My big archery blacktail from 2014 was awarded Fourth Place for North American Archery by the Safari Club International. I attended the incredible convention for the first time this year. The Night of the Hunter awards dinner was hosted by Eva Shockey and Tom Miranda.
Kari and I stayed the The Four Seasons hotel in Mandalay Bay right where the convention was held. Kari managed to capture my award presentation on her iphone. It was yet another great consequence of taking the buck of my lifetime. ‘Lightning Four‘ as we called him is the new SCI number two archery Blacktail.
I spent the next couple days roaming the incredible showroom floor. ( Photos ) This was bigger than any tech convention I have attended at Mandalay including Oracle. Everywhere incredible taxidermy exhibits, acres of gorgeous high end rifles, all the optics manufacturers, and outfitters from all over the world.
I enjoyed meeting many of the celebrities and writers from the Hunting industry including Diana Rupp editor of Sport’s Afield, my favorite hunting magazine. I ran into Jim Shockey and he was gracious as always. Safari Press and Trophy Room Books had great displays. I was barely able to cover the showroom floor in two days. My good fortune continued with a poker tournament win.
Back to Diamond C Outfitters for my second California tag. Lots of great bucks taken this year. I’m hoping for a big 3×3 but am ready for anything. I almost shoot a 4×3 with my bow the first night when an opportunity presents itself at 35 yards. I decide to pass on the young buck. Saturday morning comes and we find a great buck ‘Scarface Junior’ bedded on a grassy hill with a doe. Named for his dad, this buck has no scars and looks like an absolute monarch. He’s very close to where I shot my August buck. Dylan and I sneak up to a ranged 328 yards until he starts to appear a little concerned. I’m using the Browning .300 WSM again which I have complete faith in. Clayton manages to capture the shot from back in the truck. He is a great buck, the biggest body buck I have ever taken. 167 pounds field dressed. Beautiful cape and just a great old buck.
One of the many bucks on the hit list was one with a deformed left front and three tines in back that was dubbed ‘The Freak’ I had him on my mind along with a big 3 called ‘Stickers’ Lots of great bucks on the ranch as always. The weather called for high nineties so was not looking forward to the heat and with all the fires the area was thick with smoke. We didn’t have a lot of luck Friday evening. Saturday we thought we had The Freak pinned down in a draw but after a couple hours realized he had slipped away. Sunday morning the smoke was almost as thick as fog and Dylan suggested we tour around and try and ‘get lucky’. Well as usual we do, he spots a big rack just above the tall grass on a hill top near some grazing does. We make a stalk down the hills, we crawl up to a crest and he spots him at 271 yards. I can clearly see his ears and believe I can kill him right there. I’m using Dylan’s Browning A-Bolt custom gun which he has completely dialed in with a CDS turret. I hold just enough below his head to get a neck or body shot and at the shot his head just falls.
My big blacktail from August we called The Lightning Four is starting to get officially recognized by several of the record keeping organizations. He is officially the new number 2 typical Columbia Blacktail taken by bow for Safari Club International. They scored him at 154 3/8 ranking him 23rd overall.
Here is the display from the SCI site showing his new ranking.
The Boone & Crockett Club has also officially recognized Lightning Four as scoring 156″ which will crack their top 100 list in their all time record book. Should he still be in the top five at the end of this three year scoring period I’ll need to submit him for a panel judging. That would be exciting and he could receive an award for his species in that scoring period.
And lastly, Pope & Young, the bowhunting organization has asked that I ship the horns for their panel judging in Arizona preceding their Convention in April. Unfortunately I can’t attend the convention however he may end up in their Top Ten all time list for Columbia Blacktail Deer. It will be interesting to see what the panel scores him as there was a big difference between SCI and B&C. So exciting to have taken such a great buck with my bow and to receive the distinction such a great animal deserves.
Incredible time this year on my annual August bow hunt up in Humboldt County, CA. Hunting for my tenth year with Dylan Carr of Diamond C Outfitters. We had lots of trail cam pics with lots of great bucks on the watch list this year. I was focused on a very old buck nicknamed ‘brisket’ for his prominent one. The week before I arrived he shedded his velvet and then was not to be seen on the trailcam. We decided to focus on another area where a huge 4×4 was a regular. He is ‘Lightning Four’ as a 4×4 first spotted in another area of the ranch called the lightning rough.
My hunt began Sunday night August 17. Only a few does showed up that evening. The next day improved with some small bucks also making appearances, doing some mock fighting, and just grazing around in the clearing next to the blind. Tuesday morning does begin to appear with the usual small bucks and then out of my left there he is. I can’t even believe it. My heart starts pounding. I wait for him to get to about 30 yards broadside and I draw back. Just as I do a fawn walks right next to him covering his vitals. I wait and wait and then have to let down. Somehow that doesn’t spook them. Waiting and finally the doe clears. I draw again, aim, squeeze, the arrow flies. Right under him. I can’t believe it! I miss him at only 30 yards. He starts a little at the sound but doesn’t really spook. I watch him walk away slowly with my binos. Looking at his right side, no sign of contact. I can only pray I’ve not blown my chance. Wednesday I see the usual suspects. Also some other great deer that are too young to be on the hit list but look like great future prospects. Thursday morning, more of the same. Thursday night I’m seeing more deer. Sun set is at 8:09 with legal shooting to 8:39. At about 8:50 he comes in with two other great bucks. Way too dark to shoot but can see him clearly in my binos. He is HUGE. Soo much bigger than the other great bucks. I’m glad to see him back but hopefully he’s not gone nocturnal. Friday morning is slow. A couple does in and out. I decide to stay longer just in case. At about 10am two does come into view from the left of the blind. Then I see a bunch of deer are following them. Small bucks and there he is right in the middle of them! He moves to almost the same spot as the first time and I’m ready. Heart pounding again and pretty shaky as I draw back. He’s at 25 yards and I hold with my 20 high in his vitals. I release and connect dropping him instantly. I hit high and have spined him! I quickly put two more arrows into his vitals and he dies 25 yards from the blind. I was so excited I wasn’t thinking straight and held way too high for my current bow. I think I reverted to my first bow training when my arrow would probably fall into the vitals at 25 yards. My bad shooting aside, I am so excited to have taken this buck. He is a giant blacktail anywhere! Easily a Boone & Crocket buck.
Dylan had a picture of the buck from the year before. He also collects many of the sheds each year and gave me Lightning’s sheds from last year. When I hold them I can hardly believe we didn’t shoot him last year. Dylan has done a great job of managing the deer on his ranch and only taking mature bucks and letting the young ones reach their potential. In our ten years hunting together I’ve seen the quality of the deer improve incredibly. I’ve taken a lot of great bucks but this is the first time I’ve held out for five days to take a true trophy such as this!
Here he is bedded down last year:
As if my luck couldn’t get any better, on our last morning we went out with his son Clayton in a yamaha viking to see if we could find another super old buck called ‘Whitey’ that was on the list. Incredibly as we approached his usual haunts there he is. Dylan and I were able to ease up to 100 yards. I set up with my Remington custom ADL and made a perfect shot on the shoulder. My second CA tag filled with another great buck. He’s a 4×4 with a sticker on his right that may get scored. He’s a great buck as well, not in the same leagues as the lightning but one of my best.
The long awaited Diamond C Outfitters promo video is finally done! Set to ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC, it is pretty fast paced encapsulation of what looks like ten years of hunting seasons. Several of my deer shots are recorded including my 2007 3×4 shot prone in the upper ranch. Also both my 2009 bucks, Twin Towers that drops like a rock and my late season 5×4 buck that kicks out at the shot. Both the pig hunting bow shots are mine, my first pig kill with a bow the same day I shot Twin Towers. Also a 60 yard ( lucky ) shot on a grey boar that was heading up the rear on the group of pigs when I shot the black sow. One thing you notice is just how many women hunters the Carr’s take each year. Lots of capable women hunting out there. So many great bucks and great memories!