This hard-working Missouri farmer doesn't get to spend a lot of time in the woods because of his occupation, but when he does get the opportunity to grab his bow and head to a stand, he makes every minute count.
Veteran Missouri bowhunter Jerald Utt of Cameron, Missouri, has taken more than 20 bucks by bow since he started hunting at the age of 15. But last season may be his most memorable year of all. On Oct. 19, 2007, Jerald bagged a massive 31-point buck while bowhunting in northwest Missouri that ranks as the highest-scoring whitetail taken by bow in Missouri last year. It also ranks as the largest non-typical taken by bow in North America in 2007. Jerald's Missouri monster netted 246 2/8 non-typical points.
"I'm a landowner and a dedicated cattle and grain farmer from DeKalb County, Missouri," Jerald says. "On Oct. 17 last year we had a good rain, and it was too wet to combine my soybeans. My farm work always comes first, but when it rains, I sometimes get a chance to fit in a hunt. Oct. 18 turned out to be just such a day, and I grabbed my PSE Bow and a quiver of arrows fitted with Thunderhead broadheads and headed off to my secret hunting spot.
"I already knew that a huge buck was living in the area I was hunting. I had seen him four times the year before as he was exiting my timber. Also, my neighbor had found one of the buck's shed antlers across the fence line near the spot where I hunt. This 'whitetail haven' of mine contains about 30 acres of timber, mostly hedge and locust trees. I have designated this 30-acre bedding area as a safety zone for all whitetails, and I never hunt inside the core of this sanctuary.
LOOKING FOR MR. BIG
"Each year I plant soybeans in a two-acre food plot adjacent to the bedding area. These two acres are left for the deer, and the soybeans are never harvested. My secret hotspot is in a secluded area about a half-mile from any road, so it's never disturbed by any passing vehicles. I hunt this area sparingly and only a few times each year. I routinely pass up more than 30 bucks each year waiting for that one special trophy-class deer that I can take with my bow.
|THE JERALD UTT BUCK|
|Scorable Points:||31 (18R, 13L)||TOTAL LENGTH OF ABNORMAL POINTS: 77 4/8|
|Tip-To-Tip Spread:||14 4/8|
|Greatest Spread:||21 3/8|
|Inside Spread:||19 0/8|
|Main Beam||26 0/8||27 5/8||1 5/8|
|1st Point (G-1)||8 3/8||8 2/8||1/8|
|2nd Point (G-2)||10 6/8||13 2/8||2 4/8|
|3rd Point (G-3)||6 7/8||10 3/8||3 4/8|
|4th Point (G-4)||5 7/8||5 2/8||5/8|
|1st circ. (H-1)||5 4/8||5 3/8||1/8|
|2nd circ. (H-2)||4 2/8||4 2/8||--|
|3rd circ. (H-3)||4 6/8||4 3/8||3/8|
|4th circ. (H-4)||3 7/8||3 6/8||1/8|
|TOTALS:||76 2/8||82 4/8||9 0/8|
|Gross Typical Score:||177 6/8|
|Subtract side-to-side differences:||-9 0/8|
|Add abnormal points||+77 4/8|
|FINAL NET TYPICAL SCORE:||246 2/8|
|TAKEN BY: Jerald Utt, DATE: October 19, 2007, LOCATION: DeKalb County, Missouri |
"While hunting the afternoon of Oct. 18, I saw a bunch of does and small bucks. But the wind wasn't right, so I decided to leave my stand. I returned at 2:30 the next day (Oct. 19) and hung my lock-on stand in a different tree. It overlooked a staging area between the bedding area and the food plot.
"Now the conditions were right. It was a sunny day, about 50 degrees, with a breeze blowing toward me from the west. I like to keep the wind in my face and the deer in front of me. The ground was damp, so I didn't make any noise walking in. Within a short time, 10 does and fawns came out to feed in the soybeans. They eventually moved on. At about 5:30 a
bachelor group of five bucks came out near the staging area. The fourth buck in line really got my blood pumping. It was the huge buck that I had seen the year before!
"The first two bucks started sparring and the others moved away from them. The heavy-bodied bruiser that I had my eye on started to angle toward me. When he was 40 yards away, I centered my 20-yard pin a half-inch over his back. I released my arrow and made a perfect shot right through the deer's vitals. He went down, but then he got up and ran into the brush. He didn't go far, though.
The heavy mass on Jerald's 31-point trophy, along with a 13 2/8-inch G-2, contributed to the score that made Jerald's Missouri monster the largest non-typical buck by bow in North America last season.
A TRUE MISSOURI MONSTER
"After he disappeared, I waited five minutes -- not to give him time, but to stop shaking long enough so that I could climb down out of the tree! It's hard to describe the feeling that I had when I walked up to him and put my hands around those huge antlers!
"I took the antlers and cape to Jim Martin, a highly skilled taxidermist. My buck field dressed at 215 pounds and Jim aged him at 5 1/2. Jim is also an official measurer for both P&Y and B&C. After the 60-day drying period, Jim measured the 31-point rack at 246 2/8 inches net with 77 4/8 inches in non-typical growth. The longest typical tine was 13 2/8 inches in length. The 21 atypical points ranged in length from 1 inch to 7 inches.
"The rack has two neat 'billy goat' tines growing out of the back of the bases that curl toward each other. They keep from touching because the ends hook away. Jim skillfully mounted my buck in an aggressive position with the head down, and that position really shows off the rack and many of this great buck's multiple beauty points."
PRINCIPLES THAT WORK
Being an outfitter and serious trophy hunter myself as well as a writer, Jerald's management practices closely mirror the management practices that I've implemented on my own hunting operation in Kansas. There are three vital keys that I use in my trophy deer hunting operation and these keys have always been very successful for me.
1) Keep A Sacred Sanctuary
Deer must have an area where they feel safe. Areas of five acres or more of thick cover, trees like cedars and blowdowns are ideal. These sites should provide shelter from the elements and be located far enough away from roads to provide good seclusion from passersby and hunters. These bedding sites should always remain private "hidey holes" for local bucks, and they should never be entered at any time. Sanctuaries will keep big bucks on your land permanently.
2) Provide Enriched Food Plots
All deer need a year-round food supply in order to prosper and produce big antlers. Planting preferred food plots of clover, alfalfa and other high-protein foods will keep deer on your property and give them the nutrition they need. Letting part of the soybean or corn crop go unharvested each year is also a very wise practice. In states where legal, providing feeders with high-protein feed will also do much to help increase body and antler sizes, especially during those lean times in late winter.
3) Pick Strategic Stand Sites
Hunting from a stand that is in the right place and being in that stand at the right time often produces outstanding results. I like to utilize two types of stand locations on my property. The first is at spots that intercept the main exit points between bedding and feeding areas. These spots often will be staging areas where bucks and does mill around.
The second good stand locations are found at points along the most direct routes from one bedding area to another. Trails that connect bedding areas are often used by bucks during the rut phase. Bucks travel these routes from one bedding area to another, checking each doe group for hot does. Always hunt each chosen stand site sparingly. The practice of hunting a stand no more than once a week is a good rule to follow. Deer live in the woods 24 hours a day, and they know where you have been and when you have been there!
(Editor's Note: To order a copy of the author's new book, Mammoth Monarchs -- Secret Elusive Bucks, featuring stories about other hunters' techniques for bagging elusive whitetail trophies, send $20 postpaid to Odie Sudbeck, 2745 H Road, Seneca, KS 66538. To book a Kansas Trophy Whitetail Hunt with Odie, call 785-468-3214.)