2019 #2 – Ricky Kohler

by | Sep 18, 2020 | 2019 Tethrd Ten


SADDLE GEAR: Mantis Saddle, Predator Platform, Hawk Helium Sticks w/amsteel daisychains
LOCATION: Minnesota

The story of my buck actually started almost 1 year ago to the date.

I was hunting in the same area and passed him 15 minutes before I arrowed my target buck, a 5.5 yr. 9 point. I had this buck at 20 yds and almost picked up my bow because he got my adrenaline going. However, I knew he was little younger, and I had already set my mind on the older buck as my target. Two weeks later my Dad missed this buck at 28 yds shooting right under him and after that we didn’t see him on the hoof the rest of the season.

Fast forward to summer of 2019 and I was perched on a hill about 500 yds from an alfalfa food source with my Vortex spotting scope watching to see what type of deer would be entering the field. It was a gorgeous evening and the deer were moving early and wouldn’t you know it he showed up. I was impressed with his character and tall brow tines and I decided at that moment this was the buck I would go after. That next week (Mid July) I set a cell camera on a waterhole I had made to see if could get some pics of him and then pretty much stayed out of the area until the day I went in to kill him.

I made it back to my vantage point on the hill about 6 more times including the 3 evenings prior to opener. I was fortunate to see him often and get some great pictures of him through the spotting scope. I determined where his preferred bedding area was, and I paid attention to how he entered the field based on wind direction. After seeing how he was entering the field I thought I may have a good shot at ambushing him.

On opening day around 2:00 pm I walked into the area near the field I believed he would pass going off my observations from the previous weeks. I made sure to make a 90 degree turn from the alfalfa field and go straight into the spot to prevent as many deer as possible from crossing my ground scent. I went in real early at 2:00 pm in hopes my ground scent would dissipate before most of the deer started moving closer to 6:00 pm that evening. I walked into the staging area and stopped and surveyed all the trees that I could potentially hunt from. I didn’t have any trees trimmed out and I was going in 100% run and gun.

I picked a tree that I thought gave me the best odds of killing him, but I didn’t like the back cover and I ran through all the scenarios and there was just too high of a probability that one of the many deer that would be by could pick me off and blow my hunt before the buck ever made an appearance. I instead decided to take a slightly more conservative approach and pick a tree with split trunks about 30 yds off where I assumed the buck would come through. I figured if he comes by upwind and out of shooting range, I could always use that Intel to make a move the next day which was a chance I was willing to take vs. the alternative which would be setting up in a tree that I may be spotted in.

After determining the tree I was going to hunt I headed to it and climbed up using my knaider and modified helium sticks. I set up my predator platform so I could shoot to the presumed trail on my strong side and I got everything setup.

The deer started moving early and doe after doe slipped by on their way to the field. Small bucks and even a few pretty good ones came by less than 30 yds from my tree. My confidence was high with all the movement that he would be moving tonight. At 6:30 I heard a stick break, adjusted In my saddle and grabbed my bow to see what was coming. A doe emerged and came through on the 30 yd. trail that I had assumed my buck may take. After she passed, I saw another deer materialize out of the cover and saw that it was my target buck. I buried my knee into the tree and steadied my position to shoot to my strong side. I dialed my sight to 30 and when he entered my shooting lane I “murped” at him to get him to stop. I release my arrow and connected and he vanished into the cover seconds after the shot. I gave him an hour and then got down and began tracking with a buddy. After a 100 yds bloodtrail lay my #1 target buck. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]