Rack Magazine

The Coffee-stained Buck

The Coffee-stained Buck

By Darren Warner

Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.

The moment Tony Losey looked out of his popup blind’s window and saw something other than raindrops, he forgot he was holding a bag of pistachios. Or maybe he just lost his grip.

One moment, the Belleville, Mich.,  hunter was sitting in his dry dome, enjoying his snack. The next, nuts were flying everywhere while he stared in disbelief at the northwest corner of the poplar woods he was facing.

Not that he really needed to, since he was hunting with a shotgun that day, but Tony put his rangefinder on the deer anyway and immediately saw that one side of the rack sported at least five points. The buck stood motionless for a moment, and then turned its head toward Tony.

Seeing that much bone on a deer’s head almost made him drop the rangefinder, too.

Tony had already had a fantastic season. A week earlier, he shot an opening-day 12-pointer that most hunters would’ve gladly taken to a taxidermist.

As is his custom, he took a week’s vacation in order to hunt the entire first week of Michigan’s 2013 firearms season. Unlike previous years, however, he set his sights on hunting unfamiliar ground in Washtenaw County, a parcel owned by a non-hunting neighbor.

A few weeks before opening day, Tony approached the man and asked if he could hunt his land.

“I asked if he had any property that I could deer hunt,” Tony said. “He said he’d had venison once and liked it, so I could hunt his property if I’d give him some venison and shoot any coyotes I saw.”

While 90 percent of the land is open fields, there are small pockets of poplar, pine and maple forests. In addition, there’s an old apple orchard that draws deer from across the road.

Tony erected his blind 50 yards from the apple trees, so most deer would have to walk past him to get to the dinner table.

On Nov. 22, Tony woke up and checked the weather forecast, which called for drizzling rain in the morning and heavier showers in the afternoon. He almost stayed home.

“I thought about going to work,” he said. “But I’d already requested the time off, so I decided to go hunting.”

Tony crawled into his popup 45 minutes before daybreak. As darkness started to recede westward, raindrops began pitter-pattering the blind. The rain grew so fierce, at times, Tony wondered how long he’d be able to stay dry.

By midmorning, Tony was weary of scanning the terrain. Ready for a break, he pulled out a small bag of pistachios. The rain drowned out the cracking sounds.

Despite the fact that an average adult whitetail stands 3 1/2 feet tall and can weigh up to 300 pounds, the animals have a knack for appearing out of nowhere. It’s why hunters often give bucks monikers like The Ghost, Houdini and Magic.

Poof, they’re standing in front of you. And that’s exactly what happened on that rainy day.

The Coffee-stained BuckWhen Tony saw it, his hands shook. His grip on the rangefinder wasn’t much better than his hold on the bag of nuts, which he’d spilled.

The instrument might’ve showed 90 yards, but Tony was so stricken by buck fever that he can’t remember exactly.

That it was definitely a shooter was all he needed to know to lift his shotgun and ease the barrel out the blind’s window.

After pulling the trigger, Tony was initially convinced he’d missed. The deer ran like its tail was on fire.

Within seconds, it crossed the wide field in front of Tony and then abruptly stopped, looked around and fell over dead.

Tony didn’t bother to unzip the door and exit the traditional way. He tossed the blind off, ran over to the deer, and then called the landowner.

He was still shaking when the landowner arrived, so much that he spilled coffee on himself and the buck.

After field-dressing it, Tony took his deer to a nearby sporting goods store to have it weighed. Although the buck looked as if it had been rutting hard, it still tipped the scales at 178 pounds.

“Deer usually have a little fat on them, but this one didn’t,” he said.

Hunter: Tony Losey
BTR Score: 204 4/8”
Shotgun
Irregular

– Photos by Darren Warner

This article was published in the November 2014 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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