They say too much pressure can ruin a stand. Notice they didn’t say “always.”
Ellen Turner, who is a kitchen and bathroom designer when not in the deer woods, took up hunting just eight short years ago after marrying into a hunting family. She migrated to archery straight away as that was the longest season in Ohio.
She began with a crossbow, but quickly shied away from them because she was unable to re-cock it herself in a treestand. Thus she was limited to one shot, with no chance for a follow-up. The alternative then was a compound bow, which has now become her favorite weapon.
Ellen’s love for hunting has taken her to many exotic places, including Africa and New Zealand. She was so smitten with the latter that she and her new husband decided to re-marry there, along with another couple who had gone to hunt.
Even with all her foreign travels, the white-tailed deer is and likely will remain her favorite big game animal.
Now Ellen, who abhors heights, understands that to be successful, a bowhunter must get above her prey. She has to muster all of her courage to climb that ladder stand each day afield. She does what is necessary to get that shot opportunity.
She is also very mindful of scent control. She always showers with unscented soap and carries an Ozonics unit whenever she goes afield.
She has a farm to hunt where the stand location has a whole new set of uncommon everyday occurrences for the wind to swirl and eddy. No one else wants to bother with all that is necessary to be able to successfully hunt that farm and particular stand.
She was more or less relegated to it. She makes the best of the situation.
From the September opener until she saw the buck the first time, she had been to the stand a total of 20 days.
“I use a ladder stand, and sit about 16 feet above ground, just inside the woods bordering a soybean field,” she said. “My stand is about in the middle of the long side of the field, maybe 5 or 6 feet in the woods.
“Straight out into the field, I placed two rocks at 30 and 36 yards, the latter being the edge of my comfort zone,” Ellen added.
“It is my habit to bring along a single cup of corn to drop in the same place in the bean field. I also carry several apples that I crush and leave on the ground. The local does have become accustomed to my approach and almost as soon as the corn is on the ground, they come on in,” she said. “I don’t like to leave a pile of corn and have the deer come to feed after I am gone.
“Each afternoon I hunted, I followed the same routine: took my shower with unscented soap, donned my hunting clothes, and carefully made my way to the woods. After spilling out the corn and crushing the apples, I would ascend my ladder and prepare to wait,” Ellen continued.
After just a few days, an absolutely huge and gluttonous button buck was a regular at her little corn pile. It soon became a daily race between the little buck and the resident does.
A new deer joined, or at least witnessed, the race on Oct. 24.
“After I deposited the cup of corn, I saw a doe with her yearlings come running my way for the free food. Soon afterward, I saw a big buck coming toward the stand, following several more does,” she said.
“It was a regal-looking 14-pointer with about a 20-inch spread,” Ellen said. “It came down the field, but never closer than 50 yards, and it eventually turned around and left.”
She went back on Friday, hoping the buck would return.
“As usual, the wind was swirling,” Ellen said. “Four does came out to my right from a trail downwind of me. As they entered the field, they kept looking over their shoulders and back into the woods.
“These does knew I was there, and they felt safe as I’d never made threatening moves to alarm them. They were my bait for the bucks,” she explained.
“Not long afterward, this buck entered the field from about the same trail. It came right over to my small apple pile and began eating. It stood at 18 yards for 15 minutes, munching apples and looking directly at me. It was unnerving.
“I couldn’t draw as the buck was constantly eyeballing me. I wanted to take a shot, but my best angle was a spine shot, and I didn‘t even consider that. So I waited, watched and sweated it out, hoping the animal would turn broadside.
“When the wind suddenly changed, and all five deer scattered in different directions across the bean field. They never left the field, just moved much farther away from me. After several agonizing minutes, the does started returning to the small stash of corn. The buck stood off quite a distance, looking downfield — at what, I don’t know,” she said.
“The buck was moving slowly as it watched the far side of the field. Suddenly, it was walking between my rocks, then it stopped right there.
“I wish I had video of the buck as it stood there staring into the distance. The does were eating corn, unconcerned with my presence, so I stood slowly, bow in hand, and drew and released. I shot the deer straight through the heart at 32 yards!
“The buck ran 60 yards into the bean field and collapsed. I kept waiting for the longest time for its head to go down before I realized that wasn’t going to happen. The rack was holding it up,” she said.
Ellen called her husband, and he was able to drive right up to the deer.
“Word spread quickly that I’d taken the buck of everyone’s dreams,” she said. “Even the landowner was calling neighbors to come have a look. It was really funny to see several people posing for pictures with my buck, and I wasn’t even in them.
“I found out later that the man hunting the thicket across the road from me had been hunting this particular buck for three years. He had trail camera photographs and even several of its sheds from previous years. Unfortunately for him, the buck decided to cross the road after a few does.
“Luckily for me, I was in my stand and ready when it did,” Ellen smiled.
Editor’s Note: Ed Waite is a master scorer and regional director for Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records. A longtime contributor to Rack magazine, he has also published two volumes of big deer tales, “Wallhangers” and “Wallhangers II,” which are available at bookstores, online and through WallhangersUSA.com.
Hunter: Ellen Turner
BTR Score: 193 1/8
View BTR Scoresheet
This article was published in the February 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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