Nineteen-year-old Luke Lohan might be flying blind when he climbs his next treestand.
The kid from St. Clairsville hunted the same Ohio buck for three seasons before removing it from his most-wanted list in 2017. So unless his trail cameras yield some new incentive this summer, he’ll head afield with only fingers crossed.
Luke is a heavy equipment operator in the oil and gas fields of eastern Ohio. He hunts his family’s 46 acres in Belmont County.
The 24-pointer was nocturnal and mostly camera-shy in 2015 and 2016, but things changed this past season.
“Something happened in 2017 I cannot explain,” Luke told Ed Waite, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine. “The buck decided our property was the place to be. I was getting several good, up-close pictures in every 24-hour cycle.
“Sometimes, I was getting 20 or more pictures at my feeder,” he added. “I was also getting pictures of the deer moving between its bedding area and the food plot.”
The photos abruptly stopped on Sept. 19.
“I was devastated; didn’t know what to do,” Luke said. “I even went so far as to hire a young high school friend to walk the surrounding areas, looking to see if he could find a carcass near a watering place.”
The giant whitetail had not succumbed to EHD, however. It came home the first week of October.
It rained Monday morning, Oct. 9, which cut short Luke’s work day. Soon, he was 35 feet up a tree. After breaking for an hour-long, mid-afternoon lunch, he returned.
“Just after 6:00, I tried some light rattling and added a soft grunt or two,” he said. “At 6:35, this buck came slipping in from downwind. It was on a mission to see who or what was in its woods”
The shot was 24 yards.
“You have no idea what an incredible high you get from walking up on downed 200-plus-inch buck and wrapping your hands around those antlers,” Luke told Ed.
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