Maryland’s firearms season opener has always been the high water mark of the whitetail season and this year it came with an exclamation point. Levi Bennett, long time friend and DEER30 Outdoors team member, will never forget the events that would transpire that morning.
But this story began months ago with preseason preparations in March. This season we decided to install two food plots in virgin ground that was covered in grasses, briars, and every weed known to man. After months of site work, mowing, plowing, discing, raking, tilling, raking, spraying, raking, uh you get the idea; we finally had two beautiful seed beds, but no rain.
A late summer thunderstorm finally offered some reprieve and surrendered some life-giving/saving water that quickly had our plots flourishing and the trail camera photos filling up with deer. The “Super 8,” as he came to be known, first showed up on the morning of July 21 as he and his bachelor group of buddies moseyed on through our Whitetail Institute clover plot. He was instantly placed at the top of our hit list for the year.
We monitored our four camera set closely all summer and through the early part of Maryland’s bow season. The “Super 8” was not a regular but periodically he would seem to wonder through the dense thicket in which we cut our food plot and follow the adjacent creek bottom past several stand locations, just never when we happened to be in them.
Finally, November was here and as the rut revved up so did the appearances of the “Super 8” and his calling cards. Monster-sized rubs that only an old dominant buck could make started popping up around the farm and we finally caught several glimpses of him from the stand during bow season.
He was most frequently spotted in a hay field that was mixed with alfalfa during the first hour of daylight. Although we had three treestand locations in proximity to this field, none offered either a clear rifle shot, or a means of access that would not spook deer that were feeding overnight from the field. So Levi decided to deploy his pop-up groundblind along the edge of the field tucked back into a tangled jungle of honeysuckle and briars. This tactic had proven successful in the past and, fingers crossed, it would payoff big time this season.
The morning of opening day broke and standing in the hay field with a doe was none other than the big boy himself “Super 8.” Levi watched this buck through the scope of his 7mm magnum rifle at 250 yards for nearly 20 minutes. Why not take the “chip shot” for such a rifle? Well, behind the deer was not only the land owner’s farmhouse but another hunter on the adjacent property! This other hunter was watching this stud chase this doe to as close to 75 yards from the property line but he never crossed to offer a legal shot.
Fortunately for Levi, the buck moved away from the other hunter and down the property line where he chased up three more does to check. The buck turns away from the corner of the field (where another neighboring hunter was waiting) and starts trotting straight back to Levi’s blind. At 130 yards Levi squeezed the trigger and the “Super 8” sank in his tracks!
The buck is Levi’s first with a rifle, first with his 7mm mag., and by far, his best buck to date. Another example of how hard work, preparation, and a little luck, can really pay off!
Great job bud!