U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Mark Clemens, who lives near Baltimore, Maryland, has been hunting deer for 38+ years. “I was hunting in Prince George’s County with a group of hunters that the community of Accokeek had asked to harvest its surplus deer. Close to Piscataway National Park, Accokeek didn’t permit deer hunting nor did the park. This primarily retirement community was surrounded by water.”
Clemens regularly hunts for Howard County Parks and Recreation Department to remove nuisance deer in their parks and recreation areas. One of the other hunters asked Clemens and some of the other nuisance hunters who hunt for Howard County to come to Accokeek to help get rid of the nuisance deer that he and his neighbors needed removed.
Maryland hunters who remove nuisance deer hunt with shotguns only from tree stands at least 12 feet off the ground. They must use safety harnesses and lifelines and wear hunter orange. Some of the stands are only 100 yards from a home, but the stand Clemens was hunting from in Accokeek was 300 yards from a residence.
Clemens shoots a 2-3/4 inch, 12 gauge scoped Remington 870 Wingmaster, loaded with a deer slug. The nuisance hunt has been conducted for the past 3 years. Before the hunt, the group of 14 nuisance hunters went to the property and identified and numbered tree stand sites. On the morning of the hunt, before daylight, each hunter reached into the hat and pulled out a number, with Clemens drawing stand site 43.
Urban deer hunting is growing in popularity nationwide, especially in areas where the whitetails are destroying landowners’ gardens, flowers and shrubbery. When Clemens and his neighbor Dale Hunter left their homes on the first day of Maryland’s gun deer season to hunt nuisance deer in Accokeek, they never dreamed that Clemens would take one of the biggest and most-unusual bucks he’d ever seen in his life. Dale Hunter drew a stand next to Clemens. When they arrived at the woods, Clemens went right, and Hunter went left. “My stand was in a bottom, however, I couldn’t find the stand site,” Clemens explains. “Then as the sky lightened, I spotted a big tree where I decided to put my climbing tree stand. I soon saw a doe out in front of my stand – out of range. We could take does and bucks on this hunt. If she’d been closer, I would’ve taken the shot.”
The wind was blowing, and the temperature was falling. Most of the hunters had cell phones with them to text back and forth about the deer they were seeing and taking. “On that morning, due to the intense cold, many of my friends decided to come out of their stands early,” Clemens reports. “We usually stay on our stands until 11:00 am, but the brutal weather was taking its toll. Dale texted me that he was considering coming down from his tree early, and I texted him back that, ‘It’s 9:45 am. I'll wait until 10:00 am.’”
Clemens looked to his right and spotted a group of does moving at about 70 yards. I knew that the deer were in hard rut and waited to see if a buck was at the back of the herd of does,” Clemens explains.
Less than five heartbeats later, Clemens spotted a shooter buck, which on this hunt, had to have an antler spread wider than his ears, generally 8-pointers or better scoring between 120 and 150 on Boone & Crockett.
This buck was at 80 yards, but Clemens felt sure he was a shooter. “I saw an opening about 70 yards from my stand and decided that would be my killing ground,” Clemens says. “I let the does walk through the opening and had my Remington 870 to my shoulder with the safety off, and the crosshairs in the scope on the edge of the opening.” Once the buck stepped into the opening, Clemens squeezed the trigger, and the buck disappeared. Immediately Clemens heard the buck fall in a laurel thicket at the base of a hill.
“Although I watched does come out of the laurel thicket, I couldn’t get a shot at them,” Clemens reports. “I knew the buck was down inside the thicket. I texted Dale, ‘I just shot a hammer.’ Then, I climbed down out of the tree. About 20 yards from the laurel thicket, I saw the white hair of the buck’s belly and then his head, thinking the rack looked like a bunch of tree branches coming out of the buck’s head. This big buck weighed more than 200 pounds and only had run 40 yards before piling up. Once Dale arrived, he said, ‘Oh, my gosh. You’ve killed a monster.’
“This hunt took place on December 5, 2010, the first day of Maryland’s deer hunting season. I was shocked that the buck was still in velvet. This 212-1/8 BTR composite score buck also had a drop tine. I knew this was the biggest buck I ever had taken and probably would be the biggest buck I ever would harvest, as well as the most unusual with his large drop tine and velvet antlers, since most Maryland bucks have no velvet on their antlers after the end of August. I don’t know whether this buck had an injury that caused him not to lose his velvet or had a genetic problem that caused the velvet to remain on his antlers.”
The landowner, one of the organizers who had planned the hunt and picked the properties where the hunters had permission to hunt, showed up. The landowners were so anxious to have some deer removed from their properties that before the hunt, they had told Clemens and his hunting buddies that, “You shoot them, and we’ll drag them out for you.” So, the landowner dragged out the five does and the big buck Clemens had shot.
“In three days of hunting, we harvested more than 100 deer off the property,” Clemens mentions. “The day before I took this buck, I took nine other deer. On the deer tag I had, I was allowed to harvest two bucks and 10 does. All the deer taken on this hunt were processed and donated to a food bank to help feed the hungry.”
Also, when Clemens and the other hunters returned to their trucks each morning after hunting, the landowners had hot coffee and homemade cookies sitting on the hoods of their trucks with thank you notes waiting on them.
- BTR Score – Buckmasters’ Composite Score – Number of Inches: 212-1/8
- Official Buckmasters’ Score: 197-5/8
This is an excerpt from John E. Phillips newest book “Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucks”. Click here http://johninthewild.com/books/#deer to get more info about this deer hunting book and other deer hunting books by John E. Phillips.