Sixteen-year-old blind in Ohio finally produces!
In 1994, Butch Follick built an elevated box blind on his 80-acre Preble County, Ohio, property. The purpose of this blind was to help introduce his son, Jake, to the wonderful world of whitetail hunting.
“The Condo,” as the stand became known, was the go-to place for the father-son team on numerous hunts. However, prior to 2010, only one doe had been harvested from the blind.
Despite the lack of harvests from the Condo, Butch was quite successful in sowing the seed that produced an avid deer hunter in his son. Jake spends as much time as possible pursuing whitetails.
A 2009 summer trail camera photograph revealed a large buck that was calling the Follick property home. Although he devoted a lot of time looking for it, Jake never saw the deer on the hoof.
The Follicks didn’t retrieve any photos of the buck in 2010, but Jake saw a very large one in a field while bowhunting early in the season. His hopes and expectations skyrocketed.
During the third week of October, Jake caught another glimpse of the giant while heading to his stand for an evening vigil.
“The buck was at the far end of the field as I was making my way to the stand,” says Jake. “Even at that long distance, I could tell the buck was huge. I didn’t even need my binoculars. At that point, I decided to nickname the buck Moose.”
Jake continued to bowhunt Moose as Ohio’s archery season progressed. He encountered the buck twice, but it was never closer than 100 yards. However, the young hunter learned from those meetings: The buck moved in the same direction, each time heading for the ridge that held the Condo.
Before dawn on opening morning of Ohio’s 2010 gun season, Butch and Jake discussed the plans for their hunt as they sat in the cabin. Jake urged his father to hunt from the Condo, but Butch had made up his mind to hunt the other side of the farm.
Armed with the knowledge acquired during archery season and his 870 Wingmaster, Jake told his father, “That’s fine, but I’m going to shoot Moose.” To punctuate his statement, he pulled out a permanent marker and a slug, and inscribed M-O-O-S-E on the shell casing.
At approximately 7:30, three does appeared on the ridge in front of the younger Follick. Jake considered taking the largest one. He even shouldered his 12 gauge. After much thought, however, he decided to let the deer pass, which turned out to be a great move.
The next hour was quiet and uneventful, and then the snap of a twig over his right shoulder demanded Jake’s attention. A quick glance revealed a squirrel. Almost immediately, though, there was a rustle in the leaves over his left shoulder. Expecting to see another bushytail, the hunter was stunned when the he saw the buck of his dreams standing a mere 10 yards away.
The buck was moving slowly across the ridge. Because of the deer’s silent approach and the prolonged lull in the action, Jake was not prepared for a shot.
The buck had been standing broadside when Jake first saw it. By the time he was able to prepare for a shot, the buck was quartering away and at 40 yards.
Just as the deer was about to step over the crest of the ridge, Jake snort-wheezed and stopped it. At the shot, the buck continued on, showing no indication it had been hit. But the giant collapsed after covering only 20 more yards.
After waiting 15 minutes, Jake couldn’t stand it any longer. He called his dad. “I got Moose!” he said.
Butch was skeptical, but he told his son he would head his way.
When Butch arrived, after what seemed like an eternity to Jake, the duo went to the deer.
“There was definitely no ground shrinkage!” Jake said.
Editor’s Note: On Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, National Guardsman Jake Follick deployed for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Hunter: Jake Follick
Official Score: 175
Composite Score: 192
– Photos courtesy of Jake Follick
This article was published in the August 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.