Hunting > Whitetails

Randy Bradley’s “Bad-Luck Buck"

These monster bucks weren’t killed on private ranches by high-paying clients, but by hard-hunting blue-collar guys who’ve learned to hunt.

Things weren’t going so hot for Randy Bradley on opening morning of Kentucky’s bow season. He woke up to a trailer with a flat tire. He changed it, pinched his back and then had trouble loading his 4-wheeler on slick ramps. Randy finally got it done and made it to his hunting area. He fired his ATV and motored up on a big fallen tree; he took a different trail, got turned around in the dark. When he found his stand, his flashlight batteries bit the dust. After all this, he climbed into position at 4 a.m. Good thing he got an early start.

“With the luck I was having, I decided not to hang my bow because it would probably fall out the tree,” Randy said, “so I sat there and held it.”

But he didn’t mind. He knew he was in a good spot and wanted to be ready. In August he’d gotten trail-cam photos of a monster running with a 7-pointer.

A tad after 6 a.m. Randy saw a deer coming—the 7-pointer in his pictures. He heard another deer—it was Mr. Big! Out of nowhere a spike showed up and spooked the two bucks. Randy wondered what else could go wrong, but the bucks settled down and drifted closer. He pulled his bow—the arrow popped off the string and hit the stand with a clink. The deer flinched.
“I was about to lose it then,” Randy said, but the bucks calmed again and walked near his stand. He nocked another arrow and fired it at 6:23 a.m.

Randy waited 30 minutes, got down and found blood everywhere. He followed the trail for 60 yards until it quit. He pulled out and went to get his boy and a friend. They came back around 10 a.m. and found the velvet giant about 30 yards from where Randy quit looking. Randy’s “Bad-Luck Buck” grossed 193 and netted 1851/8 Pope and Young.

Randy’s Keys to Success:
Most big deer travel with at least one small buck during the summer months and into bow season. Get to know and recognize the young deer from cam photos and/or glassing. If you see him from your stand, get ready, big daddy is close.
Some days nothing seems to go right and you think, I’ll never kill a deer today. Well, re-focus, keep hunting hard and remember Randy’s 190-class “Bad-Luck Buck.” The fate of a hunt can change on a dime.

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