Hunter studies maps and trail cam photos to pinpoint deer’s sanctuary.
For the better part of a year, Judd Chapman’s trail cameras showed the image of a buck he wanted. After reading everything he could get his hands on, studying topographic maps and relying on photos from strategically placed trail cameras to determine the location of the buck’s sanctuary, Chapman hit the jackpot on Dec. 14 when the 150-class 13-point buck made a fatal mistake.
“I found this buck on a trail camera on Jan. 1, 2012,” said Chapman, an orthopedic supply representative who lives in Bossier City. “I set out to try and figure him out to improve my chances at bagging him.”
Setting trail cameras around the 2,300 acre Bryceland Hunting Club he and 14 other members hunt in Bienville Parish, Chapman began to develop a pattern for this buck.
“He regularly visited corn feeders but he’d only come to the feeders just after dark,” said Chapman. “Another peculiar habit the deer exhibited was not eating corn off the ground but instead nibbling it off the spinner plate of the On Time feeder I was using.”
The season ended last year without any sightings of the buck, but Chapman began getting photos of him in velvet this past summer.
The hunting club is fairly evenly divided with half the club acreage on each side of the highway cutting across the club. Most club members hunted one particular side because there were more deer there. Chapman, however, decided to give the less productive portion a try and in so doing, he located what he felt was the big buck’s sanctuary; where he bedded down and where he slipped out to feed.
“I put cameras out on several sides of the 600-700 acre area I felt, based on my study of articles and maps, he was using as his sanctuary,” he said. “I determined to be on that property as little as possible until the rut kicked in.”
On Nov. 28, Chapman found a photo of the buck during daylight hours, giving him reason to believe the buck was starting to roam and check out does. On Friday, Dec. 14, Chapman arrived at the club early and put out corn around stands for two guests who would be hunting the next day. He opted to hunt from the ground that afternoon as it would give him a clearer view of the area he felt the buck might travel.
“I made sure the wind was right, picked a spot to sit on the ground and brushed myself in with pine branches on the edge of a lane which would give me a good view of the area,” Chapman recalled. “Around 4:00, I made a couple of bleats with my Primos Can call and followed with a soft tending grunt. After 15 minutes, I repeated the sequence. By then, a soft rain had started falling.”
Fifteen minutes after making his last bleat and tending grunt, Chapman saw a deer move into the edge of the lane. The overhanging foliage obscured the deer’s head except he could make out a nice main beam of a buck.
“I wasn’t sure if this was the buck I was after but I saw enough of the rack to let me know it was a good buck, so I decided to take him,” he said. “One more step and he’d have been across the lane and out of sight, so I settled the crosshairs on my 7mm .08 on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger.”
The buck ran and Chapman went to the spot where he shot the deer, saw the ground torn up where the buck took off and then spotted one drop of blood. He followed the blood trail 40 yards to where the buck fell and expired.
The rack carried 13 points, had a 19-inch inside spread with 24 inch main beams. Bases were 5 ¾ inches each with mass that carried over the length of the antlers. A taxidermist where Chapman took the buck aged the deer at 5 ½ years of age and scored him at 152 inches.
Chapman believes his hard work and study paid off in his laying claim to this buck.
“I learned a lot about hunting big bucks from this deer. Frankly,” he said, “I never worked harder in my life for a deer.”
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