Being Patient for a Backyard Buck
By Mike Lambeth
Bowhunter Chad Hane learned a valuable lesson in patience, after sighting a huge buck in his backyard one evening. Afterwards, Hane spent 52 sleepless nights worrying if he’d ever get a crack at the great whitetail.
Hane took up archery as a teenager after a tragic traffic accident took the lives of his mother and brother near the family’s home in Stillwater, OK. Chad soon started bowhunting and has taken several deer since, with his best being a 178 pound, 12-point.
After buying his family’s homestead a few years back, Hane set up a deer feeder to see what it might attract. Though his 5-acre backyard is flat with scant habitat, the surrounding farms have small patches of woods, causing Hane to speculate what his feeder might draw in.
To his surprise during supper one August evening, Hane’s wife Mary noticed four deer under their feeder 80 yards away from the dining room window. Mary retrieved their video camera and began filming the deer - all bucks - who took turns raising their heads, seemingly posing for the camera. Chad stared mesmerized at the three velvet-clad racks, however, when the fourth deer raised his head, Hane did a double-take - the buck’s rack looked over two-feet wide, and his body was noticeably larger than the others.
For nearly two months, Hane estimates he fed the four bachelor bucks nearly 1,000 pounds of a sweet corn - a special mixture made at his local co-op. As if scripted, the bucks would appear at first light to eat, and reappear at last light before vanishing into the woods nearby.
As archery season approached, Hane had patterned the four bucks and knew the exact times they fed, and when they would leave. The problem was that his property was flat with no trees for a tree stand. The only thing taller than the native grasses in Hane’s yard were two eight-foot cedar trees standing 75 yards from the feeder.
Hane opted to build a ground blind between the cedars in hopes he could draw his bow undetected, and ambush the wide-racked buck as the four deer exited his property.
Meanwhile, news of the big, wide-racked buck spread rampantly. In a new housing division across from Hane’s property, several homeowners became acutely aware of the big buck as he was spotted around their homes occasionally after dark.
A week before season, Hane actually was asked by a few camouflage-clad visitors, who obviously had seen the big buck, if they might be able to hunt his property. To which Chad smiled and replied, “I am going to be the one to hunt that buck.”
The night before the archery opener was restless for Hane, who rolled out of bed early and donned his camouflage. With much anticipation he would soon take a stand in his backyard, hoping to take the giant whitetail he had watched for 52 days in a row.
Well before light, Hane snuck to the cedar tree blind he had erected 70 yards from his back porch. As the last shreds of darkness gave way to the anemic first light of dawn, Hane crouched in an enviable position - feeding 75 yards away was the monster buck accompanied by three more shooter bucks
The wide-racked monarch fed unaware of Hane’s presence. Feeling full after gorging themselves on the sweet corn - that mysteriously appeared twice daily - the bucks headed for thicker cover on the adjoining property to lethargically pass the daylight hours.
The well-worn path along Hane’s back fence line would march the buck quartet by Hane’s cedar tree ambush point, and well within range of the familiarly practiced yardage. The monster wide-racked buck stopped to check the wind 22 yards away; as Hane drew his bow.
At the thunk sound of the string, the big buck bolted with the imbedded arrow displaying a well-placed shot. Hane, elated and shaking, called his twin brother Shad to tell of his good fortune, and to enlist his help in finding the buck. Shad arrived in short order and the duo began their search for the brute.
Strangely, the well-hit buck did not lose a drop of blood. After a short tracking job, Shad found the deer and summoned Hane to come look at his monster buck.
Hane stood over the awesome buck in amazement; it was truly the trophy of a lifetime. “I thought to myself, what a magnificent buck,” Hane said. “I was in awe, the buck was unbelievable.”
The pair field-dressed the deer and then measured the spread, which taped 31 ½ inches outside and sported 29 points! Hane’s buck is recorded as Oklahoma’s best archery non-typical ever, scoring 214 4/8.
Ironically, Hane never saw the remaining three big bucks again.