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He Who Walks Behind the Rows

Hunter: Rod Stumbo

Rod Stumbo of Shelby, Ohio, snaked almost 60 yards through corn rows in order to get a shot at this bedded 21-pointer that ranks No. 10 among bow-taken Irregulars in Ohio.

By Tony Seals
Photos by Ned Harris

In Nov. 5, 2009, Ohio archer Rod Stumbo stalked his way into the BTR record book by successfully putting the sneak on a giant irregular whitetail. Call it what you will, fate or divine intervention, but after making the 10-mile drive to his hunting area for a short afternoon hunt, Rod was disappointed when he realized the wind had changed and would not be good for the stand he’d planned to use. After some deliberation, he decided to still-hunt a grassy drainage between a large standing cornfield and a swampy bedding area.

“The waterway has always been a great travel corridor when the corn is on,” Rod said. “And, although the property is mostly open farmland, I usually see at least one shooter buck in the area every season.”

Due to the size of the tracks Rod had been noticing both entering and leaving the waterway, he knew a big deer was frequenting the corn. After traveling only a short distance along the waterway, his suspicions were confirmed when he spotted the brute of a buck bedded with a doe in the distance and on the opposite side.

“I don’t know how the buck didn’t see me,” he admitted.

Rod quickly melted into corn rows to formulate a game plan. After checking the wind direction and removing the bulky fanny pack from his waist, Rod ranged the buck at 86 yards. He checked his bow and crept toward the bedded pair for what seemed like an eternity.

The next time he ranged them, he was within 40 yards. After several more carefully placed steps, he closed the gap to 30.

Hunter: Rod Stumbo“The buck still was not alarmed, so I decided to try to get a little closer,” Rod said.

At 23 yards, Rod did not want to push the envelope and readied himself to take a shot at the still-bedded buck. He slowly eased his bow between the corn rows before coming to full draw.

“I took my time and settled my 20-yard pin on the buck’s vitals before taking a deep breath and squeezing the release’s trigger,” he said.

The carbon arrow, tipped with a razor sharp four-bladed broadhead, found its mark, zipping cleanly through both lungs before the buck could react. After the slice-and-dice, the buck disappeared into the corn rows.

After regaining his composure, the bowhunter searched the area where the buck had entered the corn and found a very promising frothy, bright red trail. After following it for only 60 yards, he found the dead giant. A glance at his watch confirmed a “time of death” of 3 p.m., close to an hour from the beginning of the stalk.

While placing his tag on the buck’s rack, a quick examination revealed lots of previously unseen points on the massive antlers, including an incredible velvet-tipped, paddle-like point that extends more than 12 inches from the base of the left P-2.

Subscribe Today!“The rack was much bigger and heavier than I had originally thought, and the buck’s neck was huge,” said Rod. “I’ve been chasing whitetails with a stick and string since I was about 12 years old, harvesting my first buck at the age of 14. Although I have taken several decent bucks with archery gear over the years while hunting from elevated stands and by stalking, none even come close to the caliber of this monster.”

After making several calls on his cell phone to friends and family members, a large group that included his wife and daughters met the excited hunter at the harvest site to take photos, offer their congratulations and help him remove the 250-pound buck from the field.

After talking with other hunters in the area and the property owner, Rod was surprised to discover that nobody else had seen the enormous buck before that day — testament to how reclusive a mature whitetail can be.

Rod feels blessed to have had the opportunity to harvest this animal. He also sprang for a full-body mount to remind him of that special hunt.

Hunter: Rod Stumbo
Official Score: 201 3/8
Composite Score: 218 3/8
Compound Bow
Irregular

-- Reprinted from the September 2010 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine.

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