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Chasing “Trump”

I am more excited for this hunting season to get started than I have been for several years. It has become increasing difficult over the years to even find a buck that gets me excited but that is not the case this season. In July I captured a series of trail camera photos of a buck that would cause any serious deer hunter to lose sleep. The long-tined bruiser has 16 total points and will surely score north of 180″ when all is said and done. After reviewing photos taken at the same location in previous years I feel certain that this buck is now 6 1/2 years old. In fact I have photos of this buck every summer since 2012 when he was a 2 1/2 year old youngster.

One would think that with that much history regarding this buck, I should have a fairly good shot at killing him. I wish that were the case but instead this is going to be a very tough challenge. You see, even though I have this bucks photos for the last 5 summers, about the only thing I really know about him is where he spends his summers. He relocates every year in early fall around the time he sheds his antler velvet. Up until now I never cared where he went because his best rack was the 150″-160″ 13 point rack that he carried last year as a 5 1/2 year old. I am now looking to target bucks over 170″ and although this buck caught my eye last summer as a potential buck to keep tabs on, I really didnt put any effort at all into learning more about his habits and haunts. Big mistake!

So here I am in late summer trying to figure out where this buck relocates to each fall. I know he doesnt stay put because even though I maintain trail cameras in the same area where I get his summer photos, I have only gotten photos of him twice during hunting season. Both times were at night and during October. What is interesting is that these October photos happened when the buck was 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old and when the crop rotation was the same as it is this year when he is 6 1/2 years old. That is the only detail that I have been able to conclude from studying his trail camera photos. My hope is that he is in this area at least some of the time this October. That isnt much to count on when chasing bucks of this caliber. I really need to figure out where he goes during the rut and late season to have a decent chance at killing him.

I have never been one to name the bucks I hunt but this buck has me fired up in a way that I havent been for a while so I decided he needs a name. I settled on “Trump”. This fall as Donald Trump makes a run at the White House I am going to make a run at tagging this buck named Trump. I hope that in the end I can look at the mount of this great whitetail buck hanging on my wall for the rest of my life and remember chasing him the fall that Donald Trump won the presidency and turned our country around.

Recently when I showed photos of Trump the buck to a friend, he asked “What do you think your odds are of killing him?” I gave that question a lot of thought and to be honest I think my odds are less than 25% this season. There is just too many factors working against me with this buck, primarily the fact that I dont know where he goes when he shifts from his summer range to his fall range. If … “IF” he survives another year and I get to hunt him again in 2017, I think my odds move closer to 50-50 provided I can figure out where he goes and then secure hunting permission on a key property or two. This season I am going to put forth a lot of effort chasing Trump and hopefully get a crack at him. At the very least I will put together a few more pieces of the puzzle and be in a much better position to tag him next season should he survive.

I am going to be making regular posts to this blog throughout hunting season regarding my efforts to tag this great buck. I will be sharing lessons learned, trail camera photos and stories from hunts. For facebook users, “like” and “follow” my page Don Higgins/Higgins Outdoors to read these blog entries as they happen.  https://www.facebook.com/higginsoutdoors/