Reader Success Story | Travis Glassman

2 Nov

It was a hot August day in 2014.  My wife and I were making our rounds to our tucked away trail camera hot spots when she nudged me with that excited grin on her face.  You know what I mean!  That grin you can’t hold back when you see that magnificent whitetail on your trail camera for the first time!   She hesitantly turned the laptop toward me so I could catch a glimpse as I was driving.  Trying to keep from wrecking the truck, I instantly had a mini adrenaline dump when I saw the large ten point frame.   Who was he?  How had this buck not been on my radar in previous years?

I knew the first thing we had to do is give this big boy a name, as I do all of my other “hit list” bucks.  It was simple, “The Big Ten”!  He was a perfect ten pointer with a small kicker off of his left G2.  I quickly aged the buck at 4 ½ years old and I estimated his rack to score in the low to mid 160’s.  My wife and I usually classify any bucks 4 years or older as “shooters”.  We are fully aware that a buck reaches his maximum antler potential at 5-7 years of age, but it is often difficult to have the discipline to pass a 4-year-old buck with our hunting circumstances.  We decided to place “The Big Ten” at the top of our hit list even though we knew that there would be other bucks that we would be happy to take.

 

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After many days and nights of dreaming about getting a crack at the big ten pointer, opening day was finally here.  In Kansas, “opening archery season” falls on the same day as the muzzleloader opener.  So, I dressed in hunter orange and headed to my tree stand in hopes of getting an eye on the buck.  I felt that I was in a great spot to observe the area.  I knew there was little chance of getting a shot because I was getting pictures of the buck consistently after dark.  I was hoping to slip in, gather the information I needed, and slip out undetected.  I would then plan to move in closer to his bedding area if the right conditions occurred.

Unfortunately, I never was able to lay eyes on the buck during daylight hours, and I didn’t want to speculate where he was spending his time during daylight.  The trail camera pictures quickly went from consistent to sporadic with zero daytime photos.  Early November rolled around and I was excited to hunt the pre-rut phase in hopes of rattling this big boy in.  I waited for a windy day and snuck in to check my trail camera.  I was devastated with the results when I scrolled through the pictures.  “The Big Ten” had broken his left main beam and I immediately removed him from the hit list.  All of the time and effort put in to this particular buck, now had to be set aside.  I was fortunate enough to fill my 2014 tag on a nice mule deer in mid-November.

As the 2014 rut was winding down, my wife and I headed out to try to fill her tag.  We decided to get in the stand on a cold, late-November afternoon.  We decided to go into a pinch point in a creek bottom that was surrounded by corn, in hopes of getting a crack at any mature buck that would present a shot.  Low and behold, “The Big Ten” marched in to only 15 yards away.  My wife looked up at me as I was filming the half-racked buck, in hopes that I would give her the “green light”.  I whispered “NO!  Don’t Shoot!”  She was crushed, but I knew that it was a perfect opportunity to let this buck have a chance to reach his five year old potential.

The 2014 season came to a close and I was not able to verify the buck had made it through.  No more trail photos.  No shed antlers found.   Fast-forward to July, 2015.  I still had no evidence of “The Big Ten”.  I decided it was time to spread out several cameras in likely travel corridors within a mile of where he was summering in 2014.  A couple of weeks passed and it was time to pull memory-cards and inventory the deer in the area.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I’m sure the look on my face was priceless when I saw that “The Big Ten” was back and bigger than ever!  This buck had blown into an upper 180’s beast.  He gained extra G3 kickers off of both sides and still had his left G2 kicker.  I immediately had to rename the buck, knowing the generic name “The Big Ten” no longer fit the bill.  The name “Big Louie” was a much better fit!

I was able to get consistent trail photos of this buck as he was leaving the standing cane field where he was bedding.  He occasionally worked through a cedar thicket as he made his way to a water hole.  I waited for the aggressive north wind that I needed to conceal my movement, and I hung a tree stand in the thicket he was passing through.  Opening day finally came, but I unfortunately had to wait a few days until the wind shifted out of the north.  I finally got the desired wind and slipped in to my stand well before sunset.  As I was glassing the feed field, eagerly waiting for any glimpse of the impressive rack, I finally caught some movement.  There he was!  Two hundred yards north of me, but he was headed west and not south toward my location.  I quickly realized that he wasn’t heading to water every evening.  He was headed to a freshly picked corn field a half a mile west.  I quickly got my video camera on the buck to capture what footage I could.  I took note of the exact spot that he had exited the tall cane field and I quietly slipped out the back of the thicket with high hopes of capitalizing on the information I had gained.  I initially set up this tree stand as an observation stand and boy did it pay off!

The following evening, I decided to set up on the downwind side of the trail that “Big Louie” had exited the field on the prior evening.  I tucked my way back into a hole on the edge of the standing cane field and waited with high anticipation.  Suddenly, something caught my eye to my north.  “Big Louie” was exiting his bedding area 120 yards to my north.  My heart sank!  I quickly brought up my video camera again for some bonus footage as he headed into the beautiful sunset for his corn feast.  On night three, I decided to head right for the downwind side of his new exit trail.  I waited excitedly, playing the anticipated scenario over and over in my head, but with no luck.  After checking my nearest trail camera the following afternoon, I realized he had taken his alternate route to get his fill of water that evening.

I decided to head out the very next afternoon, again in high hopes, because there was a very good chance that “Big Louie” could be back on his pattern to corn.  I set up in the same man-made blind as the night before only 25 yards north of his suspected travel path.  The hot sun finally vanished in the western horizon and I knew this was the trigger that usually got the buck up and headed on his evening journey.  I grabbed my bow out of its holder and prepared, as much as I could, for the shot.  Light was fading quickly, and my hopes were dwindling.  All of the sudden, I looked to my south and he appeared!  He exited 100 yards to my south, but luckily I had the wind in my favor and he was quartering in my direction.  I reached for my rangefinder and slowly lifted it.  I started to scan distances as he walked cautiously with the wind at his back!  Finally, he stopped to check his surroundings and stood perfectly broadside at 60 yards.  I knew this was my only opportunity, at least for this evening.  I slowly drew my bow, settled my pin, and squeezed ever so slightly!  The bow fired but I was so concentrated on making a good shot that I didn’t see my arrow in flight.  I heard that highly desired thud of the broad head smacking a chest cavity!  The buck dug in and ran as fast as he could as if he didn’t know what had hit him.  He disappeared over a rise in the field and ran straight into the beautiful pink sky.  I quietly gathered my gear and sat patiently until dark.  After analyzing the scene, I couldn’t find any blood, or my arrow.  I decided to back out and take up the trail in the morning when I had good light.

The following morning, my wife Kendra, and my son Hunter joined me as I took up the blood trail.  Unfortunately, there was very little blood, so we had to pretty much rely on running tracks to lead us in the right direction.  I decided to send Kendra and Hunter ahead in the ATV as I slowly looked for blood and tracks.  I was on my hands and knees staring at the bare ground, just trying to find that next piece of sign when Hunter yelled, “Daddy we found your deer!”  I looked up in disbelief, but quickly realized that they had stopped and were already looking at “Big Louie”!  I sprinted out across the freshly picked corn field and joined my amazing team of trackers.

 

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What a huge relief it was!  I had finally succeeded in harvesting a highly targeted buck.  I had so many tough breaks in the past as many bow hunters do.  All of the broken hearts leading up to this moment, made it that much sweeter!  I am so thankful to have the loving support from my wife, children, and family to allow me to participate in this great sport of bow hunting.  This is definitely a moment that I will never forget!  Big Louie’s rack measured an amazing 188 5/8” gross score.  I want to thank “The Nine Finger Chronicles”, and “Wired to Hunt” for their awesome tips, stories, and strategies.  I have gained an abundance of helpful knowledge that I have used to improve my bow hunting skills!

2 Responses to “Reader Success Story | Travis Glassman”

  1. Larry November 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    Awesome Buck Travis. Great story with the best kind of ending. Way to go!

  2. Travis Glassman November 2, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    Thank You Larry!

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