Crossbow Whitetail Hunting

Crossbows can get the job done. In the last 10 years, these four hunters proved it, and you can bet there will be more to come as more states adopt crossbow hunting.

COOMBS BUCK
182 B&C Non-Typical -- Georgia's No. 1 Crossbow

Bob Coombs isn't a regular crossbow hunter. But when his compound was in the shop, he bought a crossbow and downed a 182 B&C non-typical in 2006. Photo courtesy of Bob Coombs.

Hunting the very urban Fulton County, Georgia, Bob Coombs lost an opportunity at a monster whitetail a few days before Thanksgiving 2006 because of a broken sight on his compound bow. He raised the bow to draw on a 30-yard shot, and when he looked at the sight his heart sank. "I must have damaged it carrying the bow by the string on the way in. I thought I had totally blown a chance on the big 12-point buck I had been hunting for two years," Coombs said.

Later when he took the bow to his pro shop in Canton, he got worse news. It was bow season and it would be several days before his bow could be worked on. And it would probably take that long to get a new compound set up to his needs. All the while that buck was roaming the 50-acre tract of hardwoods, close to the urban sprawl of Atlanta.

"I did what I had to do. I bought a new crossbow package, sighted it in quickly and was ready to try again," Coombs said. Bob invited the owner of the archery shop to join him hunting the property Thanksgiving day. He dropped his buddy at the ladder stand well before daylight with the understanding that the bowhunter could take anything but the big buck Coombs had been after.

Settled into his ladder stand about 400 yards away from his buddy, Coombs awaited daylight. Coombs started calling with varying calls and finally saw a buck more than 100 yards out moving his way, but the buck stalled. Coombs fished out his can bleat call, turned it over and it brought the bruiser in on a string.

"I shot it at about 10 yards, almost straight down -- a spine shot," Coombs said. "It dropped immediately and then tried to rise. About that time the 6-pointer came in to push at the buck. It died quickly on the spot."

The buck's left G-4 was broken off and conservative estimates are that it would have scored 196 inches non-typical B&C with it.

Coombs has killed three Pope & Young bucks with his compound: a 149 2/8-inch, 10-point in 2007; a 142 2/8-inch-gross, 126 net, 10-point with split G-3s in 2004; and a 139 5/8-inch net, 8-point, also in 2007.

Does he still hunt with a crossbow?

"No. I sold it as soon as I got the sight fixed on my compound. I shoot some competitive archery and I still hear, 'Turn it sideways, you'll probably do better.' I had someone call me about the buck, and when I told them I killed it with a crossbow they hung up on me," Bob said. "I think my bowhunting friends would have appreciated the buck kill more if I had shot it with a firearm."

BRYANT BUCK
291 1/8-inch Non-Typical - No. 4 All-Time B&C

Jerry Bryant's giant 36-point non-typical is the largest non-typical killed in Illinois. The 291 1/8-inch buck ranks No. 4 all-time in the Boone & Crocket Club's non-typical whitetail class.

The Peoria hunter had experienced a decade-long up and down archery hunting problem. In 1990, Bryant suffered an industrial accident that left his right arm permanently disabled. He could no longer shoot a compound bow effectively.

In 1992, Bryant learned he might qualify for a special crossbow permit. He gathered the data needed, filed for the permit and it was approved. He took several deer in the following years.

In October of 2001, he learned his permit needed to be renewed, so he again submitted all the required documentation. For several reasons the permit was slow to get back to Bryant. He spent the time waiting, scouting with a good friend who owned a farm in Fulton County. Finally the permit arrived and so too, the start of the Illinois fall turkey season.

Bryant had never taken a turkey with the crossbow. The farm owner's brother had an adjacent farm where a big gobbler was been spotted. The friend was going to hunt a 10-pointer Bryant had spotted scouting on his farm and Bryant was going to hunt the big gobbler at the brother's farm. It was November 15, one day before the deer shotgun opener in Illinois.

Taxidermist Ron Meinders tells the story: After a lunch break, Jerry Bryant settled into a 15-foot ladder stand along a creek bottom with lots of turkey scratching sign. A couple of hours later Bryant spotted five turkeys, including a big tom moving his way. He also spotted a doe moving his way about 60 yards out. He moved the crossbow to his lap and the turkeys spotted the movement. They scooted off.

But the doe moved into his shooting lane. He brought the bow up and centered the crosshairs of the scope on her heart-lung area. He held off on the shot because the doe was acting skittish and looking back. Suddenly she bolted and ran over the hill.

Something was moving through the woods in his direction, making so much noise, Bryant thought it was a person walking. Suddenly he spotted the buck moving along following the doe's trail. The farm was practicing Quality Deer Management -- no bucks unless the rack was out past the ears. One glance convinced Jerry that this buck was certainly that wide. After that, so he wouldn't get shaken up, he didn't look at the rack again until after the shot. The buck stopped exactly where the doe had. Bryant lined up and made the 15-yard shot.

The buck of a lifetime took a few steps, fell and was his.

"Jerry Bryant pretty much dropped out of sight and contact after he sold the head to Bass Pro Shops," said Meinders, who mounted Bryant's deer. "He is a really great person, but just couldn't handle all the notoriety surrounding this monster non-typical. He changed his phone number and nobody has heard from him."

"Jerry's buck didn't get the recognition it deserved because he killed it with a crossbow."

Unlike Jerry Bryant, Ron Meinders is happy to share stories of this monster non-typical. Contact him at rons-taxidermy@comcast.net or (309) 697-3266.

Brad Jerman

's 2004 buck is the largest crossbow buck tagged in Ohio and the 11th largest Boone & Crockett Club deer ever recorded. Photo courtesy of Brad Jerman

JERMAN BUCK
201 1/8 Typical -- 11th Largest B&C, Ohio's No. 1

It's been almost six years since Brad Jerman arrowed the largest typical whitetail on record taken with a crossbow. It's Ohio's No. 1 typical whitetail, and the Boone and Crockett Club's 11th largest whitetail on record -- a tremendous 10-point officially measuring 208 7/8 inches gross, and netting 201 1/8 inches.

Ask him about the deer and those years dissolve in a fresh shot of adrenalin as he remembers the hunt like yesterday.

"I first saw it at dusk the evening before, about 200 yards out from my tripod stand," said Jerman. "It was chasing does but they wouldn't stand. It was a monster even from that distance."

Jerman had a video camera with him and he really wanted to get footage of the buck. He stuck around after last light and long after dark waiting and holding the camera. Finally he climbed down -- leaving his crossbow in the stand -- and left as quietly as he could.

"I had stayed so late my wife had started to worry by the time I got home," he said.

Jerman was hunting a small four-acre urban thicket with housing on one side and agricultural production on the other. There was nothing tall enough to hang a tree stand, so he was using the 12-foot tripod with camo netting surrounding the top. He crawled back into the area at 3:45 the following morning, laying a doe-in-heat scent trail as he moved to the stand. As he was settling into the stand he bumped the crossbow and a deer blew at him.

"I was really dejected thinking I had blown it, but I blew back at the deer. About a half hour later a buck snort-wheezed nearby, so I snort-wheezed back, imitating a competitive buck," Jerman said.

Daylight was a longtime coming for this hyped-up crossbow hunter on November 10, 2004. But as dawn broke, he could see three does feeding around his stand. Suddenly a set of gigantic whitetail antlers appeared in the brush. The buck would jump at a doe and she would move away, and then it would move to another.

"I was so focused on working out the shot in a shooting lane, I didn't get nervous," Jerman said.

One of the does ran right by his tripod stand and the buck followed. It stopped at the scent trail and huffed at it before moving after the doe. Both animals moved into a thicket.

"I could hear the buck moving around, even hear it breathing but I couldn't see it. It was 15 feet away but I couldn't see it," he said.

A doe came out of the thicket and passed a shooting lane 15 yards out. Jerman could hear the buck lower its head and see saplings move as it headed out after her.

Then finally the giant buck moved through the same shooting lane. Jerman lined up a quartering-away shot at 18 yards. He pulled the trigger, and the arrow slid down the rail and sank into the deer.

The buck bolted but only ran 25 yards before it fell.

"I don't remember hitting a rung on the ladder getting down. Later I learned I had taken the arteries off the top of the heart with the shot," Jerman said, still with excitement in his tone.

The crossbow hunter knew he had a big deer. He had killed a 155-inch, typical 10-pointer in the 2001 season. Jerman, a devout Christian, called his pastor and told him he had killed a buck at least 170 inches. As Jerman was checking the buck, a deliveryman was pulling out of the check station parking lot, saw the deer and turned around. The man had just killed a trophy buck with a muzzleloader. He told Jerman that this buck wasn't just a big deer -- it was a record-book buck, and explained all those things he needed to do to document it.

Brad Jerman, like many in states that permit general crossbow use in archery season, converted to the crossbow from the firearms ranks.

"I had heard all the stories about how hard and long it took to become proficient with a compound bow, and the crossbow's shooting technique is the same as a shoulder held firearm -- all I had to do was adjust to hunting whitetail at a much closer range," he said. Also like many who convert to a crossbow from the gun ranks, Jerman said, "since that time, I've killed deer with a compound and a recurve bow. The recurve is a challenge, but I didn't find the compound any more difficult to shoot well than the crossbow.

"I get just as excited after the shot with any of the three archery hunting devices," he said.

Jerman said he had heard many comments over the years about what a shame it was he killed the monster with a crossbow instead of a real bow.

"I just don't know how that kind of attitude can be justified. I think a trophy is a great photo of a doe on a beautiful morning in the woods," hr said.

Jerman said an even greater reward is that his wife and two of his three daughters have arrowed deer with a crossbow.

"My 10-year old will start her hunting career this season with a crossbow," said the hunter. "If anyone in the ranks of sportsmen has a problem with that it's their problem."

For more information on this fantastic buck and the hunter who killed it, visit www.thejermanbuck.com.

Wendy White pursued this 12-point buck for two weeks in 2006 on a ranch Utopia, Texas, before piercing it with a crossbow arrow. Photo courtesy of Wendy White.

WHITE BUCK
145 1/8th, 25 Points -- SCI Estate No. 1

When Wendy White isn't up to her ears in administering the construction company business or guide business, she's hunting. Hogs, turkeys, deer or exotics in Texas, other states, Africa or South America aren't safe around White. She's a proud Texican hunting machine. She hunts exclusively with a crossbow, but in most of her Texas photos the hogleg, six shooter is in the holster -- for rattlers or for tracking wounded boar in the brush.

Wendy was hunting on a ranch out of Utopia, Texas, at the end of 2006. She and her hunting partner Butch Hendrickson had been hunting a buck for nearly two weeks before Wendy glassed it again in the early afternoon.

They quickly set up her pop-up blind, and she settled in for the afternoon hunt.

"With just about a half hour of shooting time left, I caught movement to the left front of my viewing-shooting window. Sure enough it was the 12-pointer I had been hunting," White said.

It stopped in her shooting lane at 22 yards.

"I lined up the crosshairs and squeezed off the shot," said White. "The buck gave the high rear leg kick."

Butch came by just after dark to pick her up.

"We tracked the buck 40 yards. I had shot it through the heart," White said. "It was a long, hard season that year, and the buck was taken in the last several days of it. January 1, 2007, started the year off great for me!"

White has taken at least 150 animals with a crossbow, including 25 for the record books. In Pits and Peccaries of the World Award (SCI) she has the No. 1 ranking for: warthog, wild boar and collared peccary, also called a javelina.

"I hunt an average of 150-200 days a year, and for the last 11 years, I've hunted exclusively with a crossbow," White said.

To learn more about the guide service visit White's site, www.butchandwendyshuntingadventures.com.

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