A Monster Close-Out

By the time January rolls around, it's really easy for hunters to hang up their bows and call it quits. Cold winter weather coupled with late-season burnout can be all it takes to convince you to stay indoors. However, the remaining days of season is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year to successfully pattern and tag a bigheaded bruiser. Hardcore nocturnal bucks with massive racks will start to show up more when extreme after dark temperatures begin to increase daytime activity. Knowing this is exactly what kept longtime bowhunter Tracy Laws in the woods after New Year's Day near central Ohio. Laws had collected hundreds of trail-cam pictures of a giant 9-pointer and he knew that a predictable post-rut pattern just might give him a chance to closeout his season with a monster.

After celebrating the holidays, Laws climbed into an icy cold January stand for a late evening archery hunt. With cold feet and numb fingers, he sat quietly waiting for a glimpse of the wide-racked buck that had been routinely hitting a late-season food source. The trail-cam pictures revealed that the buck was visiting the area about one out of every three days. These pictures definitely served as a source of inspiration for Laws and nothing was going to keep him out of the woods. Around 4:30 in the evening, several does started filtering into the field to feed before the oncoming cold front. Within a few minutes, a tall-tined 150 class buck that had been traveling with the monster Laws was hoping to shoot showed up well within bow range. At full draw, it was extremely tough for the bowhunter to pass on such a nice buck. On the other hand, this close encounter made Laws feel good about his chances of tagging the 9-pointer he had been waiting for all season long.

Finally, all of the time scouting and patiently waiting paid off when Laws spotted a large bodied buck entering the field just before dark. His heart rate began to rapidly increase as the thick rack came into clear view. Without question, this was the same buck that had been haunting his dreams for months. As fate would have it, the buck slowly turned and started feeding toward one of the hunter's cleared shooting lanes. Laws ranged the buck at 39 yards and carefully placed his pin on the sweet spot. A deep breath and one touch of the release sent an arrow on a collision course with a huge Ohio whitetail. On impact, the 9-pointer kicked up its hind legs and bolted into the dark shadows of the woodlot. Laws climbed out of the stand and followed an obvious blood trail up to a monster trophy buck that allowed him to closeout his season on a very high note.