Ever since he decided to take off his training wheels and trade his compound for a recurve bow, Corey Bailey’s known that loosing an arrow is a wham-bam maneuver. Launching one from an almost prone position, however, isn’t exactly a move one practices.
The bowhunter from Charenton, La., found himself in that situation in Kansas last fall. Only instead of learning from a mistake, he learned from success.
Not that it came as a surprise to any of his friends, who know all too well that when it comes to hunting, they’ve got to wake up pretty early in the morning and pack a sack lunch if they want to outdo Corey. The man shoots all the time, and he hunts every chance he gets.
“I practice daily and shoot a dozen 3-D tournaments in the summer. I also get together with some friends just about every Wednesday night to shoot a ‘techno hunt’ at an archery shop in Lafayette,” he said.
Kansas is one of four states Corey visits each year in search of big bucks. When he returned to the Sunflower State in 2011, he knew exactly where to go to be in the epicenter of the action.
His Nov. 13 hunt began with an adrenaline surge when he saw a small buck at a mere 25 yards right at daylight. He let it pass, but he was thrilled the buck didn’t see or smell him.
The rest of the morning, however, passed much more slowly, giving Corey plenty of time to rethink his setup.
Bowhunters are like that, and they have long memories.
“Two years earlier, I was hunting the same spot when several does went from a small group of trees to this little knoll. I don’t know why, but I just got the feeling that I needed to go over and take a look. I’d never set foot over there before, but I wanted to see what it looked like,” he said.
Remembering that long-ago urge, Corey eventually bailed out of his treestand and headed for the knoll to do a little scouting. He circled until the gentle breeze hit his face, and then he approached it.
His plan was to ease up to and skirt the knoll, and then get to a nearby fence line to see if deer were using it as a travel corridor.
As he approached the rise, he realized it was a perfect bucky spot. Corey then shifted into stalk mode, slowly nocked an arrow and turned his hat around like most traditional archers do, in case he had to shoot.
He could almost sense that fate was dealing him a winning hand.
Soon afterward, he saw a deer heading his way.
“I hunkered down as low as I could get, on my knees with my chest almost on the ground and my bow arm out straight and stiff. I knew that when the buck got up to me, there’d be no time or chance for a lot of movement,” he explained.
Corey watched as the buck made its way to the 20-yard mark. But when it reached the spot, a standoff ensued.
“As soon as the buck got to that hole, it stopped and looked at me. I knew right then that I had to make a decision, so I pulled the arrow to the corner of my mouth and dropped the string,” he said.
As the deer tore out in one direction, Corey ran in the other, straight to the knoll. When he finally reached a point that had a good view, he could see the buck in a nearby cut bean field, obviously hurt. The flicking tail and swaying backside were signaling the end.
Soon, a flurry of text messages went out to friends back home.
“I just shot a big buck!” Corey typed.
“Congrats! How big?” one friend responded.
“Magazine-kinda big!” Corey re-plied emphatically.
Wanting to make sure the deer had time to expire, Corey watched it from approximately 150 yards for nearly 30 minutes until he was convinced it had breathed its last.
The deer weighed an impressive 288 pounds.
Hunter: Corey Bailey
BTR Official Score: 170 5/8
BTR Composite Score: 187
— Photos Courtesy of Corey Bailey This article was published in the November 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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