The Apple Orchard Buck

342 One of the easiest times to pattern a monster buck would have to be during the late summer months. Glassing early season food sources and hanging trail cameras will enable you to put the pieces of the puzzle together and ultimately connect with a nice buck once season opens. Just ask Jimmy Rhodus of Kentucky how scouting hard during the summer months can pay off with a buck of a lifetime. Last July, Rhodus and his daughter began glassing a giant drop-tined buck feeding along the edge of an apple orchard during the late evening hours. For the next month, this father and daughter team spent countless hours monitoring the buck’s feeding activity in the field.

Finally, archery season opened and Rhodus was more than ready to sling an arrow at the high-racked buck that had been haunting his dreams. Unfortunately, the first two weeks of season produced unbearable heat and he decided to let things cool down before climbing into his stand. Then on September 11, Rhodus and his daughter strategically positioned a trail camera near a worn trail leading to the apple orchard. Several pictures revealed that the buck was on the move around 7:20 in the evening and Rhodus decided it was finally time to make something happen.

343 Over the next five days, Rhodus hunted his dream buck hard, but was unable to connect with the sneaky drop-tined monster. After coming home from work late on September 17th he jumped in the shower and rushed to his stand. About an hour later, Rhodus spotted several does feeding on the small apples that had recently fallen from the tree and he began to wonder if the buck was going to show up. At exactly 7:20 the buck cautiously stepped into the field causing a quick serge of adrenalin to shoot through his entire body. Finally, all of the pre-season scouting and hard work paid off with a 42-yard shot in an open shooting lane. Upon impact the buck only ran a few yards before piling up just inside of the wood line and ending a perfect early-season hunt in the Bluegrass State. I would like to congratulate Jimmy Rhodus and his daughter for an outstanding job scouting, patterning, and connecting with an unbelievable drop-tined buck. –Travis Faulkner