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Losing the Draw, Winning the Lottery

Hunter: Brant Lamm

By Brant Lamm
Photos Courtesy of Brant Lamm

My dad, Keith, brother Jason and I applied for Kansas tags in May 2007. Their names were drawn, but mine was not.

Based on a recommendation from a friend, I booked a hunt with River's Bend Trophy Outfitters in Indiana. And because the date wouldn't interfere with his trip to Kansas, Dad decided to accompany me.

Our hunt began Nov. 2 in Posey County, Ind.  We were treated to some new ground that outfitter Joe Smith had acquired. The deer sign there was incredible.

Even so, three days into the hunt, all we'd seen were a bunch of does. But the arrival of a cold front changed everything.

Another hunter in camp had shot a 162-inch 11-pointer on the second day, and his hunt had been videotaped. I volunteered to let the cameraman, Daniel Thomas, video me for the last three days he would be there.

I rattled in two 8-pointers the next morning, but neither was good enough for me. That afternoon, we went way in the back of a cornfield where a guide spotted a 180-class buck. We saw only does, but the place was covered up with buck sign. I couldn't wait to go back to that stand, but I'd have to wait until the afternoon because there was no way to approach it in the morning without spooking deer.

More than ready to make things happen, I announced I was going to carry a buck decoy with me. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I knew that if the time was right, it would work. The previous year, I'd arrowed a big 8-pointer in Kansas that attacked my decoy.

The afternoon was really exciting. We had a 120-inch 8-pointer wanting to fight, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I also spotted a big 10-pointer making a scrape about 300 yards down the tree line. I rattled to get its attention.

Hunter: Brant LammThe big 5x5 sauntered stiffly toward the decoy, its hair raised and ears back. It circled the fake buck, but it would not come any closer than 55 yards. I grunted to coax it, but to no avail.

Daniel and I showed the video footage that night at the lodge. Everyone was eager to get in the woods the next day.

Daniel had to leave the next morning, so he wished me luck.

When I returned to the cornfield stand that afternoon, it was just me and my decoy, which I set up closer to me.

About 4:00, I saw a huge buck come into the cornfield about 400 yards down the tree line, but it immediately started chasing two does the other way. I thought it was gone for good. I saw a few more smaller bucks, but nothing like the big one I'd seen earlier.

Just when I was thinking the hunt was over, here came the monster, chasing two does out of the woods about 80 yards away. When I grunted, it began walking toward the decoy, obviously peeved that the little upstart was daring to share the same ground.

I drew my bow and was waiting for the buck to clear some branches, but it stopped one step short of the opening. I remained calm, waiting for it to take another step. And that's when one of the does snorted. She'd winded me.

The buck spooked, jumped and started to leave.

Tossing stealth to the wind, I quickly squatted to shoot under the branches that were still in my way. The deer was quartering away from me sharply, so I aimed just inside the hindquarter and squeezed my release. The arrow buried up to its vanes.

Subscribe Today!The buck ran just a little ways, and then slowly walked across the edge of the field into the woods. Although I was confident the arrow had angled in perfectly, I decided to wait until the next morning to pick up the trail.

After a sleepless night, we recovered the monster just 50 yards into the woods. Then the celebration began.

I've never seen so many grown men hugging and high-fiving in my life. The buck had 19 scoreable points and was bigger than I thought. The lady at the check-in station said she had never seen one that size.

The hunt was even more special to me because my dad was there.

Hunter: Brant Lamm
Official Score: 192 3/8"
Composite Score: 212 5/8"
Compound Bow

-- Reprinted from the November 2008 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine.

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