Five month search for the 165” 12 point
It’s a feeling that no hunter wants to have, but anyone that has hunted for any period of time has had; a sickening feeling in the stomach. With no deer at the end of a blood trail, and after hours of searching timber, you have nothing to show for it but a bloody broken arrow. An arrow lost in flight with no sure impact point is what gave Daniel “Goody” Goodman that feeling after a search for his buck the following day here at the lodge.
Goody, an avid hunter, was hunting with us on a mid-October whitetail hunt. On only a three-day hunt and temperature in the high 80’s it was tough hunting to say the least. Goody being the man he is was always in high spirits, and always looking to get in the woods. His guide Jeff, like all the rest of us here, is always pushing for big bucks to hit the ground, and was trying everything in his power to get a good deer in front of Goody.
From morning travel routes between food to bedding, waterholes to acorns nothing seemed to work in the hot weather. The big boys just weren’t moving in daylight hours. On the last evening of his three-day hunt, there was a slight change in the wind; hunting the same stand he had the night before the deer started to move.
Goody was perched in a 16’ ladder stand, with bedding to the west and north, and the does started entering the food plot almost an hour earlier than the night before. With a few little bucks and does on the food plot the sun was fading and shadows started to cast across the field. With plenty of light left, out stepped a buck that had avoided trail cameras all summer.
With no doubt this buck was worthy of the wall, the pins were settled and the arrow was released. As the arrow took flight it was lost to vision due to dark fletching. There was a crack at impact and the buck whirled, disappearing into the timber.
Daylight passed into darkness as Goody’s guide came to pick him up after hearing the news of a released arrow. Without knowing where the buck was hit the decision was made to wait till morning before tracking.
Sixteen hours later the search was on for the big boy. An hour into the search Goody, Yankee, and Jeff had little to show for their efforts. With a couple pin drops of blood, the sickness in our stomachs started to set in. Another hour of searching went by with spirits a little higher. Jeff was able to find the arrow broken in three pieces with some blood and meat on the broad head and shaft.
After a five-hour search of the timber and nothing to show but about a dozen bloody leaves and a broken arrow, the search was called to an end. Three disappointed men headed back to the truck, conversation was held to a minimum. When we arrived back at the lodge everyone came to check the back of the truck expecting a deer, the news was broken that we didn’t find the big boy.
As Goody was loading his truck to head back home we assured him that if his deer was dead we would find him. As the season continued, stands were moved, hunters changed locations, and the search for other deer that had been shot always had us looking around for the Goody buck. With no trail camera pictures of him before or after he left and no sighting of him by other hunters, we all new we would eventually find him somewhere dead or alive. Someone would see him.
Season came to an end and phone calls were received from Goody a couple times a month wondering if the big boy had been found yet. Stands were all pulled and stored for the spring and summer. The snow had set in with still no buck to be found. As snow started to melt away it was time for shed hunting to begin. With some good sheds being found, and the farm being pretty well covered, still no Goody buck. Thoughts of it not being found crossed our minds so phone calls were made again to bordering neighbors to keep their eyes out for him when they were shed hunting.
After multiple attempts at finding him shed hunting, one sunny morning in the middle of February when crossing from one ridge to another through a swale that had been covered a couple of trips already something strange caught my eyes. There in the weeds, about 50yrds away, was a jawbone sticking straight up in the grass. As I walked in its direction to have a closer look I could see both main beams angled down into the grass, which quickened my pace to the horns. I removed the grass from his head there he was, a main frame 10 with a split g2 and g3 on its right side.
Looking him over, it was obviously the Goody buck. After making all of the necessary phone calls to the IDNR, the head could be brought to the lodge to show off. Calling a friend to tell him you have the buck of a lifetime waiting for him, that you’d thought had gotten away, is a phone call everyone is happy to make. Pictures were taken and sent to Goody while we waited for a confirmation number so we could send the magnificent 12-point to his rightful owner.
A five-month search finally came to an end and the Goody buck, scoring in the mid 160’s is at the taxidermy being fitted for a pedestal mount. We at Heartland Lodge would like to say congratulation again to our friend Daniel “Goody” Goodman on the harvesting of a great buck. See you in camp in the fall of 2011… Yankee