Two Awesome Bucks Out of The Same Treestand!
For the past two years John Brewer has spent the first week of November at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge. Many of our hunters have a favorite week, and they return to camp at that time every year. The reason for creating this habit may be based on previous successes, experiences, or just seeing old friends in camp. For John, however, the reason for coming back to Pike County exactly one year from the first time that he’d walked into camp at Heartland Lodge went a little deeper.
It all started on November 2, 2012 when John harvested what he described to his guide, Allen Ballinger, as the biggest deer he’d ever seen. That deer turned out to be a 173” giant of a whitetail nicknamed “Top Notch” because of a triangular tear in his left ear. The deer had remained unseen on camera in 2012, but was a celebrity of sorts in 2011 when he appeared weekly on multiple trail cameras and was actually missed twice with archery equipment. John’s experience during that first week of November was no doubt a special one, but leading hunters to trophy bucks is our business and our goal for each person who comes into camp. The events that unfolded after the successful hunt and recovery in 2012 are what truly set John’s experience apart.
On November 3, 2012, about three hours after recovery of “Top Notch”, a buck that had previous never been seen showed up in front of a trail camera that overlooked the area John had been hunting. The stand he had taken his shot from was even in the backdrop of the picture! This new buck was a very nice, mature 10 point who was instantly dubbed “Baby Brother”. The “baby” moniker was not a reference to the deer’s size so much as the fact that he quickly took over the area previously controlled by “Top Notch”. After these pictures were taken, the deer was seen by one gun hunter, and one more set of pictures were taken prior to the end of the 2012 season. “Baby Brother” reappeared on September 15th this year in the same spot, in front of the same stand where his first set of pictures had come from. Allen sent these pictures to John in an e-mail to which John responded, “I will sit in that stand every day this year.”
True to his word, John committed to the area where we were getting pictures. We hunted close to where we believed the buck was living morning and evening. The wind was inconsistent, but never shifted into a direction that was bad for the stands. Day after day the report from the field was the same. John would tell us about does, fork horns, basket racks, and a few decent bucks, but not the one he was looking for. After three days of hunting hard with lackluster results, John remained confident and in high spirits. As the old adage states, “patience is a virtue” and his patience paid off because on the fourth morning at 8:00a.m. Allen received a text message containing three words, “I GOT HIM!” Shortly after 11:00a.m. the deer was recovered. He was found laying about 80 yards away from where “Top Notch” had expired the year before. At five and a half years old “Baby Brother” scored almost 150” P&Y and was an awesome trophy for John to add to his growing collection. Memories like this one are what we at Heartland Lodge strive to give our hunters. Not everyone will harvest deer in consecutive years, but you can be sure you will have a memorable experience.