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Home / Luke Fabian / “A Little Bit of Luck & a Lot of Hard Work”

“A Little Bit of Luck & a Lot of Hard Work”

January 4, 2016
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This first story I thought I’d bring to you dates back to last year’s Ohio bow season. The video I produced of this hunt is really what kick started my hunting and filmmaking career, and is what really took my filming and video editing to the next level. There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from this tale, and there’s also a lot of luck that played a part in this adventure that gave me the opportunity to pursue the biggest buck of my young bowhunting career. Enjoy.

The morning of October 10th came cool and crisp. The smell of fall was in the air as the leaves crunched beneath my feet. But I wasn’t headed to my favorite tree stand in the woods. I was walking across campus to my 8 a.m. lab, preparing for a long day of classes. As the seasons changed and the leaves began to fall, signs of buck fever began to show as my blood pressure rose to levels of concern. While I should have been focusing on my college classes, I couldn’t help but day dream of giant monarchs of the woods as the professor explained something that would’ve probably be helpful for me to know for our next test. I gazed across the biology hallway into the next classroom out the window all morning as I longed to be out in Mother Nature chasing an Ohio brute. The minutes ticked slower and the hours dragged on as we worked through our lab handout. But in an instant the clouds faded, and the seas parted as I checked my email on my phone and came to find my next two classes for the day had been cancelled. My heart fluttered and my eyes lit up as I read the good news. I knew then that I would be heading to the woods that evening.

My truck couldn’t seem to go fast enough as I flew home with high anticipation to grab my bow and hit the trail head. But before I checked the weather radio to see what wind and stand I would be hunting, I decided to check my trail camera which was overlooking a mineral site I had put in long before the season had set in. The deer use this as kind of a staging area before they hit the food plot I had put in back in August. Prior to the season I was getting pictures of one good shooter buck. He was coming in religiously until bow season hit and he vanished. So I had yet to even hunt the ground blind put in place near the mineral site. When I checked the pictures on the card this day however, this would change drastically. To my surprise, a buck I hadn’t seen since last December, was in just earlier that day. I had nicknamed him “74” last year as a three and a half year old because of his weird rack which hosted seven points on his right side and just four on the left. But this year as a mature four and a half year old, he hosted a bold five thick points on his right and four thick points on the left. He was a definite shooter and my sights were set on him and only him.

This was his first time finding the mineral site and food plot this year so I had a good feeling he would be back for more later that evening. However, after checking my weather radio I was in a slight pickle. It was calling for northeast winds that evening which isn’t a favorable wind for the blind set up as it nearly blows straight towards the mineral site. After minutes of consideration I decided to still hunt the site. Now I was going against everything I stood for in bowhunting. I’m always checking that weather so I can hunt a stand with a favorable wind. However, I’ve read a number of different stories about guys gambling on the wind. They had pressed their luck in the woods against the mighty whitetail and it’s keen senses and came out on top, harvesting their quarry. So I decided to do the same. I decided to roll the dice and hope for the best. If the bruiser came in and smelled me, he’d bust out of there and probably never return. Or, if somehow the combination of the minerals and food plot scent in the air, plus the concealment of a ground blind could get me a shot at this big guy, I could beat the odds.

Bow in hand, I played the waiting game as the day would soon turn to night as I eased into the blind around three o’clock. The first few hours went slow as I went skunked with only seeing a few squirrels and chipmunks here and there. But as the sun started to hide behind the tree line, a hand full of does came in to scratch around the mineral site before they would soon for the half acre food plot just forty yards to my left. A few yearlings pranced and played around keeping me amused for the time being. But after just a few short minutes, the group left with me hoping and praying “74” would soon follow their tracks.

Another hour passed after the does had gone and left and still no signs of horns. I grew anxious and worried as darkness was only a short forty-five minutes away. As the clock struck twenty ’til seven, I peaked out the window and to my left to see a giant head set peering out of the tall brush. Solo filming, I reached for the camera on the tripod and pointed it towards the head full of horns and hit record. My hands began to shake as I followed him through the viewfinder as he slowly eased into the mineral site. As he finally settled in I left the camera rolling and reached for my bow, taking deep breaths to calm my nerves as I clipped on my release. The moment of truth was here and as I drew back I took another long deep breath. I exhaled slowly as my sight pin settled behind the Ohio giant’s shoulder. In an instant my arrow went from 425 grains of potential energy, to a weapon of deadly kinetic force as it left my string and the broadhead tore through the brute’s boilermaker. Like a shot out of a cannon, the buck took off to my right, his shoulders kicking back, snapping my arrow in half and breaking my lighted nock off flush with the arrow shaft. I had great penetration and the arrow had hit the exact spot my sight pin had been resting. Adrenaline and emotions ran high but I knew the hunt was far from over.

After reviewing the footage I knew this buck was dead on his feet when he ran down the hill but I still always like to give them a half hour for good measure. With flashlights in hands my father, the man who got me started on the right path to bowhunting, and I set out down over the ridge to follow the blood trail that would hopefully lead us to possibly the biggest buck of my life. Right off the bat, we found good, bright red blood spraying out both sides. My arrow in two pieces now, was also soaked in this bright red blood which any good bowhunter knows means a good lung hit. He couldn’t be far. With every step of the blood trail, my anticipation grew more and more. I assumed my buck would be behind every tree and bush we passed.

After a short cluster of woods and an evener shorter strip of open field, we came up on my expired buck. He had miraculously made it about 125 yards even with the devastating shot placement. After dragging him out of the tall weeds and out into the field I could finally lay my hands on what would be my biggest buck to date. The adrenaline and emotions again, ran through my veins but not just through mine, but also my father’s as we celebrated over my quarry. This massive nine stretched the tape out at a whopping 164 2/8” gross green score, and netted a just as impressive 155 1/8”.

What I remember most about this hunt isn’t the size of my buck, or the sponsors and gear I used, or how good of shot I made, but the family and friends I got to celebrate and spend time with that night after dragging “74” back to the house. I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding in hunting than getting to spend that time talking bowhunting with my family and good buds. If I could give anyone a piece of advice for bowhunting, it would be to count your trophies not by the amount of game you take, but the number of friends you make along the way.

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About Luke

Luke Fabian

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My Bio

I am a 25 year old from Cambridge, Ohio, a Muskingum University graduate, and the Education Coordinator for the Deerassic Park Education Center. I've been a bowhunting filmmaker and writer for the past 9 years. I've trekked across North America pursuing all sorts of big game with my bow. I host "Stick & String TV" on The Hunting Channel & I have my own series of hunting films on YouTube. You can also watch my whitetail hunts on Mathews Dominant Bucks TV. I'm chasing down my dream to one day be able to educate and entertain my fellow bowhunters at a national level. As a filmmaker and writer of the outdoors, my job is to bring my fans the best quality footage and top notch information of the outdoors. Not only I am trying to pursue big game with my bow which is a hard enough task in itself, but I'm also trying to lay down top quality footage at the same time. I want to bring you a story of the hunt. My videos and articles are not only for you, but for me as well. So we can both learn, but hopefully also be entertained at the same time. It's never been about being some big name in hunting. I just do it because it's what I love to do. It's my passion. I love to relive that adrenaline rush I get from bowhunting, and sharing that feeling with others. Filming and writing gives me that opportunity. Any way I can help my fellow bow hunters I'm going to try and incorporate that in my work.  So I hope y'all enjoy.