The “Baby-G” Objective
By Thomas Allen with David Lindsey
The likelihood of a hunter harvesting a deer that grosses over 200-inches is less than 1%. The odds of a hunter harvesting a mature animal over seven years old is in the same ballpark. But, you know what they say; “You certainly won’t kill one if he doesn’t even exist on the ground you are hunting.” That’s not to say you can’t put in the time by managing your herd’s health and age structure by selective harvest and adequate food input. Match that with effectively improving the existing genetics and you can grow your own 200-incher. (Note: I didn’t say shoot, I said grow.)
To effectively manage a group of deer on a particular piece of ground, or allow bucks to reach their maximum potential, you either need the full cooperation and understanding of your neighbors, or control a large tract of land. Often times, it is nearly impossible to fully gauge the true potential of a buck at the age of four, five, or even six years of age. Whitetail bucks have been known to put on massive amounts of non-typical growth in a single year, as they put on age. I know that passing four or five-year-old bucks can be a true test of a hunter’s discipline. However, this is what you must do if you are completely dedicated to growing big deer.
Mark and Terry Drury are renowned for producing giant whitetails on their properties. They are also known for surrounding themselves with like-minded hunters that contribute to their industry standard-setting television series’ and videos. Through the combination of quality deer management and their efforts to capture as much of their experiences on film, the Drury Outdoors team has shot some of the largest whitetails ever recorded on professional video.
Hard work, pre and post-season scouting, and being disciplined enough to pass young deer can produce tremendous results. Drury Team member and lifelong whitetail fanatic, David Lindsey was able to beat the odds and cash in on a tremendous whitetail known as “Baby-G”.
“During Iowa’s 2009 late muzzleloader season, I had an encounter with a giant deer that I will never forget,” says Lindsey. During the spring of 2006, I bought Mark Drury’s farm in southern Iowa. We remained neighbors and began building a great friendship. By that time the Drurys had already developed a history with a deer known as “Goliath.” Based on all the data they had acquired through trail camera pictures, sheds, and filmed treestand encounters they determined that “Goliath” was most likely born in 2000.”
“The same spring that we purchased the farm we managed to find “Goliath’s” sheds proving to us he was still around,” Lindsey continues. “They scored just over 200 inches as a 6 year old. The following spring we picked up one of his sheds and our neighbor found the match, and we scored him near 250 inches including a 20-inch spread. Fast-forward to 2008 when he just disappeared and we began to wonder if he was even still around. Fast-forward again to December 28th, 2009. I was sitting on a standing bean field with my Thompson/Center scouting for my daughter as she had drawn a late muzzleloader tag. The deer to begin pouring into the food source as expected when suddenly, I looked up and here came… “Goliath!”
David was filming the hunt by himself, which is as difficult as you might imagine. The deer managed to get within his comfortable range and he ended up shooting over his back. Mark Drury is certain, that had David not been filming that night, he would have harvested “Goliath.” Unfortunately, the following day they received news that “Goliath” had been harvested by another hunter nearly three-quarters of a mile down the road. It was not a favorable end to such a long history, but that’s a part of this game we call hunting.
“I had my opportunity to kill him and I didn’t get it done,” Lindsey continued. “To say I was disappointed would really be an understatement. I mean, here I had the new state record right in front of me, and I didn’t get the job done. I was really disappointed in myself.”
“After I sold my farm to the Lindsey’s, I knew over the course of time we would have deer crossing back and forth between the properties,” says Mark Drury. “It was a new chapter for me, I felt good about my new neighbors as David and Jeff Lindsey are as much into whitetails as I am. Having “like-minded” neighbors is very important when working hard to manage your property for big deer.”
“In 2008, a new superstar begins to emerge,” continues Drury. “We nicknamed this deer “Baby-G” short for “Baby Goliath” as he displayed similar traits to former behemoth buck. He had incredible potential to be a giant in the making. David picked up one of ‘Baby-G’s sheds that scored in the mid 60s. During the following summer Baby-G was addicted to my cameras and he had just blown up into a 190 class with points dropping out from everywhere, and our attention shifted from Goliath to Baby-G.”
During 2008, it seemed like he lived on Lindsey’s farm during the summer, then he would move over to Drury’s once the season started, and he would finally end up back on Lindsey’s after the rut had slowed down.
“During the spring of 2010, Mark found one of Baby-G’s sheds,” Lindsey continued. “It seemed like he lived on Mark’s place most of October and early November, which is when Terry Drury had a very close encounter with Baby-G but he and his camera man were unable to get on the deer at the same time. Having that deer at 30 yards and on film was just an awesome encounter.”
“We were keeping our eyes open for Baby-G, but I was after another nice buck,” Lindsey says. “In all honesty, I really wanted my son, Jeff to shoot Baby-G, but he said he’d rather I kill him, and we went back and forth on the issue a few times. Neither one of us stepped up to the plate and tried to hunt him, so he had relatively low pressure. Finally, during Iowa’s late muzzleloader season I said to Jeff; ‘If you’re not going to hunt him, then I will.”
“With only a few pictures of Baby-G during November, he began to show up with some consistency once winter set in,” he says. “He showed up regularly around our crop fields and during daylight, which is when I knew it was time to get in there and kill him.”
David had one encounter with him earlier during Iowa’s late muzzleloader season where he just showed up out of a bottom and Lindsey was able to get the hammer pulled back on his T/C back, but Baby-G immediately bedded down before he could get a shot.
“I knew he was using that field consistently, but my son, Jeff recommended we set up a ground blind in the standing corn, closer to where he showed up a few nights earlier,” Lindsey explains. “Finally, I got a favorable wind for Jeff’s plan, which the wind would not have worked with the box blind I was in that night Baby-G showed up and bedded down. We got in there and brushed in the blind really well. Normally, we prefer to not hunt a ground blind for a few days. Rather we let them get used to it before we move in and hunt, but I knew that buck was in the area and the conditions were perfect. The conditions were going to hold for one day; I had to try.”
“We had that blind crammed full of our gear, including camera equipment,” he says. “When the deer finally begin to filter into the field, they acted kind of spooky. At one time, I actually opened the blind to leave as I felt things were just too risky. For some reason, I changed my mind. They appeared to be concerned more with hunger than they were with the new blind as they got used to it right away.”
David’s camera guy, Matt let him know that a big buck had just appeared from his side of the blind. They had expected Baby-G to come from directly in front of them, but he had come in from the right, which was where Matt was sitting. They had to change places so David could get a shot. They managed to get the switch done without spooking any deer and David got into position to take the shot.
“I could see the deer, but Matt was having a hard time locating him in the camera,” Lindsey says. “We finally communicated just enough where Matt had the camera frame on what he thought was the deer, and I decided to shoot. I saw Baby-G run off out of view and we decided to wait until dark before leaving. We got back up to the house, made some calls, and waited for some of the other guys to come back in to help with the track job.”
After the crew had joined back up, they went back out to the field hoping to locate David’s deer. Sure enough, he didn’t go far at all as the perfectly placed shot did the trick. The moment when David picked up Baby-G’s head was a moment of pure elation. The look on his face and the reaction of the other guys with him really illustrate why we pursue big bucks year in and year out.
“It was the kind of moment you always dream about, but you don’t really expect it. We all knew he was huge, but little did we know just how big he was!” Lindsey exclaimed.
David Lindsey knows that sharing the outdoors with friends and family is at the core of our hunting heritage, but it’s also about working for years to manage a property and grow big whitetails. He loves the time he gets to spend with his entire family in the outdoors creating new memories, but the chase is right up there.
“You always hear that hard work pays off, but that’s just not always the case,” he says. “There are lots of hunters who work just as hard, if not harder than we do that don’t ever get an opportunity at a whitetail like this and that makes this that much more special, even though I know there were other hunters after him, like both Mark and Terry. I have been blessed with a tremendous whitetail, but I will be back out there next year all season long.”
“Jeff and I are just ate up with this whitetail hunting thing, but my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law also hunt with me,” he continues. “It allows ample quality time together. Getting to watch the video and relive the stories together is an added bonus we all enjoy. It is a year-round thing for us. I don’t want to say we live for it, but it’s almost like we do.”
The Lindsey family is a fine example of why we as whitetail fanatics pursue them with the intensity that we do. They are true sportsmen and stewards of the resource, but more than that, they demonstrate the kind of discipline that it takes to let these deer reach their maximum potential. It’s not an easy task, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice, especially when it measures 236 2/8”.