Joseph Milenkovic — Ohio

Several years ago, a childhood dream of mine came true! I have been an apprentice/junior hunter since the ripe old age of four. I have many early photographs of me standing next to one of the deer my Dad harvested in Woodstock, New York. By the time I reached my teen years my dad had harvested many nice bucks and also a 500-plus pound black bear. Being in the
woods and watching my dad harvest all of these animals hooked me on hunting.
With my fast paced life in New York, moving to Florida, starting a career and raising a family I had to put this passion on hold. Fast forward 30 years and there I was bidding on a 60-acre farm in north-eastern Ohio but
living in southern Florida. I had located this area that I knew had good genetics for whitetails and was also in my price range. I purchased the property. It had 45 acres of woods and 15 acres of open land where food plots could be planted. After doing some research and talking with fellow hunters, I learned about the Whitetail Institute and its products. For the past five-plus years I have gradually improved the land by using Imperial Whitetail Clover, No-Plow and Chicory Plus. Living out-of-state makes planting successful food plots a challenge. However, Slay and Arrest herbicides have aided greatly with weed control. I am very impressed with all of the Whitetail Institute products in addition to the simplicity of use. Being a “city boy,” this farming business is new to me. With the help of these products, my 60-acre farm has become my “horns of plenty” and the envy of my neighbors. To date (since I bought the farm five years ago), we have harvested 11 bucks, all being 8 points or more. Last year was our best so far. My Dad harvested a 10-point buck that scored higher than any buck he ever killed in his 50-plus years of hunting (photo 1). My brother also killed a 10- point buck, and my 18-year-old son killed his first buck, a beautiful 8-point. The next generation of family hunters is well on his way, and I could not be more thrilled! I also harvested my biggest buck to date. It was a 10-point that grossed almost 159 inches (photo 2). It has matching splits on the G-2s that are 6 inches each and are attached to G-2’s that are almost 12 inches. That morning, I dropped off my brother at his stand and decided to hunt a new stand I had put up just below my largest food plot planted with Imperial Whitetail Clover. First light came and went with no movement. It was a beautiful morning but cold. On stand for nearly two hours, I decided to stand and stretch. While looking behind me I noticed a young 8-point sneaking through the brush at 30 yards. He walked beside my stand and I was admiring what a nice young deer he was when my eyes caught movement about 100 yards in front of my stand. As I glanced that way I saw a monster buck that I immediately knew was a shooter. He was watching this young 8-point walk in his direction. I glanced back to see where the 8-point was and then re-focused on the monster buck when I saw what I believed to be him walking in the opposite direction of my stand, and I lost sight of him. I immediately hit my grunt tube. All of the sudden I saw this massive rack stick up over a hill 50 yards in front of me. The buck walking away was a different buck. The big buck continued to walk in my direction, getting to within 15 yards. I let my arrow fly and was confident I had hit my mark. The buck sprinted up the hill behind my stand. I sent some text messages to my brother and a friend and told myself to give the buck some time. I lasted about 10 minutes and couldn’t take it any longer. I climbed down my tree and found my arrow. It was a clean pass-through, and the arrow was covered with sign indicating a good shot. I decided he could not have gone far so I started walking up the hill looking for him. After walking about 50 yards I was startled when I saw a deer begin running up the hill. As the deer crested the top of the hill where the food plot is located, I could see the massive rack silhouetted against the skyline. My stomach sank thinking I kicked up my wounded buck. I walked back to my tree stand dejected. I could see my brother walking toward me and he asked, “Did you find him”? I told him that I thought that I had kicked him up and watched him run up the hill out of sight. He asked me to show him where I had shot the deer. When we got to the spot he looked at the arrow and started on the blood trail. The trail showed decent sign and as we continued to walk it was evident the deer was mortally wounded. We found my buck 125 yards from where I shot him. The buck I had seen run up the hill was not mine but another beautiful buck who was also in the area. I could not believe my eyes looking at this massive 10-point I had just harvested. My brother and I were high-fiving and were soon joined by a friend and neighbor who were also hunting in the area. Being an assistant police chief in a city in southern Florida, life is full of stress, and I see the dredges of society daily. It is a dream come true that I can hop on a plane and within a few hours be at my “horns of plenty” farm away from the rat race. The Whitetail Institute has given me the tools to help make this dream a reality, and I am grateful and so are my family and friends who also benefit from this farm. Thanks Dad for blazing a trail into the outdoors, and rest assured, I’ll do my best to continue the tradition with my boys! I thank God every day for blessing me the way He does.