Whenever a deer is “in broad daylight,” it’s time to take a walk in their underwear.
Cody Cutler’s family own 1,100 acres near Fort Scott, Kansas. Part of the area is devoted to row crops and another part is reserved for beef cattle. Two uncultivated plots – 110 and 160 acres – are however closed to livestock and teeming with deer.
“My friends and I are trying to manage the deer for optimal antler growth and herd health,” Cody said. “We have feeders on both sections and use some surveillance cameras. “
Cody’s friend Travis Bland dropped by on November 14, 2015. It was hot, 65 degrees, and the wind was bad for hunting that day. Still, the pair decided to step outside to remove camera cards and to retrieve Cody’s bow and other gear he had left in his booth overnight.
After picking up everything, they went home.
When they started looking at the footage on a trail camera memory card, they came across one of a deer with a forked P2 that was caught that morning. They knew the male and were delighted to see him on foot as the sun was overhead.
“After talking, we decided it was time to go out and see if we could put a label on that money,” Cody said. “He appeared to be locked in with a doe that we saw in the trail camera photos, so we expected him to be seriously distracted.
“After a quick shower, I came out with only my underwear and tennis shoes on and rubbed my body and hunting clothes with cedar,” he continued. “Then I drove to the place, parked and – still in my underwear – walked to my stand. “
About 80 yards from his tree, Cody put on his Scent-Lok clothes. He was in the air at 2:30 am and was watching a deer in just 15 minutes.
Shortly thereafter, a 130 to 140 inch 8 pointers arrived for food. However, he was as nervous as he was hungry and he continued to look east.
“I was wondering what I was hearing or seeing that I wasn’t able to see,” Cody said. “Everywhere in that direction there were a lot of cedars and honeysuckle. I strained my eyes trying to see what might be inside the thicket.
“Eventually I saw a deer jump over the fence about 200 yards,” he continued. “It was a doe, and it was walking towards me. Then another deer jumped over the fence and stood looking around. When he turned his head I saw the long teeth and recognized the male in the trail camera photo.
“The two deer approached, traveling from east to west, slowly. At 55 meters, they stopped and I shot my bow. I couldn’t shoot, however, I had to let it go.
“When I did, they ran away. They went further to my west, circled and came back very quickly. I quickly stood up and fired my bow as they walked through my shooting lane. I didn’t even think about trying to stop this male, ”he said.
The deer, by this time, had entered a brushy area. The male obviously went where the doe led him. And they weren’t alone in the thicket.
“I had never heard so much deer noise, growls and roars,” Cody said. “It was just crazy! There were seven different males chasing a hot doe. They were chasing her away from me.
Several minutes after the deer train headed north, Cody saw another lone deer coming south, following a forest path leading straight towards him. He soon realized that it was the hot doe, as the buck with the split P2 was only seconds behind her.
“She went through an opening 55 yards, making another circle,” Cody said. “During this time, the little 8 pointers reappeared, and the big one ran away before setting off again on the trail of the doe.
“I wasn’t sure the male could see me. I was in a little cedar tree that moved a bit each time I stood or sat, ”he continued. “I was drawing while sitting.
“As I raised my bow, the male was obscured by the branch that I had failed to cut. The whole time that I hunted from this tree, I had intended to cut this branch and I never did, ”he said.
“I have become ballistic. I had to calm myself down again, and when I did, the male’s head lifted and he looked straight in my direction. I don’t think he actually saw me, just an unfamiliar movement.
“I almost panicked, but I kind of controlled my emotions, moved my feet to the left side of my stand and slowly stood up.
“I remember my sight moving all over the male, from his neck to his hip. It took a little while before I finally calm down, install the pin behind the shoulder, and pull the trigger. The deer was 55 yards away, and I have never seen an arrow fly so well in my life.
“The dollar fell just as the arrow landed, but the shaft buried itself all the way to the tail, exactly where I wanted it. I watched the deer run through the woods as I sat down.
“I was shaking and I was like, ‘I got it! I got it! ‘And then I heard him fall. It looked like wind blowing a tree, ”he added.
Cody knew the money was going down, so he started texting his friends.
They all told him to stay put, and he managed to do so for 45 minutes. When he couldn’t wait any longer, he got out and went to look at his arrow.
There was no real need to follow the blood as Cody knew almost exactly where he would get his money. He walked there, lying in a pile of rocks along one of the farm’s most rugged grounds.
“My friends Justin Russell and Travis came to help me collect the money and get back to the barn,” Cody said.
“Later that day, I pulled the cards at the camera to find I had a photo of the buck seconds before the arrow hit. The next photo was of me picking up the broken arrow, ”he added.
Editor’s Note: Ed Waite is a master scorer and area manager for Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records. A longtime contributor to Rack magazine, he has also published three volumes of Big Deer Tales, “Wallhangers” I, II and III, which are available in bookstores, Amazon and via WallhangersUSA.com.
This article was published in the Winter 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to you.
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