Coming into the 2010 archery deer season, Nick Brumley knew that there were good bucks on the property that he hunts in Jefferson County. In fact, he had tried his best last season to close the deal on a big 12-pointer that he had seen there on multiple occasions. So, as opening day approached, Nick went out to the farm to an area that he knew consistently held deer and put out corn that he had treated with liquid C’Mere Deer and hung a trail camera nearby. To say he had high expectations for the upcoming season would be an understatement. What he discovered when he returned to check the camera a week later, however, was beyond anything he could have imagined.
“I brought my laptop out to the farm with me to check the card in the trail camera. The first eight pictures were all of a small 8-pointer, but when I flipped to that ninth picture, I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
Brumley found himself staring at a massive, world-class, main-frame 10-pointer that would impress even the most accomplished hunter. And it wasn’t just one picture in the middle of the night, as is often the case when dealing with a big, mature whitetail buck. Brumley had 25 pictures of the big buck on his camera over the course of that first week, with most occurring in the evening, just before dark.
As the next few weeks passed, Brumley continued to get picture after picture of the massive buck that his little girl Kyndal had since knicknamed “Butch”.
“Every week, the pictures just kept getting better.”, said Brumley. “He was posing at all angles giving me a real good look at his rack.”
On average, the buck was making appearances – during daylight hours – six out of seven days. Knowing that he was going to have a real shot at harvesting this deer, Brumley was finding it harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep. Keeping up his weekly routine of freshening the C’Mere Deer and corn and checking the trail camera, Brumley began to make his final preparations for opening day.
“The Thursday before the season opened, I slipped out to the farm around 1 o’clock to put up a set of climbing sticks and my Lone Wolf climber,” said Brumley.
Because he was getting a lot of deer pictures during the morning hours, the hunter knew that trying to slip into the stand before daylight would most likely bump deer in the area, and potentially blow his chances of harvesting the big buck. As hard as it was going to be, Brumley knew that sitting out opening morning would be his best option. By 4pm that afternoon, the hunter was in his Lone Wolf stand filled with the anticipation of what the evening hunt would bring. Within an hour, deer began filtering into the area to feed. Shortly after 7pm, Brumley caught movement off to his right and his heart skipped a beat when he saw the 8-pointer that always accompanied the big buck come into the field.
“When I saw that 8-pointer, it was a pure adrenaline rush,” Brumley said. “I knew that big buck had to be right behind him.”
With every passing minute, however, that adrenaline rush gave way to despair. Brumley watched as the sun set on the opening day of deer season, and the big buck was no where to be found. Waiting until well after dark and quietly slipped out of his stand and back to his truck, wandering what could have possibly caused “Butch” not to show up this evening. All he could do was hope this was the deer’s “day off” that it seemed to take about once a week.
Sunday afternoon found Brumley returning to the farm early to get settled in for the hunt. Before climbing into his stand, he placed a video camera and tripod he had brought on an old wagon sitting nearby and pointed it in the direction of where the deer tended to feed. He then proceeded to hit the record button and climbed into his stand. By 4:30pm, he already had deer in the field working his way.
“I had ten to fifteen deer around me all evening, and I was on pins and needles the whole time wandering if he was going to show up,” said Brumley.
Sometime around 7pm, the hunter was surprised to see a nice 130 to 140-inch ten pointer that he had never seen before coming in from behind. The deer came directly under Brumley’s stand, where it began to feed. After 30 painstaking minutes of watching the big buck hang out right underneath of him, a commotion off to the hunter’s right caught his attention. The 8-pointer from the night before had just jumped the barbed wire fence and was entering the field. With the previous night’s experience still on his mind, Brumley was calmer and trying his best not to get his hopes up again. That thought quickly faded, however, when a second commotion caused the hunter to look back towards the fence line where the 8-pointer had just entered the field, and standing in its place was a giant of a buck – Butch!
The big, main-frame 10-pointer slowly worked his way across the field and right towards Brumley. As the deer neared bow range, the hunter drew back his Mathews Switchback and readied for the shot. The big buck continued to come in, and Brumley didn’t want to chance spooking the deer by stopping him with a grunt. Instead, the hunter let down on his bow and waited for a better shot to present itself. The deer finally stopped broadside right next to a stump that Brumley had ranged at 17 yards earlier in the evening. Without even thinking, Brumley brought his Mathews bow to full draw, settled his 20-yard pin behind the bucks shoulder and released the arrow. What happened next was all a blur, and the hunter watched as the bruiser ran off and out of sight.
Surprisingly, the smaller 10-pointer remained under the hunter’s stand, seemingly oblivious to what had just transpired. Most of the other deer ran off with the large buck, but within a matter of minutes, they began returning to the field. Brumley, who initially thought he had made a good shot, began to second guess himself. While he sat in his stand, replaying the shot over in his head, one of the does out front began to blow, and the field quickly emptied.
Hoping to put his mind at ease, Brumley decided to slip down out of his stand and over to where the deer had been standing. There on the ground lay his arrow – covered in bright red blood. Feeling better about his shot now, the hunter decided his best option was to back out and give the deer some time to expire.
The next forty-five minutes were spent talking to the landowner about everything that had just occurred. Sure that the big buck should be down for the count at this point, Brumley headed back to the field to blood trail his deer. To his dismay, there were only a few drops of blood at the initial point of contact. His mind racing at this point with all the possibilities, Brumley decided to review the footage from the video camera he had placed nearby. He was relieved to see the arrow impact the deer’s vitals right behind the front shoulder, right where he had placed his pin.
With renewed hope, he took back to the blood trail, heading in the direction that he had last seen the deer. Before he even traveled 100 yards from where he had found his arrow, Brumley caught a glimpse of the side of the buck’s rack. Unsure if he was down, the hunter quickly dropped to the ground to avoid taking a chance on bumping the deer. As he slowly eased back up to get a better look, Brumley could clearly see that the buck was down for the count. He raced over to finally lay his hands on those massive antlers.
“To actually see the buck laying there, I was just dumbfounded,” said Brumley. “I just couldn’t believe I had gotten this deer. I know I had to have the biggest smile on my face ever!”
And what’s not to smile about! While the deer can’t be officially scored until after the required 60 day drying period, it was recently rough green-scored at 204” gross, with a net score of 187”.
The first thing you notice on the huge, velvet-covered rack is the mass, which is defined by its 6” bases and circumference measurements that range from 5” at the narrowest point, to over 8” between the left G2 and G3. Equally impressive are the bucks 12” G2s and 11” G3s coming off the 26” main beams. Combine all that with a 20+” inside spread, and you have yourself one world-class Kentucky whitetail. Regardless of what the buck ends up officially scoring, it is safe to say that Nick Brumley shot the buck-of-a-lifetime.
The best part of the whole story lies in the fact that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. As I talked with Brumley, a full week after the hunt had occurred, you can still hear the excitement and disbelief in his voice. He thanks God for the opportunity to harvest such a magnificent animal and credits his wife for not only tolerating, but actually encouraging him to get out and enjoy his passion for bowhunting.
Even though “Butch” will be a tough act to top, Brumley still plans to get out and give it his best shot. With an Indiana deer tag in his wallet, who knows what the future will bring. One thing’s for sure, though…if he doesn’t fill another tag this season, I think he can still mark the 2010 Kentucky deer season as one he will never forget!