While many patients about to go under the knife worry about waking up, Ohio’s Jeff Mason was worried about missing his 2019 deer season, and that was the least of it.
Jeff underwent lung surgery Aug. 1.
“I was very apprehensive about the operation, knowing it might end my hunting forever,” he told Ed Waite, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine. “As far as I could see, it would surely end it for 2019.”
The worst-case scenario didn’t happen, however. The operation went well, and he was soon discharged and on his way to a quick recovery.
Still weak and unable to draw his compound bow, Jeff acquired a new crossbow. He also had to adjust his way of hunting.
“I could not climb a tree or even a ladder stand,” he said. “If I wanted to hunt at all, I’d be ground-bound.”
His son Matt and his best friend, Mike Wise, helped increase Jeff’s odds by planting a food plot and setting out a trail camera that would send photos to his phone.
Jeff had one deer on the brain, a buck he’d nicknamed Big Boy.
“One evening when I was heading the 300 yards back to my truck, the cell phone chirped to tell me something was in front of the camera. Six times, it showed me a picture of Big Boy in the food plot,” he said. “He had been watching and waiting for me to leave before he came out to eat.”
Jeff’s response was to move at least 50 yards farther into the woods and go earlier than usual. He sat against a tree within view of the trail to the food plot.
“I went there three days in a row,” Jeff said. “I passed one very nice buck the first day and two the second time I sat there.”
The third visit was the calm afternoon of Nov. 18, and he was at his spot by 3:30.
At one point, a squirrel tore Jeff’s gaze from the trail he’d been watching. When he looked back, the giant buck was on it, 50 yards away from him, making no sound whatsoever.
“When his head passed behind a tree, I raised the crossbow and waited. When it was at 32 yards, I squeezed the trigger,” he said.
The buck, which was later scored at 216 inches, hit the ground as if an anvil had been dropped on its back.
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