Rack Magazine

Fish Hook

Fish Hook

By John E. Phillips

A buck with a name pays the ultimate price for feeling a little too cozy.

Where’s Colton?” Brad Geren of Windom, Kansas, asked his wife, Shari.

“Downstairs, I guess,” she replied.

When he didn’t find Colton there, Brad continued searching until he realized his son’s truck wasn’t outside. He deduced that if the 15-year-old hadn’t come straight home from football practice, he was probably sitting in a treestand with his bow.

During the fall months, school, football and deer hunting totally consume Colton’s time. He’s hunted since he was 8 and has taken nine bucks wearing a combined 800 inches of antler. He plays wide receiver and cornerback for the football team.

When Brad called his son to confirm his suspicion, Colton answered with a whispered “Fish Hook won’t leave.”

He was talking about a buck.

“We had three years of trail camera photographs of the buck,” Brad explained. “Its right brow tine goes up, turns down, and then turns up again, causing the end of the antler to look like a barbed hook.

“We’d decided Colton would hunt Fish Hook in 2015,” he continued. “But I’d reminded him the only pictures we were getting of the buck were at the end of legal shooting time. To keep from spooking the deer, he needed to make sure it wasn’t around before coming down his tree.”

And that’s exactly why Colton was still aloft so late. He’d spotted Fish Hook at 50 yards, walking toward him, and he wasn’t about to scare the animal.

“I remembered what Dad told me and sat still,” he said.

Phone pressed to his ear, Colton heard his dad say: “As soon as Fish Hook starts feeding away from you, slowly and quietly go down the backside of the tree and walk away.”

This happened in mid-October. Afterward, Brad and Colton agreed they wouldn’t hunt from that treestand for another couple of weeks — until football season had ended.

Colton returned to that stand about 4 p.m. on Nov. 2. Brad hunted that day as well, about 4 miles from his son’s setup.

On the right and left sides of Colton’s tree were alfalfa fields. In front of and behind him was timber. Deer routinely funneled out of a nearby deep ravine — their bedding area — to feed in the alfalfa.

With only a few minutes remaining in the day, a doe came walking down a woods road about 20 yards from the teenager.

“When I looked behind her, I could see antlers coming out of the thicket about 80 yards away,” Colton said. “I grabbed my binoculars, looked at the rack, and then recognized the buck.

“If he continued in a straight line, I knew I’d have a 10-yard broadside shot at Fish Hook,” he added.

Fish Hook“Once the buck was 30 yards away and behind a tree in front of me, I stood and drew my bow,” Colton continued. “I already had ranged that tree, so I knew the exact yardage.

“My string began to creep as my muscles got tired. Finally, I had let down enough for the string to go over the breaking point of the axle on my bow, and the string jerked my bow hand forward.

“However, I was able to recover quickly before the arrow fell off the rest, and I got my bow back to full draw,” he said.

When the buck walked out from behind the tree, however, Colton didn’t have a shot. Fish Hook then walked within 19 yards and stopped, quartering away from the straining hunter.

Colton put his pin behind the buck’s shoulder and aimed a little high and a little back, so the arrow would slice through both lungs.

When the arrow struck, the buck wheeled 180 degrees and ran.

As a veteran bowhunter who had harvested nine bucks in eight years, Colton remained in the tree. He called his dad, who was in his own stand, and said, “I shot Fish Hook.”

Brad told Colton to wait a few more minutes to get down, and then drive to their friend’s house on the property.

“I was so excited, I went berserk,” Brad smiled. “I called Shari and my 22-year-old son, Colby, and told them Colton had shot Fish Hook. Before I could dial another number, I heard a buck grunt and spotted a doe and a small 10-pointer chasing her. It wasn’t a shooter.

“I probably was a lot more excited than Colton,” he added.

The guys ate hot dogs at the friend’s home before mounting the search for Fish Hook. A sparse blood trail and the back half of the arrow were at the spot where Colton connected.

After following the trail for 150 yards, Brad saw the downed deer and announced, “There’s Fish Hook!”

The broadhead had hit exactly where Colton had aimed, penetrated both lungs and was stuck in the opposite shoulder.

“When I finally put my hands on this buck, I couldn’t say a word,” Colton said. “I was so excited that I was totally speechless.”

Hunter: Colton Geren
BTR Score: 199 6/8
View BTR Scoresheet

This article was published in the June 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd