By completely changing his normal hunting routine, Jim Sams, of Fayetteville, was able to successfully put the smackdown on a Talbot County 10-point that green-scored 171 gross inches.
“I had been hunting this deer all season since first seeing him in December of last year,” said Jim.
Jim first jumped the big buck on his family land last year and guessed he would score in the 150s then. As time ticked by, Jim kept getting trail-camera pictures of the buck, and he was determined to kill him during the 2016 hunting season.
Jim had hunted every weekend of the 2016 season before finally pulling the trigger on the afternoon of Dec. 9. Being in the Southern Zone, Jim had a routine of putting out corn after his Sunday evening hunts.
Interestingly, Jim tried getting the buck to feed off of a tripod feeder, but it never worked. Jim just thought the deer had disappeared, but it showed back up quickly after scattering the corn on the ground.
Trail-camera pictures were regular in September, but after that, the buck left and didn’t show back up again until Thanksgiving week. Jim was at the beach when he began to receive daylight pictures of the buck through his cellular-service trail camera, and he was eager to get back home and hunt.
When hunting the buck, Jim always parked his truck in the same spot and walked in to his stand the same way. On Sundays, he would hunt, put the corn out and then go back home. Looking back, Jim realized that old habits could have easily kept this deer alive.
“I was doing everything right, I was even using scent control,” said Jim. “I finally found out from trail-camera photos that the evening after we’d fed him, he’d show up. So I was thinking maybe he had me patterned.”
So on Friday, Dec. 9, Jim made a complete change in his hunting habits.
“I called my neighbor, Bill, and told him that I’m going to do it all backward. I went in at 3 that evening and poured a sack of corn out and made a bunch of noise. I went back out and parked the truck in a different spot and came in 90 degrees from where I usually come in,” said Jim.
Jim got in his ladder stand, and about 5:30 a cull buck showed up. Not long after that, the giant he’d been looking for appeared looking for food. It was only minutes before legal shooting light was gone when Jim shot the buck. It was the exact same spot where he had pictures of him.
“It was fun being after one deer all season and finally closing the deal on him,” said Jim. “I’ve never seen anything like him. When I was looking at him through the scope, he didn’t even look real. He should have about 7 or 8 inches of deductions and should net in the mid 160s.”
Jim’s buck has been entered in the Truck-Buck contest, and he’ll be competing with other Southern Zone bucks in Week 13.