Rack Magazine

Smell of Success

Smell of Success

By Ed Waite

Adam Wireman’s Pike County, Ohio, buck is a mainframe 5x5 with six irregular points, enough to push it into the semi-irregular category.

Had it not been for Adam Wireman’s mother, Dianne, his 2011 deer season would’ve ended very differently. Not only did she make it possible for him to scale his favorite ladder stand on Oct. 12, but she also pointed him to the dead buck for which he’d been searching for four days.

Adam hunts his parents’ 130-acre farm in Pike County, Ohio, and trail camera photographs from 2010 had him eager to spend time afield in 2011. One buck, in particular, interested him.

He even moved his 20-foot-high ladder stand 100 yards closer to one of the farm’s many thickets, hoping to catch it exiting en route to an oak flat.

“I set it up between the thicket and the oaks, about two-thirds up a hill,” he said. “I had a good view of the flat and the thicket.”

The move paid off on his second vigil.

“The first evening I sat in the stand, I was suffering from a stomach ache. I managed to stay there an hour before it got the better of me,” he said. “But I saw two bucks at a distance and felt good about the location and the setup.

“The next time I was able to get in the stand was Oct. 12. My wife was working second shift, and I had the kids,” Adam continued. “I decided to call Mom to see if she would watch them while I sat in the tree, and she agreed. By the time I got the kids settled in with her, it was quite a bit later than I would’ve preferred. With a slight breeze in my favor, I got in the tree.”

Within an hour of his ascent, two small bucks approached from the thicket behind him. Adam then heard some loud noises from another thicket in front of him.

“Since it was getting close to last light, I decided to stand up and be ready in case something came out,” he said. “I heard more stomping and, when I focused, I saw a huge rack amongst the brush about 40 to 50 yards in front of me. I knew immediately the buck was a shooter. All I could see were these humongous antlers swinging back and forth between the saplings as the buck came straight toward me.”

Adam usually draws on deer when they pass behind trees, but there were no obstacles between him and the giant that exited the thicket. So he drew when the buck approached the 30-yard mark.

“Even though I had my pin on the unsuspecting deer, I was too nervous,” he admitted. “I said to myself, ‘Adam, you’d better take a breath before you just sling an arrow,’ so I took the pin off the deer, sucked in some air, and then settled my sight on it again.

“I’d just found my anchor when the buck suddenly stopped and turned broadside. I tripped the release, and the arrow was gone. I heard a soft thud and then a sharp crack, which seemed almost as loud as a shotgun blast. My mind thought tree branch, but my heart said shoulder.”

In either case, the buck bounded back into the thicket from which it had emerged. Afterward, Adam called his brother, Tyler, and told him he’d taken a shot at the biggest buck he’d ever seen while hunting.

“He told me to calm down and to be careful, to not fall out of the stand, and that he was on his way. I told him to wait until I had time to get down in a bit to see if I had hit my target,” Adam said. “Tyler lives an hour away, so there was no need for him to come if I’d missed.”

After waiting 15 minutes, Adam walked to where the buck had stood. There was neither hair nor blood. After talking to his brother again, he began following the trail.

“After about 20 minutes of wandering around in the dark, I was about to give up until I found a large patch of blood,” he said. “Again, I called my brother to tell him, and he wanted me to stay put. I ended up sitting there in the woods for more than an hour, waiting for him.

“By the time Tyler arrived, two hours had passed since the shot. So we took up the trail immediately. Thirty yards in, we came across the arrow, which appeared to have passed all the way through, eventually working its way out of the fleeing deer. It was covered in red blood, so that was a very good sign.

Wireman“We marked the spot and continued to track, looking for blood and marking every spot. It was dark, and we had only one flashlight,” he said.

The blood stopped, and they lost the trail around midnight. Plus, the brush was so thick, they couldn’t even walk upright. When Tyler jumped a deer, they knew it had to be the wounded buck.

“It was pretty devastating,” Adam said. “We called it quits after that and hung a T-shirt at the last spot of blood.”

Adam was off work for the next five days. He and a buddy, Brandon, returned to the farm Thursday morning. They found blood for another 30 yards, but then it stopped again. Tyler joined them later, but they eventually threw in the towel.

Another friend, Cody, joined Adam and Tyler on Friday.

“There is a creek bottom that runs the length of the property, through an old dried-up pond and along the edge of the lawn and on out to the road by the house. We searched both sides, from one end to the other, hoping the buck had gone to water,” Adam said. “It was very hard to search this area because the undergrowth is very tall and thick. The leaves were still on everything, too, so visibility was only a couple of feet in any direction.

“After a few hours, we gave up and headed home,” he added.

Adam searched alone on Saturday and Sunday, wandering almost aimlessly through the property, hoping to either stumble across his buck or to see buzzards or crows.

“My wife was working on Monday evening, and I wanted to go to the gym to lift weights, so I dropped the kids off with my mom,” he continued. “While I was gone, she took them for a ride on the four-wheeler. As she crested the old dam, she caught a whiff of something rancid. When I returned, she told me there was something dead in the pond. I said, ‘Are you serious?’

“She said, ‘Yeah. Why?’

“‘My deer ... It’s probably lying in there somewhere,’ I told her.

“Now it is a pretty good sized pond, and it has been washed out for many years so the weeds have grown in until it doesn’t even resemble a pond anymore,” Adam said. “I grabbed a flashlight and went to see or smell for myself.  She was right, there was a definite odor of rotting flesh coming from nearby, but I wasn’t going down in there in the dark to stumble around.”

Adam loaded up the kids and headed home. He had to work Tuesday, but as soon as he got off, he headed for the farm once more.

“Mom told me that coyotes had been in the pond area all night, carrying on and making lots of noise. I figured they must have found the dead deer and were feeding on it,” he said.

The wind was blowing from a different direction that evening. Adam had to circle the pond until he caught a whiff. He then tried to follow the odor to its source by zig-zagging back and forth, in and out of the wind’s stream. Finally, he pushed aside some tall grass that let him into a small opening where the deer was lying.

It had been mauled by coyotes.

There was no doubt it was the buck he’d arrowed.

“I took some pictures right then and sent them to my brother, who was already heading my way to help look, and to Cody, who was also coming. I just stood there in awe until they arrived,” he said.

“I dedicate this buck to my mom!”

Hunter: Adam Wireman
BTR Official Score: 175 3/8
BTR Composite Score: 194 4/8
Compound Bow

– Photos courtesy of Adam Wireman

This article was published in the August 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

Copyright 2018 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd