Harmon Carson, LABH Contributor and owner of New Life Taxidermy in Haughton, LA, has a knack for killing mature bucks. In fact, this year's kill makes 9 years in a row he has killed at least 1 buck over 3 1/2 years old; 7 of those with traditional equipment. Some people say killing mature bucks is pure luck or chance or simply being in the right place at the right time. Harmon has proven otherwise with his methodical and purposeful attention to particular details. While scouting for that perfect spot to hang his set he looks for the same signs and indicators that have led him to year after year of success and a firm place in the Louisiana Archery record books.
"This was a new piece of property that I was hunting. Pretty much just a big thicket, a 40 acre thicket to be exact that I had been scouting all summer. It's so thick 20 yards is about as far as you can see in any given spot. There is a small creek that runs through it with multiple elevation changes throughout. Perfect for bucks looking for a place to hide. You have to pay attention to details when scouting new or old areas for that matter. Finding does wasn't a problem but finding a mature buck took some time. There were obviously deer in this area and maybe less obvious to some a good deer based on what I had found. I was close all season just finally put a few pieces together to get me right on top of a good one. Anytime I find a sizable Scrape line I will put a camera on it."
Even though scrapes are mostly worked at night they're a perfect spot to take inventory of the bucks in the immediate area.
"After checking the camera a few days later the deer were coming from a different direction than expected. They were headed into some brush down wind of the scrapes. So I followed their path and found a Rub line. I followed the rub line into draw which led to another rub line. Both rub lines led to 2 different scrape lines so I found a tree in between."
Not long after Harmon discovered this potential bedding area he began getting photos of a couple of mature bucks and confirmed his hunch was right.
"The scrape line was in there towards the end of last season and the fresh scrapes from this season led to same draw."
Using sign from years past can help you predict what either the same buck or other mature bucks are likely to do this season and beyond.
"The deer where definitely in that draw. Both ridges showed buck sign so I found a tree in the draw to hunt as a Pinch Point Travel Corridor."
If you remember November 18th you may remember why you stayed home that day. It was hot and windy, 30- 40 mph windy to be exact. Harmon knew the bucks would be in thicket bedded up that morning and the wind would certainly cover the noise and scent of his intrusion so close to their bedding..
"I walked in at grey light and spooked a deer before making it to my tree. After climbing in and getting settled a doe showed up just a few minutes later. An hour or so passed and 2 bucks came in. 1 buck spooked as he got downwind of me. The other buck was startled at the spooked buck's reaction and that's when I spotted him. He looked up and saw me. He spun and in the middle of his motion I drew. It all happened so fast. Upon him getting to where he was quartering away I shot. The buck took the shot 90 yards and collapsed."
Harmon credits his undeniable and consistent success to paying attention to the details. He had never seen this deer nor had any pictures of him. Harmon picked 1 buck from the summer and was hunting him. He told us finding 1 deer to target allowed him to learn the behavior and proximity of other mature bucks in the area.
Harmon's buck weighed 220 lbs, scored 149 7/8", has 12 scoreable points and was 4 1/2 yrs old.
Bow: Blackwidow PSA III
Broadhead: Simmons Tigershark
Stand: New Tribe Arrow Hunter Kestrel
Essentials: First Lite Fusion Camo, HCB Bowstrings