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Whitetail Hunt with Sunfish Valley by Charlie Prober Jr.

November 20, 2012 by  
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My friends and I were lucky enough to experience a great whitetail hunt close to home!  The hunt, the accommodations and meals were well worth our anticipated wait. This trip was a great experience and will be talked about for years to come.

The preparation to the hunt started when my wife and I and a close friend Scott and his wife made the trip from Western New York to Harrisburg, PA to attend the outdoor show in February 2012. We visited the booth of Sunfish Valley Whitetails from Latham, Ohio along with many other outfitters at the event. Sunfish was somewhat new to the game but after reading about them online and listening to owners Matt and Brock Brewster not only at the booth but over the phone it was game on. My two close friends, Scott and Joe, and I each have 20+ years of hunting knowledge and success, were booked the opening week of the 2012 Ohio Archery season.

We arrived in Latham Ohio on Friday September 28th with good hopes of taking a Pope & Young whitetail. The odds were a little against us with a full moon and above normal temperatures going to affect the 5 day hunt.

Opening morning came with our guide Heath directing me up towards a ridge top stand location the terrain flattened out and where it was raining white and red acorns as if someone was shaking the tress above. Movement was early, seeing two young bucks making there way from the bottoms to the tops of the ridges to bed for the day. That evening with the full moon heavily present and warm temps, I saw nothing when hunting a dry creek bottom that made its way next to a standing corn field that had bedding on both sides.

The next morning arrived where I hiked up a steep ridge then down over into a funnel area where once again white oak acorns were abundant to say the least. All around the stand acorns where dropping to a point where is sounded like I was dropping golf balls from 40 feet. Back behind the stand was the direction where there was a clear cut a few years back and now over the years it had turned into what looks like a prime area for deer to bed. Around 7:35am I looked back towards the once clear cut which was on the downwind side and at 35 yards a 3 year old eight point was making his way towards the stand on an access trail. I felt confident because of strict sent control practices, like Scent Blocker clothing, Scent A-Way spray and one of my long time favorites cover-up sent Essence of Fall made right in Cuba New York that I would not get detected. I grabbed my Mathews bow which was ready with a two blade, 100 grain Rage broadhead, attached to an Easton Axis arrow and 66 pounds of draw weight. The 130 inch main frame eight point with 5 ¼ inch bases was there for one reason and that was for great mass crop to put on weight before the rut arrived. The deer was really focused on eating and making a shot seemed like it took forever. Two different times I drew back with anticipations of him taking another step which would have placed him with a good broadside shot. Finally the buck walks over a down tree, turns right at 25 yards facing broadside and I give him my best soft grunt sound. He stops and I place my top pin what I thought was just behind his front right leg anchoring for a heart shot. Little did I realize the deer’s leg was back and not forward placing the shot back farther than I would have liked. The arrow was a clean pass-through and the buck went 60 yards from impact and just stood there swaying back and forth just slightly. I then picked up my Nikon’s and could see that he had two good holes entering and exiting. After a few minutes I watched the buck walk just out of sight thinking he was heading for the thicket to bed down. I decided it was time to get down and inspected the arrow. First sight of the arrow I could see traces of digestive tissue. It also had yellowish green color to the end of the arrow with some spots of blood towards the end of the shaft. I then backed out and gave the deer a long 7 hour wait. After the long wait, my guide Heath and I along with Matt Brewster part owner of Sunfish started the track from where I saw the deer last.  When we first started we could see dark blood indicating the liver was hit also. I walked maybe 20 feet and could see white belly and rack. My first out of state hunt was a success and from the looks of the deer it was dead when I walked out of the woods that morning.

Seeing that my hunt was over within three sits, I was really hoping that my two close friends would find themselves placing there tag on mature Ohio whitetail. With tagging out early the rest of my days were watching the clock, cleaning up and waiting to hear how Joe and Scott did on stand. During our week in camp we also stayed two doors down from David Blanton of Realtree and his camera man Phillip Culpepper Jr. It was with great pleasure meeting someone like David who I watched on TV growing up and still watch to this day.

I can’t thank everyone at Sunfish Valley Whitetails enough for such a great first time out of state hunt. Special thanks to my guide Heath, owners Matt and Brock and cook/ do it all handymen Roger Lambert and his wife for cooking such great meals. One thing that stands out about the hunt was meeting a great people like Roger.  I met up with Roger to give him a hand on the last day to kill time before we left and to also help him start a new deck for one of the local campers, not realizing I would have met a great person and a hardworking individual.

This was a hunt for whitetails that I will never forget. Killing the buck was icing on the cake but from the start of the hunt to the end it was a great experience.  I wouldn’t hesitate for one second on returning again for another awesome experience!

Charlie Prober Jr.

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