over 20 yards. I don’t recall touching the release but remember the sound of the arrow slicing through, it was what you want to hear. The Slick Trick tipped Carbon Express arrow passed completely through the shoulder and excited his opposite side. He was dead on his feet and piled up just out of sight maybe 80-100 yards away. Walking up to a big old buck like that is what we as American Hunters dream about! His symmetrical rack green scored slightly over 175″. My Sunfish buck is a keeper!

Hunt safe,

JT

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COMMENTS

2 Responses to “Early Season B&C at Sunfish Valley Whitetails”

  1. steve says:

    great work JT !!

  2. JT says:

    Thanks Steve, best of luck this season.

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