When it comes to taking bucks, it’s all about location.
They say there are three keys to hitting it big in real estate: location, location, location.
That’s often true of deer hunting as well, and it’s why so many articles talk about the importance of being mobile. Let’s face it: Whitetails seldom show up where we want them to.
Take, for example, the story of Big Frame, a Montana buck that was giving Jackie Bushman and cameraman Jimmy Little fits in 2011.
Actually, the buck was giving Jackie fits, and it was Jackie who was driving Jimmy crazy.
“Me and Bushman clash over stands a lot ... and I mean a LOT,” Jimmy said. “We each have our opinions about where to set up, and they’re seldom the same.”
They had been hunting Big Frame, so named by Jimmy because of the buck’s impressive spread, for almost two weeks, and they spent each evening debating whether or not to move.
“I had spotted that buck out in the barley before bow season and made a plan to set up on him,” Jimmy said. “But after watching him for almost two weeks from the stand with Jackie, I thought we needed to move. We saw him almost every day and even had him come right under the stand one evening, but it was too dark for filming. After watching him that many times, I knew we could take him, but not from that stand.”
Jackie had other ideas. “We’ll get him, Jimmy. Just be patient,” he told his cameraman each evening.
But after more than two weeks of close calls, Jackie left Montana for another hunt, and Big Frame had survived the gauntlet.
“I knew we could kill that buck,” Jimmy said, “and I even picked out the perfect tree from watching the film we had of him. So as soon as Jackie left, I put up another stand.”
Meanwhile, Joel Maxfield, vice president of marketing for Mathews, was still in camp. He had been hunting with cameraman Chris Chastain, and the two had also been seeing bucks, just not close enough to shoot.
“I was there for a weeklong hunt, and it was getting toward the end of it,” Joel said. “There was one we were hot after earlier in the week, an 8-pointer with stickers. And we saw another pretty good one that we put the move on a few times, but we just couldn’t put it together. When Jimmy asked if I wanted to try his new stand and see what Big Frame thought of a Mathews Z7 Extreme, I jumped at the chance.
“Jackie had given his blessing before he left, saying, ‘You guys need to stay on that deer,’ to which Jimmy replied he would already be dead if they had moved the stand. It was pretty humorous,” Joel added.
Jackie left the evening of Sept. 11, and Jimmy slept in the next morning. He hung the new stand around lunch time in the very tree he had picked out from the videos.
That evening, Joel and Chris snuck in to the new setup.
“We really had to be quiet,” Chris said. “It was really hot that week, and there was hardly any wind to move our scent or cover any sound. We were really pushing the limits and getting close to the bedding areas. When we climbed up in the new setup on the 12th, there were already deer moving around us.”
Joel climbed the ladder sticks and got settled, but Chris was still getting the camera set up when Joel spotted a buck directly in front of the stand.
“When we climbed in, I could already see a fawn and a forkhorn,” Joel said. “A few minutes later, I saw a racked buck. I couldn’t tell at first if it was a shooter, but it was heading our way.”
As the buck browsed its way toward the stand, tension mounted as Joel saw it was indeed Big Frame. The buck was following the script Jimmy had laid out to the letter.
Of course that’s when things always seem to go haywire.
“I wasn’t completely set, but I had the camera mounted and running,” Chris said. “We just needed Big Frame to stay on the trail he was using and he would come into the wide open at 20 yards.”
About that time, coyotes started to yelp just beyond the buck.
“I don’t know if they were in there after the fawn or what, but they sure got the buck’s attention,” Chris said.
Big Frame locked up and stood stock still, watching the coyotes for several minutes. Finally, he couldn’t take it any more, did an about-face and bounded toward the stand, but to Joel’s left. That put the tree between the buck and the camera.
“Man, it was crazy there for a while,” Chris said. “I was scrambling around, trying to get the camera around to the other side of the tree, while Big Frame was in the wide open for Joel. I had to call him off the buck once. I finally got the deer in the frame, and then he walked behind some branches.”
While cottonwood leaves obscured the buck from the camera, Joel had no problem seeing it. Just as Chris started to whisper for the hunter to hold off, Joel touched the trigger of his release and Big Frame dropped in his tracks.
While the arrow impact wasn’t captured on film, it was still an awesome hunt, and a great example of being in the right place at the right time.
Asked if Jackie is going to scout for him again in 2012, Joel replied, “I sure hope so. It worked out pretty good last year.”
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This article was published in the October 2012 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.