Michael Morgan Buck: Second Chance, Double Droptines and 178 Incredible Inches

Michael Morgan of Kansas with his monster 178-inch beast

Michael Morgan of Kansas with his monster 178-inch beast.

Michael Morgan hunted hard for land in Kansas to lease with friends because they wanted to hunt where they believed they could kill some giant bucks.

After a long search, they found property to lease and began doing their legwork. Cameras showed some good deer. They scouted, picked hunting sites, learned the land. Morgan saw a huge deer he wanted to hunt but said he figured it might not make it since their neighbor gun hunted. Morgan didn’t begrudge anyone hunting with a gun but opted a few years ago for the bow, which he enjoys.

“I killed a 150 (inch) years ago with my rifle, and got to thinking that just about anybody could do that,” he said. “That’s when I decided to pick up a bow and start hunting with it.”

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Here is Morgan’s story:

I have lived my whole life in Louisiana and since I was in diapers, I have always loved the outdoors. I started bow hunting seven years ago for the challenge and found it to be the most rewarding and frustrating hunting of my life. Four years ago me and friend (who is also a die hard bow hunter) decided to try and find some land to lease in Kansas. After countless hours and many long trips to Kansas knocking on doors and talking to anyone who would listen, we found a piece of property that looked to be promising.

It took us a year and a half to find something. Which brings us to last year (2011). Our first hunt was in September and with the exception of a few does and one encounter with a shooter it was slow to say the least. We had some cameras out and had pictures of a few good deer but none of this deer. Our next trip was in late October. I was hunting a stand we set up for observation of a field. It was off this stand where this deer was first seen. About an hour before dark a doe stepped out 350 yards across the field. I was watching her through my binoculars when the limbs started moving. I couldn’t believe what I saw. He was a main frame 8 point with a club drop tine (the one on the right). He chased the doe across the field toward me. She went north of my stand and got within 70 yards of me, with him following her the whole way. She hit the stream that I was sitting next to and turned and came directly under me and stopped.

My heart was bout to beat out of my chest. I knew I was about to get a shot at a terrific deer.  WRONG! He followed in her footsteps to 30 yards from me, in a direction that I had no shot through the limbs, and stopped, looking back across the field. A small 8-point had stepped out. He left her and went back across to the small buck and never remotely gave me an opportunity.

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That was the last sighting of him until November. We had a stand in this same field but closer to the bedding area that we had saved until the rut hunt trying not to run off the does. It was the first sit in the stand. Right at the break at day, I see movement in the field. One quick look through my binoculars reveals its the drop tine buck coming my way. I get my bow and prepare myself just to have him skirt me at 60 yards. He walked in the woods and made a pass thru a bedding area and left out the way he came. Barely out of my range.

The next morning the wind shifted and I wasn’t able to hunt the stand. The following morning the wind turned for the good and I was back in there. Just like two days before, at the break of day, here comes the drop tine deer. Only this time he had company. Two does and a 130-class 8-point.  This time they come straight toward me. The does hold up 20 yards from me and the two bucks circle around to the north of them (the does were south of me). The 8-point was in front. He walks farther in the woods then the drop tine deer and gets down wind of me. Despite all my scent proofing, he can smell something. Ten yards downwind of me, he sticks his nose up in the air, smelling and looking straight at me.

Meanwhile, the drop tine deer gives me the perfect shot! He stops broadside with his head completely behind a big cottonwood tree. Afraid to spook all of them, I decide to pass hoping he will give me another shot seeing that the does were still there. But he turns and leaves out across the field and the 8-point pushes the does on in the woods. The second time he left a doe that he had followed all the way to my stand. I guess this is why some deer live to an old age.

The next morning the wind was still good and I was back in the stand hoping to finally close the deal. Once again, break of day, here he comes from the same area. I think we had a pattern by now. On this day it was just him and a young buck. Unfortunately, he did like he did on the first day of the hunt and skirted me. Only this time, the two of them bedded down 93 yards from (trust me that is a accurate yardage) and stayed there all day. I bet I hit him with my range finder 20 times that day. By 4 p.m., my eyelids were raw from looking at them thru my binoculars.

I kept telling myself that he would get up a little before dark and probably give me a shot since the only way he could go and stay in the woods was right by me. Once again I was wrong! At 4:30 I hear something running toward me across a creek. Two does come running, splash thru the creek, and head straight toward the bucks. They stop running when they see the bucks and walk up to them (they were still laying down). This was the first deer I had seen on its feet, with the exception of the occasional stretching of the bucks, since the two bucks had walked in that morning.

One of the does walks up to the drop tine deer, then turns and runs across the middle of the field.  The small buck stands up and starts to follow them, then the drop tine deer stands up and grunts one time. I couldn’t understand what he said but the small buck did. He immediately turns around. Then the drop tine buck takes off chasing after the does, never getting within 70 yards of me. By this time I was getting depressed. It was two days later before I was back on that stand. At the break of day, I was only looking in one direction! Nothing! That was the last time I saw the deer that year despite hunting eight more days in November and five more in December. I was able to fill my tag with a 130-class 9-point 48 hours before we left on the last hunt of the season.

This brings us to this year.

We ran cameras as always and set up the observation stand again. No drop tine deer. We had written him off. Figured he must have gotten killed during rifle season on a neighboring farm. This year was slow for us to say the least. After hunting three days, we have not even seen a deer close to being a shooter. We decided that we may need to lower our standards for a shooter buck.

On Nov. 6 we were trying to decide which stands to hunt. The night before I started running fever and almost didn’t hunt. I checked the weather and we had a south wind that was predicted to shift out of the north two hours from day break. Being frustrated and being sick, I decided to go to the south stand (different tree but same area that I saw the drop tine buck last year) until the wind shifted. Last year that area had most of our activity. So if figured I would go sit on it until the wind shifted, hoping to see some activity.

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Was I ever in for a surprise. I got in the stand 20 minutes before you could see. On the way in, I bumped a deer in the field. It blew once and ran off splashing as it crossed the creek. Just as it was getting a little light, I heard some leaves crunching from the direction that I walked in. I looked and four does came walking in my same foot steps from my walk to the stand (and down wind of me). They never smelled me, or it didn’t bother them if they did. They started grazing 25 yards from me. Then I heard something coming from south across the creek (the stand was sitting on the only creek crossing for a few hundred yards). I heard it slide down the hill and I felt pretty sure it was a deer about to cross the creek coming my way.

I went ahead and got ready just in case. It was still dark in the woods and I couldn’t see 55 yards to the other side of the creek. Then as the deer started walking up the bank on our side, I heard him start grunting. Knew it was a buck and we haven’t been seeing much so I was ready hoping for a decent buck to put my tag on. Then came the surprise of my life and the deer of my dreams. It happened so quick that I didn’t even realize what deer it was until after I shot. I didn’t even know it was a shooter until stepped into a lane five yards from the edge of the field. It was pretty early. Once he got in the lane I could see it was a stud. I drew my bow and waited until he stepped out into the field where there was more light.

When he did, I saw the drop tine and I about had a heart attack! Luckily it happened fast. I didn’t have enough time to get nervous. Two steps into the field and he hit a opening. I set the pin and squeezed the trigger on my release. WHACK!  He ran maybe 100 yards and stopped to see what stung him. Then I almost fell out of the tree (did have my safety vest on though) when I saw he had two drop tines. He fell right there.

He had a green score of 178 6/8 with 16 5/8 inches (8 4/8 and 8 1/8) of drop tines. I was using a Hoyt Vector 32 with Easton Litespeed arrows and Muzzy MX 400-grain broadheads.

Needless to say, I was hysterical! Could not believe what just happened. Still cant believe it. I killed the deer of my dreams. The deer that I had walk all over me the year before and never got a shot. I cannot begin to explain how many hours I spent thinking about that deer over the summer. How many “could of, should of” I had thought about. The deer that we didn’t even have a trail camera picture of. The deer that I knew for sure was hanging on somebody else’s wall. The deer I thought was going to haunt me for the rest of my life. The one animal I wanted more then any animal before. And just as I started convincing myself to face the realization that he was gone, I blew the only opportunity I may ever have to kill a deer with a club drop tine in my life, telling myself if I see a decent deer I better shot him, 90 seconds later, he was laying dead, 100 yards from me. Killed by my arrow.

That moment was without a doubt the absolute most gratifying, fulfilling moment I have ever experienced in the woods. From the highs the first time I saw the deer knowing he was going to give me a shot after following a doe all that way, having several more encounters with him without a opportunity,  to the low of not getting a picture or a sighting of him this year and thinking he was on somebody else’s wall, to killing him within seconds of the first time he had been seen in nearly 365 days. Looking back now, it could have not worked out better!

I don’t know if this will be the highlight of my hunting career, but I cannot see how anything could ever top it. This definitely will be a season I will never forget!