Greg Abbas — Michigan

Because a warm front had moved in and shut down signs of the pre rut, I did not hold out a whole lot of hope of seeing a mature buck when I brought my daughter Alyssa down for her whitetail hunt. But a cold front was moving in and I could tell things were going to be different right from the start of our hunt and sensed that my daughter had brought “lady luck” with her, as we immediately started seeing many deer including some younger bucks.

They were trading back and forth from their bedding area to a 3-acre food plot that we planted with Imperial Whitetail Clover mixed with Whitetail Oats Plus in early August. We were seeing more deer than ever with this planting! After several hours of watching many deer and seeing some chasing going on, Alyssa spotted a nice 10- pointer coming in. Alyssa said, “Daddy I’m shaking” (Yep, that’s what we call buck fever honey!). I got the video camera ready and was ranging the distances that I thought her shot might be if he kept coming on his course. He did finally get within shooting range but he was behind some brush. He ended up standing there for several minutes until he finally just turned and walked off. That’s how big 10-pointers get to be big 10-pointers, they just have that sixth sense! Over the next two days we saw very large numbers of deer passing back and forth from the bedding area to the food plot, and had seen many bucks chasing does, but not that 10-pointer. On Alyssa’s last evening of hunting we again started seeing many does and fawns. I told her not to be discouraged since the bucks were chasing does and we had plenty of does heading to the food plot. About a half hour before dark we spotted a buck with 14-inch spikes that we had affectionately named “Texas Longhorn.”

Because of the unique head gear, I was toying with the idea of letting Alyssa take him. When Alyssa said with a very excited voice, “there’s a big buck!” I did not see him at first as he was behind brush and out about 100 yards. I finally spotted him and was watching him through binoculars when I saw him turn away from a doe and angle our way. He got to 43 yards, easily within Alyssa’s accurate shooting distance but I told her to wait to see if he gets closer before taking that shot. He did! He came to 33 yards and turned and exposed his vitals. I then said “shoot.” There was no hesitation at all! I heard the shot of the crossbow, the arrow/bolt found its mark and the rest is history. It wasn’t until I walked up to the buck that I saw how big he really was. I have taken many large bucks in my time but never an 8-pointer of this caliber. His G2 measured 12 inches alone and the mass of the rack was huge! No doubt the Whitetail Institute products provide great nutrition and are helping us grow them big.

I don’t know how Alyssa fought off the buck fever on this one, but I am very proud of her. This was Alyssa’s third buck, though she had never taken one of this caliber! Being a father and seeing the “night before Christmas” type of excitement in Alyssa’s eyes makes my personal hunts secondary to me. My father and I have been using Whitetail Institute products ever since I can remember. They have always brought us success. However, this marked the first year that we mixed Whitetail Oats Plus with the Imperial Whitetail Clover and planted in August. The deer absolutely LOVE it. I have never seen so many deer in a food plot before! We will follow this model every year now. Thank you Whitetail Institute!