Fort Knox Holds More Than Just Guns and Gold!
Justin Corn hunts like there’s no tomorrow.
The 24-year-old knows all about uncertainties. He joined the army after graduating high school in Clanton, Ala. He was in Iraq from 2007 through 2009, and he spent five months in Afghanistan last year before winding up at Fort Knox near Elizabethtown, Ky. Plus, he’ll probably move again before the year ends.
“I get out there as much as I can because ya never know,” he said.
Even so, while Justin might like to become George of the Jungle during the entire deer season, he’s learned the hazards of spending entire days afield on the base before the first big frost: The drug stores where he lives don’t stock enough anti-itch medicines.
That’s why he didn’t go out at the break of dawn on Sept. 18, 2011. He waited until almost 2 p.m. to suit up in his lightweight, leafy camo and take his bow to the woods.
“It was 83 degrees and humid,” he remembers. “The turkey mites (seed ticks), which is what the locals call them, are terrible when it’s like that. They’re more like chiggers than ticks; they leave welts. And the mosquitoes are pretty bad, too.”
Spending three or four hours as a food plot for insects wasn’t as bad as offering them an all-you-can-eat buffet from sunup ‘til sundown, he reasoned. Besides, he wanted to fill his freezer long before concentrating on antlers. And for that, in his book, early is better than later.
“I like to get my meat deer — my doe — as soon as possible,” he said.
Justin struck out with nothing but his bow in hand. He prefers to hunt from the ground, to screw an EZ hanger into and stand next to a tree with his bow within reach.
“I like being at eye level with deer,” he said. “That’s the way I practice, so that’s the way I hunt.”
In addition to being loaded for doe, so to speak, Justin was also getting to know the place. He spent the first couple of hours scouting.
One of the first interesting things he found was a dry creek bed practically paved with white oak acorns. Most of the tracks in the vicinity were small and apparently belonged to does and fawns. But there was one track left by a heavy buck on the nearby logging road.
Justin pressed onward, but he returned to the acorn-studded creek around 4 p.m. and set up shop at a double-trunked tree 40 yards from it.
Thirty minutes before dark, a big doe sliced through the briars and autumn olives in a nearby hardwood thicket to step into the creek. Justin would’ve taken a poke at her, but another deer was following, and he wanted a look at it.
The doe fed for two or three minutes, and then meandered down the creek and out of sight, while Justin’s gaze was riveted to the thicket. The first indication that the second deer was a buck was the drop tine.
“All I saw, at first, was a tennis ball-sized black ball,” Justin said. “That was the dried velvet at the bottom of the drop tine.”
When it stepped clear of the brambles, the 218-pound buck was quartering toward Justin at 40 yards. As it passed behind a tree, Justin drew, and then he leaned out ever so slowly from behind his own tree and took the shot.
All but 3 inches of the arrow sank into the buck where its neck met shoulder.
The deer ran about 35 yards before gravity yanked its wobbly feet out from under it, which prompted Justin to start fist-pumping.
“That’s the most excited I’ve ever been,” he said. “I was so shook up, I counted 41 points the first time I tried. That was counting many of them two or three times.”
Justin called his buddy after he settled on 33 points. Fifteen minutes later, he was at Justin’s side, admiring the buck that nobody has stepped forward and claimed to have seen on the base, despite the large number of hunters who prowl it. That’s incredible, too, since the buck was aged at 5 1/2 years old, and it never dropped its antlers or shed the velvet.
“I get mixed reactions whenever someone sees my buck,” he said. “Some people say it’s the ugliest thing they ever saw. Others are a little envious, considering it a real buck of a lifetime. But everyone congratulates me.”
Hunter: Justin Corn
BTR Official Score: 180 5/8
BTR Composite Score: 180 5/8
— Photos Courtesy of Justin Corn This article was published in the September 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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