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Michael Ahlfeldt’s Long Shot at a Bow Buck Deer in Ohio on 235 Acres

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John’s Note: Longtime deer hunter Michael Ahlfeldt of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, took his bow buck of a lifetime in 2010. To accomplish this goal, he first learned how to locate a piece of property with the potential to produce a trophy bow buck, how to manipulate the habitat on that property to hold a trophy buck, how to find that trophy buck and hunt him, and how to successfully take that trophy buck. This week, Ahlfeldt will show us the steps he took that you can follow to take the buck of a lifetime with your bow.

Michael Ahlfeldt’s Long Shot at a Bow Buck Deer in Ohio on 235 Acres - 2“The first time I saw Big Louie (see Day 2), the big buck I wanted to take, was in August at our Ohio-leased property,” Michael Ahlfeldt remembers.

“I got a trail-camera picture of him, and my friends and I decided this was the biggest buck we’d ever seen in our lives.

Big Louie was a typical 12 point with two drop tines and four sticker points.

From our trail-camera survey, we spotted another trophy buck that would score 182-4/8-points on Boone & Crockett. We named him Captain Hook. We couldn’t believe the small property we’d leased in Ohio had these two tremendous-sized bucks on them. Bow season started in 2010 on October 2 in Ohio, and I was the only member of the club who hunted the first day of the season. I’d see two to three bucks in the morning and two to three in the evening that would score 120 to 140 B&C points. But I was waiting for Big Louie or Captain Hook. I’d already taken 120- and 140-class bucks, and the purpose for getting this lease was to take trophy bucks.” When you know trophy bucks are living on the property you hunt, you may have to pass on some nice-sized bucks to take that buck of your dreams. Besides the two monster bucks on the property, Ahlfeldt and his hunting buddies also had seen four other bucks that would score 150 B&C or better, so they knew the trophy potential on this particular property was unbelievable.

“The Good Lord really blessed us by leading us to a lease that had this many big bucks living on it,”

Ahlfeldt says. “This is the type of property my friends and I had dreamed about our entire lives. But we needed a major miracle for us to get the property, and after we’d leased the property, the potential of taking a buck, any buck, seemed like a long shot.” Another gentleman had wanted to lease the land before Ahlfeldt and his friends got the lease. But this first man went to the landowner the day after Ahlfeldt had expressed interest in leasing the property and said he didn’t want to lease the land, because there were no deer on it. That’s how Ahlfeldt and his friends got the lease. Ahlfeldt made a 7-hour drive the day after he got the phone call from the landowner to pay him and secure the lease. But he didn’t see much deer sign. Even after the deer came out of the velvet, Ahlfeldt and his friends only found a few rubs and scrapes and not much deer sign. Ahlfeldt wondered if they really had leased a piece of property with no deer on it, even though the land had all the elements necessary to hold big deer.

“The deer were spending most of their time in that 35-acre woodlot, because it was really thick with a lot of saplings and an overabundance of briars,” Ahlfeldt explains. “This sanctuary was extremely thick, because the landowner had cleared a portion of this land to build a 6-acre pond and then decided not to build a pond. There was no good reason for the deer to come out of that sanctuary until we planted the green fields.”

Michael Ahlfeldt’s Long Shot at a Bow Buck Deer in Ohio on 235 Acres - 3

Once the green fields were planted, and the trail cameras started photographing a large number of big bucks, Ahlfeldt and his friends knew their long shot had paid-off in big-buck dividends.
Ahlfeldt learned that:

* just because someone is ahead of you to lease a piece of prime deer land doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to lease that land, especially if the landowner knows that he has other potential lessees;
* when there’s thick cover and grown-up fields, deer may not leave as much sign as you’ll find in open woods;
* if the habitat dictates there should be trophy bucks on the property, and the land’s located in a state that historically has produced trophy bucks, no one may have leased the land, because of the lack of deer sign they can see, which may give you the opportunity to lease that land;
* until you do a trail-camera survey of the property, you can’t really know how-many bucks of what size the property’s holding; and
* when you put in green fields in conjunction with your camera survey, you may not only see the bucks living on the property, but also the bucks that come back and forth from other nearby lands to feed on that green field.

Michael Ahlfeldt’s Long Shot at a Bow Buck Deer in Ohio on 235 Acres - 1

To learn more about deer hunting, you can get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” or to prepare venison, get “Deer & Fixings.” Click here to get these books.
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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors.

Next: Michael Ahlfeldt Discusses Food Plot Plantings for Trophy Buck Deer and Helping Landowners

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