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Illinois hunting and fishing

Tales from the Timber: Capt. Hook

December 15, 2009 at 10:19 PM

The quest for Captain Hook began last year when I “hooked” up one friend with another. No I am not a dating co-insurer; I am talking about a hunter and a landowner. 

A friend of mine, Jason, was looking for a good place to hunt that would be close enough that he could hunt before and after work, so I introduced him to another friend and local farm family.  They hit it off from the start and agreed upon a set lease for the year.  The farm consists of several rolling crop fields, pasture ground, a creek, fence rows, and small timber patches.  The ground is surrounded by larger woods and several more set-aside acres. 

Jason scouted the area and put up several stands in various locations to accommodate deer movement and wind direction.  I had the privilege of hunting with him one time last year.  I set up my climber along a heavy creek crossing, while Jason ventured on south into a small grassy meadow.  He called the area his honey hole, because he had placed a scouting camera near his stand and had captured two mature Pope and Young Bucks traveling through the area at night. 

Most of the pictures were from 12–2 a.m. leaving Jason with buck fever and a glimmer of hope that one of the brutes would wonder into shooting range in daylight hours.  We saw a variety of does that evening, but no monster bucks.

Soon after that hunt I visited Jason and he showed me the impressive photos of the bucks.  The first buck they nicknamed Medusa because it had a multitude of points in every direction possible.  He was very massive and looked to be pretty wide.  The second buck was a heavy body deer with equally impressive mass and a strange upward hook off his right G2, leaving him the nickname of Captain Hook. 

The large standing corn field south of the stand seemed to be the location of choice for these bruisers during the day, because Jason hunted in this stand anytime the wind was right, but never got even a glimpse of the real deal.  Jason and a couple of his other friends were able to put meat in the freezer via 4 does that were killed off the property in 2008.  So the dreams of Captain Hook slowly faded after the 2008 bow season was over. 

So this brings us to the 2009 season; Jason decided not to lease the property again this year, because he had several other places he could hunt for free.  So besides a couple of family members spending a little time in the woods, this 500+ acre property set idle for most of this year.  I only get to hunt a few days a year, due to a busy work schedule and three young kids at home, so I try to pick my days in the woods very carefully.  I usually shoot for the 5-6 days before the first shotgun season, because I only bow hunt. 

This time of the year seams to be the best opportunity for me to fill my freezer and possibly get a wall hanger thanks to the rut.  My first day out in the stand was Monday, Nov. 16th.  I went back to my family’s farm and hunted with my brother most of the day.  This property usually produces some high-quality bucks, but the standing corn in the area interfered with any encounters with big whitetail that day. 

On the way home that night, I decided to call my landowner friend and see if I could possibly hunt on his property the rest of that week.  He was glad to accommodate my request and said he would meet me at the farm the next day.  At about 12:30 I pulled up to the farm, where he was waiting on me.  I followed him through a locked gate and across a couple of field roads.  I mentioned to him that I would like to hunt near the grassy meadow where the night pictures were taken, so he led me toward that area. 

It had rained about two inches the night before; leaving the creek too deep to cross.  This caused me to add about one-quarter mile onto my trek to the meadow.  Once I got to the edge of the grassy area, I sat my climber and other gear down and ventured around the area for a closer look.  Several rubs and tracks surrounded the meadow, leaving no doubt that this could be a hotspot for deer and big bucks. 

I found a tall ash tree that was about 30 yards from the south edge of the property and 35 yards east of the creek.  The tree leaned slightly to the southwest allowing me sit comfortably facing the northeast at about 26 feet above the ground.  By the time I was finally situated in the tree and ready to settle in for a great afternoon hunt it was already 2:30 p.m.  I spanned the area visualizing where the bucks would be coming from.  I had a clear shooting path to most of the one-acre grassy meadow that contained a number of ash trees. 

I could see one-half mile to the south overlooking a harvested bean field and 100 yards to the north and east which consisted of corn stalks.  I couldn’t see anything passed the creek on the west side, it was thick brushy mess, but I could shoot all the way to the creek without any obstructions. 

At 2:50 p.m., I was sitting comfortably in my stand, when my phone started buzzing.  Randy, another friend of mine was checking to see where I was hunting at.  In his last text, he said I will pray for a successful hunt and your safety.  I was very appreciative of that but had no idea what was about to happen. 

I just glanced at my watch, which was exactly 3 p.m., when I heard cracking leaves to the southwest.  I slowly twisted to the right side of the tree and looked in the direction of the noise, when I saw a huge set of antlers coming my way.  I knew that this was either Medusa or Captain Hook.

Sitting on the northeast side of the tree, allowed me to stand up undetected.  I reached for my Hoyt bow noticing that the buck had just jumped the fence on the south end of the property only 30 yards away.  I quickly attached my release and drew back.  The large buck graciously stopped 27 yards west of my stand broadside.  As he sniffed the ground I said a little prayer of my own and released my carbon arrow.

The buck jumped and darted off as soon as the Rage 3-blade broadhead pierced his right chest.  In a few seconds the woods became instantly quiet.  I could no longer hear breaking branches or splashing water.  The only noise came from my over zealous pump fist and thanks to God.  While properly waiting 30 minutes to track my trophy, I must have called a least a dozen people sharing my excitement; including Randy to thank him for the prayer and Jason for directing me to his honey hole. 

Before I climbed down I glanced toward the area the massive deer exited the scene.  Blood was very visible from my tree, so beginning my search was pretty easy.  The creek bank was covered with bright red blood for about 20 yards.  The deer finally climbed the rest of the way up the creek and collapsed 10 yards further. 

Wow what a deer.  It was definitely Captain Hook, he had grown a matching hook on his left side, added mass, and grew 4 more points.  His body was almost as impressive as his well crafted antlers.  It was huge. 

I tried lugging Captain Hook toward the creek, but I realized this was a hopeless endeavor.  I called Jason, Randy, and another friend to help me get him out.  It took all four of us to get him across the creek to the 4-wheeler. 

He weighed 240 poundsfield dressed, green scored 188 1/8, and had 14 points.  His first three circumference measurements were nearly 6 inches.  Hopefully the tale of Captain Hook will linger for many years to come, especially through his offspring. 

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

awesome adult animal!!!!!! Congrats!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 09:39 AM

Yes - very nice buck!  You forgot to mention what brand of camo you were wearing and the name of the company who makes the climber stand you used . . . !!!  grin Just kidding you and enjoy your trophy!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 10:12 AM

I was just letting everyone know there is other bows out there besides Mathews. Ha Ha I forgot to mention that the wound on the left shoulder of the animal was from another hunter who used a muzzy 3-blade.  The broken arrow and broadhead was still in his chest with no real damage.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 10:28 AM

The rage would have been stuck in the same spot as the muzzy without killing the deer too.  No broadhead works if you hit solid bone.  A well placed sharp broadhead kills deer, I dont care what brand you use.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 02:46 PM

+1 mgrt67

Muzzy hasn’t changed their design in HOW MANY YEARS???  If they are so terrible, why haven’t they changed ANYTHING in so long?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 03:29 PM

I agree.  Muzzy has always made a quality product.  I used to shoot Muzzy’s and Thunderheads in the past.  Both knock down deer when you hit the vitals. I don’t think the Muzzy hit bone, it wasn’t damaged at all, just loose in his chest cavity.  The Rage went through his right lung and stuck in his heart, so I guess any broadhead would have killed him.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 03:53 PM

I’ve killed a lot of deer with a muzzy.  Never have I seen a blood trail like I get with a Rage 2 blades.  Any sharp rock can kill a deer if you hit it right.  Tracking with a rage is why I will never switch.  Awesome deer, the character is fantastic and nothing beats a big main frame 8. Congrats

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 06:00 PM

If you have an interest, search for Ed Ashby’s report on arrow lethality.  You may think twice about broadhead choice , arrow weight and FOC.  I am going to expirement with his findings myself next season, budget permitting.  I was piqued by the success of non-mechanical two blade broadheads going through bone (even a shoulder blade.)  Of course the arrow weight is almost double the current weights the speed shooters use.  I think that report also said, any broadhead shot in the boiler room is effective.  Its the poor locations that you worry about.  Since the slowest deer is quicker than the fastest arrow, impact location will vary even for the best shooter.  You need success on the poor hits.

I am not a fan of Muzzy’s yet nor any O ring types.  Two times this season, a shot on the ribs ended up with blade edges that is rolled over.  I do not think the thin aluminum is durable for contact with any bone.  Also in play were carbon arrows.  From all calculations I am at the bottom of the charts for arrow weight.  I am not trying to be a speed demon but do like the flatter flight.  Not so sure I need the speed over the arrow weight in my shooting comfort range.

Perhaps this deer was hit by an arrow being shot too far.  The momementum not being adequate for the distance.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 08:07 PM

yeah great job and way to tell ur life story no one cares jst tell us about the day it happend dont care bout last year and all of this year

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 09:04 PM

buck look sweet, story does look long though…
is it worth the read?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 09:07 PM

I forgot to mention… awesome buck.  It’s cool he’s got dual hooks and the tips of his beams cross.  I do have a friend who uses the Rage 2 blade and won’t shoot anything else.  I’ve used 4 different styles of broadhead (Cut on contact w/ bleeders, expandables, one piece cut on contact, and Muzzys) and personally I prefer the Muzzy 100gr.  All the others I’ve used did not shatter bone the way Muzzy’s do.  It’s basically personal preference and what you’re comfortable with.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/17 at 07:55 AM

forget all of this the elitist junk ! hes a hawg man ! congrats on a deer of a lifetime!! great story good things happen to those who wait,once in awhile even loosers like me see deer like that, and then i miss ,please have youre bud pray for me?!

Posted by trolloni on 12/18 at 07:42 PM

Wow, great deer and memories to boot.  Don’t let the negative comments from some of us take away from that.  I noticed that some have commented that a muzzy broadhead was found in the deer after being shot by a rage broadhead.  Is this the case?  I am considering a change from mechanicals to fixed blade.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/20 at 01:47 PM

Thanks!!!  Yes, I did find an 8” piece of arrow and a muzzy 3-blade in the chest cavity.  I noticed a wound on the left shoulder and thought he scraped it on something as he crashed, but as I was field dressing him I found the arrow.  I don’t know what happened, the shot placement wasn’t terrible; above his shoulder.  I guess it didn’t hit any vitals and the wound was up high so I suppose there was very little blood.  All I know is the rage did the job and for the 40 yards that he traveled, blood was everywhere.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/21 at 08:59 AM

If the picture above is the previous wound, I don’t think the location was great.  With all the shoulder blade stuff up there, was he lame?  I would say that impact is closer to terrible than good, imho.  An arrow loses energy the further it goes.  A buck like that may entice some to shoot too far.  That’s just my guess.

You did get an awesome deer.  I have seen more pics lately of racks with those type hooks.  Thanks for sharing and further comments.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/21 at 10:11 AM

No he wasn’t limping at all.  The meat processor said all the meat around the rib cage was torn up, probably from the free floating razor blades in his chest. When I took him to the taxidermist, we noticed another interesting mark.  He had a straight cut on his nose and another on his upper lip.  Looked like it was from a 3-blade broadhead.  We opened up his mouth and there was 4 inches of bone showing because the skin was disconnected.  Our “assumption” was that whoever shot him in the shoulder tracked him and walked up on him.  The deer probably raised its head up and the hunter shot towards his neck and instead hit his upper lip.  Poor buck had been through alot, but no signs of lameness at all.

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