NAME: Mike Haydo
SADDLE GEAR: Tethrd Phantom, Predator Platform
Every year I travel from Wisconsin to go hunt in lower Michigan, for a 7-9 day hunt during the rut. This year I was on my 7th day of the hunt when I spotted this giant. The morning of 11-11-22 I was set up about 150 yards downwind of a known doe bedding area, and around 8:45 am I spotted a big buck bedded down with a doe. I watched this buck for about 2 hrs through my binoculars, and he would get up every so often to chase off smaller bucks, and then bed back down. I knew I needed to get closer but didn’t want to get too close. So I slipped out of the tree around noon that day and left all my gear in the tree so I could come back and see if he was still in the area that evening, sure enough that evening I was able to watch him again, until the doe got up before last light and they meandered their way out of my sight! So now was when my brain really started going bonkers with every thought imaginable of how I could set up and kill this buck in the morning. I called my brother that night, and told him what I had seen and that I wanted him to come along the next morning and do an all day sit, he told me that he didn’t wanna come along and screw it up for me. I said we will go in and get set up early, and just wait it out, whatever happens we will just experience it all together!
Those words I’ll never forget! The morning of 11/12/22 we pulled into the land at 4:30 am, loaded up our packs and started in. We snuck into about 30 yards down wind of where I saw the buck the previous day, perfect wind, all setup and waiting at 5:55 am. As the first light came, the deer started moving. I think we saw 18-20 deer before 9am, when my brother said to me “2 does coming in behind you, smaller buck behind them… Oh crap! BIG BUCK, BIG BUCK!!!!”
When I turned my head, I knew right away what buck it was. It was a doe and fawn, the fawn was hot and the big buck wouldn’t leave her side. She came in to 30 yards and bedded down, and he did the same. Meanwhile the big doe was working her way towards us, 20 yards then 15, 10 and now she’s standing at 5 yards. I told my brother if she keeps going another 5 yards she may get our wind. When we looked up, and saw another buck moving in on that fawn, she jumped up and ran 20 yards from us. The big buck stands up, and runs the smaller buck off, and starts moving his way towards the fawn. The fawn sees mom over by us, and runs right over, now both standing 5 yards from the base of our tree, and here he comes like he’s on a string! He gets to 18 yards, and stops quartering too just a bit and I let it rip! Smoked him!! He takes two big jumps towards the base of our tree, standing there for what seemed like forever.. probably only 20-30 seconds, starts getting weak in the legs and choking on blood. He walks out to 25 yards from the tree and falls over! Biggest buck of my life and couldn’t be happier with the way this hunt played out!
Gross scored him at 174 1/2 and he weighed 192 lbs field dressed.