posted on July 02, 2012 06:44
By Mike Handley
Seven-year-old Ethan Dorff of Carlyle, Ill., might well be the country's next millionaire -- in $5 increments -- if he can get a patent on the bottle-less buck lure he invented last fall.
Prior to the 2011 hunting season, Ethan accompanied his father, Doug, to the woods to hang a new stand about 100 yards from where Doug spotted a monstrous whitetail two years earlier. While Doug wrestled the stand onto a tree, Ethan built a teepee of sticks nearby.
"I told him that teepee was going to ruin the deer hunting," Doug said, fully intending to scatter the sticks before they left. Before he could do it, however, his wife, Joni, called and scattered his intentions.
"I ended up leaving the teepee there," he added.
The first day Doug bowhunted from the new stand, a doe walked right up to the teepee and stuck her head into it. Before that, he'd been prepared to kick it down when he left. But he wound up shooting her and leaving Ethan's deer attractor intact.
Later in the archery season, any plan of removing the teepee was forever forgotten.
"I was back in the same stand, watching a doe, and she turned and looked behind her," Doug said. "I looked, too, and saw a tree moving. A 10-pointer was rubbing it."
The buck abandoned the rub and hurried through the area, moving too quickly for Doug to get off a shot through the timber ... that is, until the buck stopped and took a long, hard look at the teepee.
"If it hadn't stopped to stare at the teepee, I wouldn't have gotten a shot," Doug said. "I guess it's true that deer really are curious."
Doug was back in that stand when the shotgun season opened on Nov. 18.
"Just before 7 a.m., I happened to turn around and saw a buck about 50 yards away, looking at the teepee," Doug said. "It began walking away, and I grunted to no avail.
"Then I hollered 'Hey!' and it stopped. The deer was only about 70 yards away, quartering," he added. "When I shot, it did a donkey kick and took off running."
At 167 4/8 inches (not counting the nearly 20-inch inside spread), Doug's 12-pointer is No. 31 among shotgun-felled Semi-irregulars in Illinois. Lisa Price's story about this cool buck will appear in Rack magazine this fall.