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Ohio's Trad Trophy

Adam Thiel just wanted to kill an Ohio buck with his recurve bow, but he had no idea the giant he would end up tagging!

Ohio's Trad Trophy

It’s no secret that Ohio churns out bruiser bucks, but northwest Ohio is not the part of the state that jumps to the front of your mind when thinking about top trophy producing counties. Yet, Adam Thiel has tagged a few giants in that region over the years. And his 2021 buck taken with traditional archery equipment is just another example of how knowledge and dedication help some hunters achieve success more often than others. Adam is no stranger to killing mature bucks – some bucks that others only dream of. A large part of his success stems from his dedication, and his 170-inch gross buck from last fall proves it.

A dedicated bowhunter with a handful of dandies to his credit, last year Adam decided to tote his recurve during the season, thinking that even a buck in the 120-inch range would be a huge success. As it turned out, he did a little better than that!

A SURPRISE SHOOTER

The buck Adam killed last fall really wasn’t even on his radar until the summer of 2021. Adam first learned of the deer a couple years prior, when he was a 3-year-old 8-pointer with an 18-inch spread. A great deer for sure, but it also was a pretty typical buck for the area. Also, how the area as a whole gets hunted initially made Adam not too quick to get excited about the deer.

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“Deer around here come and go,” Adam says. “There is a lot of shotgun hunting pressure, and some land you can hunt on and some you can’t. So, you just target the bucks on the land you can hunt.” But during the summer of 2021, the buck blew up; and he was presenting glamour shots of himself almost daily on the fencerow that Adam’s dad regularly hunts. At least until August rolled around, when he disappeared. As the archery season arrived, the buck had still not made his location known. Adam and his dad spent hours hunting and driving around, trying to lay eyes on the deer. But they never had any luck.


OUT OF NOWHERE

By the first week of November, the buck had still not shown back up. That is also the same week that Adam’s friends from New York and Canada come down each year to bowhunt for a week. They had good success, shooting a couple of great bucks, and Adam’s dad killed a buck that week, too. So, he spent the rest of the week driving around the area looking for any bucks that were on their feet. On the very same day that Adam’s father killed his buck, he saw the big buck that had disappeared back in August. He saw him in the same area the following morning, as well. So, Adam went in and hung a stand in the area, confident he’d have a chance at the deer.


While he was hanging the stand, Adam spotted a 140-class 8-pointer dogging a doe. That made him feel like the bigger buck was gone. “I just felt that with that 140-inch buck in there dogging that doe, the buck I was after wasn’t around anymore, or he wouldn’t have put up with it,” Adam remembers. After hanging the stand and leaving the area, Adam decided to go to his mom’s house. On the way there, he spotted the buck on a property he can hunt on. So, he grabbed his gear and another tree stand to hang where he had just seen the deer.

Adam and a friend hung the stand, and they decided they’d back out for a bit. However, before they could, Adam looked up and saw the buck headed their way from 150 yards out! Adam told his buddy to get ready, because the deer was on a path that was going to bring him right past them. Sure enough, the deer quickly made it to 27 yards and was in front of them. Adam sent the arrow from his recurve, but he was shocked when the arrow bounced right back out of the deer shortly after making contact!

His initial thought was that the shot was low, hitting the leg bone, but after looking at the video footage, they felt that the shot may have been better than he thought. Upon inspecting the arrow, there was good blood up the first 10 inches of the arrow, so that ruled out a leg hit. But the pair still didn’t find any blood on the ground. The two hunters searched the area and replayed the footage to see if they could pinpoint where the deer ran into the woods, and they still came up empty-handed.

After that, Adam got to a vantage point where he could see across the area, and as he looked to his left, he saw the buck laying just 20 yards away piled up in the weeds! “There was just a mountain of rack sticking up out of the weeds,” Adam recalls. Of course, with a spread reaching nearly 26 inches, I bet it did look like a pile of bone towering over the brush. Adam’s buck grosses just over 170inches, and the rack nets 164 inches. It’s a true monster, but especially a trophy with traditional archery gear!




LOOKING AHEAD

Adam didn’t make it his goal to go out and kill such a big deer in 2021. He was hunting with a recurve and would have been happy with just about any buck. Adam killed his first-ever deer with a recurve in 2020, so any decent buck would have made him happy. Adam has killed some pretty good bucks over the years with a compound, and it looks like his ventures with traditional equipment won’t be much different.

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While Ohio is known for giant whitetails, Adam admits that he doesn’t live in an area known for producing many of the state’s best bucks. He just works hard to learn the areas and the deer where he hunts. His success proves it. He has killed a handful of deer grossing over 160 inches. The one from last year is not only different because it was with a recurve, but it also happens to be the first big one he has killed that didn’t fall during a year in which he and his wife had a child. The last three mature bucks he has killed were each during a year when the couple had recently had a baby, so this one broke the mold!

So, what are Adam’s goals for the fall of 2022? The area he hunts in Wyandot County is right in the middle of the CWD zone, so they are opening the season a few weeks earlier this fall on Sept. 10. With the new opener for the archery season, Adam wants to try and seize the opportunity to take a velvet buck in Ohio. The idea of killing a velvet buck in the Buckeye state sounds pretty cool, so we’ll have to wait and see if Adam can get it done.

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