Norman - the Corn Field Buck
Editor’s Note: Kyle Meyer from Milan, Michigan, has been a Mossy Oak pro for the last 5 years. “I became a pro when I was 19, and I'm 24 now,” Meyer says. Like many of us, Meyer went with his dad deer hunting when he was about 4-years old and started hunting on his own when he was 12, the age at which he could hunt with a bow in Michigan. He’d rather hunt with a bow, but he also hunts with a gun in his home state, one of the top three states for numbers of deer hunters in the U.S. Although Meyer has 6,000 acres of private land to hunt, that only includes about 200 acres of woodlots. According to Meyer, “My favorite Mossy Oak pattern is Treestand, because most of the time, I'm hunting from a tree stand. When I'm in a ground blind, from the waist up, I’ll wear a solid black shirt, gloves and face paint and my Treestand pants. I also wear Mossy Oak Infinity for turkey season, and I like Mossy Oak Bottomland.”
I live in an agricultural area of Michigan. When I tell people I have 6,000 acres to hunt, I really get their attention. However, since most of the 6,000 acres is crop lands, realistically, I only have a few fence rows and some woodlots on that property that I can hunt. So, I have to adapt my hunting not only to small acreages but also to hunting out in the crops. I took my biggest buck ever out in the middle of a corn field. Where I live, deer use corn fields like national forests.
My deer season starts in the summertime. I drive around in the fields and look for bachelor groups of bucks. Also, I put out 24 trail cameras. At night, we legally can use lights to shine for deer. I've learned that the only way I can be successful consistently in taking nice bucks is to scout all year long.
The biggest buck I ever took - Norman - was living in a 300-acre corn field with a small fence line with an 8-acre woodlot that backed up to some houses on the edge of the corn field. On the other side was a 10-acre woodlot. The way I found Norman was pure luck. I was driving home in my jeep, and this monster buck ran across the road in front of me. I didn’t have any trail-camera pictures of this buck, and I hadn’t seen him when I was scouting fields. As soon as I spotted the buck, I said to myself, “That’s a 150-inch buck.” Finding a buck in Michigan with 150 inches or more of antler is tough. I hardly could believe he’d survived to be 4-5 years old. When I arrived home, I told my dad, “I saw a huge buck down by Norman (the name of the farm).”
I went to Norman the next morning and climbed on top of a grain silo with a spotting scope to try and see the buck out in the mile-long field. Finally, I saw the buck come out of a little woodlot and start feeding along the edge of the standing corn. I decided that the only way I could take that buck was to set-up a ground blind just inside the standing corn. So, I went back home, got our John Deere 6400 bucket tractor and drove out in the field that afternoon. Farm equipment doesn’t spook the deer in our region, because they see and hear it throughout most of the year. I parked my tractor by the edge of the corn, left it running and got off the tractor on the opposite side of the woodlot from where the buck had come. I set-up my ground blind and brushed it in with corn stalks about 1/2-mile down the corn field, just inside the standing corn, and about 20 yards from the woodlot where I’d spotted the buck.
However, after 3 days of sitting in that blind, all I’d seen were a few does. I was talking with my one of my buddies after the third day of hunting the blind and told him, “I wonder if that buck has moved into the woodlot behind the houses?” I called my dad and said, “Dad, I need to get the combine and cut a lane right through the middle of the corn that’s still standing.” So, I went to the house, got one of our combines and cut a lane through the standing corn across to the fence line. Then I made an L-shaped lane coming down the edge of the fence line. Of course this wasn’t the proper way to harvest standing corn, but I thought it would provide me with a clear shot at that buck. My L shape was basically in the middle of the field. By placing a ground blind where the parallel lines connected, I thought I’d see the big buck.
Before daylight the next morning I put my dad in the ground blind I’d been hunting from, and I got in the new ground blind where the two lanes connected, after finding it blown over. I set it up again and re-brushed it, but thought I’d probably blown my hunt. I assumed the monster buck was bedded less than 100 yards from the blind. At first light, a doe and a yearling walked right in front of my blind, and they didn’t spook. Then, a little buck came out and started chasing the doe. I looked back at the fence line and spotted a flash of ivory. I grabbed my binoculars and said, “Holy crap, there’s Norman.” He was a big main-frame 10-pointer. He stopped at the fence line and stared at my blind for what seemed like an eternity. Next he stepped through the fence line and started walking up the lane I’d cut with the combine. When he was at 25 yards, he stopped again. I drew my bow, put my pin on the kill zone and released the arrow. As the buck ran off, I realized I didn’t get a clean pass-through, and he went back through the fence line into a neighbor’s corn field.
I called my dad and told him, “I just shot Norman.” I’d named the buck Norman because he was on the Norman farm. I waited 3 hours, then called my neighbor and asked for permission to go into his corn field to try and find Norman. The neighbor said, “Go, ahead. Call me if you need any help getting the deer out.”
The next day, my buddy and I followed the blood trail through the corn. We checked out the little woodlot and located Norman after walking a zigzag pattern out in a 100-acre cornfield. The buck scored 162-1/8 and was an 11-pointer.
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.
Tomorrow: Kyle Meyer Crawls to the Texarkana Buck