Adam Hays, proprietor of the favored MoonGuide app, is not any stranger to this area. We’ve profiled a number of of his superb bucks, together with three scoring 200 inches or extra. Final week, Hays took one other large whitetail—a main-frame 9-point buck simply tops the gross typical rating for the B&C document guide. The Illinois bruiser fell on Friday, January thirteenth and simply occurs to be is Hays’s thirteenth Booner. And what does he credit score his success to? Properly, the moon, after all. However we’ll get to that. First, the buck.
Like lots of Hays’ trophies, this buck was one he knew nicely. “The primary pics we had of him have been in 2020, once I figured he was 3½ years outdated,” he informed F&S. “We truly had a shed from him from that 12 months. However we thought of him a pass-through deer; he lived totally on a neighboring farm, and we’d simply get the occasional pic of him every now and then, and virtually all of them at night time. After all, he’d grown a bunch since that first season, and lots of hunters within the neighborhood have been nicely conscious of him.”
For the reason that buck wasn’t an everyday customer to the farm he hunted, Hays didn’t spend lots of time piecing collectively a sport plan. “I used to be truly after one other buck, and that one was fairly a bit greater than this deer,” he mentioned. “However that focus on buck simply disappeared. I don’t know if he was shot, or was hit by a automotive, or what. All I knew was that I wanted to seek out one other buck to hunt. Then on November thirteenth, I received a daylight pic of this buck for the primary time of the season, and abruptly he had my consideration.”
Hays didn’t really feel just like the buck’s daylight trek was a coincidence. “We had a purple moon, straight underfoot, that day,” he mentioned, referring to the highest time to hunt in line with his MoonGuide. “I had a pair dozen night time pics of this deer, and I went again by the circumstances of these days—wind, climate, something I may consider—and in contrast them to the circumstances on the day of the daylight pic. I couldn’t discover something vital apart from the moon place. So, like I’ve executed with a number of of my different large deer, I regarded for the subsequent purple moon and figured I higher attempt for him in that interval.”
Though Hays was scheduled to be on the annual Archery Commerce Affiliation (ATA) present, that occasion coincided with the subsequent Crimson Moon on Hays’ calenda. “The Moon Information has its share of skeptics, however I’ve solely received my expertise to depend on,” he mentioned. “I used to be going searching.”
Hays traveled from his house in Ohio on the twelfth, ignored the ATA present, and was able to hunt on Friday the thirteenth. “We had standing beans as a winter meals plot, however the deer had just about eaten them to the bottom by then. I had two tree stands I used to be able to hunt, however the wind was useless fallacious for them. My solely selection was a Banks Blind that we by no means had an opportunity to placed on a platform. It was simply sitting on the bottom on the sting of the meals, nevertheless it was my solely likelihood.”
Hays didn’t have lengthy to attend for the motion to begin. One after the other, deer filed out of close by cowl and into the plot till at least a dozen totally different bucks have been feeding in entrance of the blind when Hays noticed his goal deer submitting in. “I had a fairly dicey wind, plus there have been simply so many deer on the plot,” he mentioned. “I’d saved the blind home windows closed as a result of I knew the minute I opened them, issues would most likely go downhill in a rush. When the buck lastly received in bow vary, I opened the window, then bumped it in opposition to the digital camera mic. (Hays was self-filming for his Staff 200 present.) Then I couldn’t get my launch clipped on my string for the lifetime of me. A few the bucks have been on the brink of go away, and my buck was undoubtedly on edge once I lastly received the shot.”
Although he feared his hit was again a bit, Hays reviewed his footage again at camp and it regarded like shot. That evaluation proved appropriate, as he recovered the buck solely 100 yards into the closest timber. The heavy-antlered 5½-year-old sported 7-inch bases and had 12 scorable factors, together with a cut up forehead and kickers off the G2s. “He grossed 181 B&C, which is fairly good for a main-frame 9-point,” Hays mentioned. “I truthfully don’t care if individuals consider within the MoonGuide or not; nevertheless it’s the one purpose I used to be within the blind to kill that deer on that day.”