• TOO Buck of the Month - April 2014: Fluteman and The Streak Buster

    Buck of the Month is BACK!!! And we start in a big way this month with one of the best stories of the year here on TOO. I've had the privilege to hunt with Greg many times over the years and no one deserved a great buck more than him last season. I'm proud to call him my friend and we're happy to enjoy his story once again. Great work buddy!!!

    Greg's original reflection on the hunt...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluteman View Post
    “The streak is over,” read the text as I hit send; Over five years of “should’ves” and “could’ves,” misses and mess-ups, a streak of “bad luck,” came to an end. With the release of a single arrow, every mistake I ever made seemed to vanish as that arrow connected with my greatest nemesis.

    The entire story actually begins several years before, but in order to get through this quicker, we are going to start with 2010. There was a lot of buildup to this season, as Kate and I had bought our first house with a nice chunk of land that year. Running trail cams proved there were great deer in the area, but we had no idea where to start. The first year I spent trying to figure out the lay of the land and how the deer traveled, but I just couldn’t put the pieces together. I ended up chasing a nice buck around behind my parents, and had two close encounters with him, but was never able to connect.

    The following year, 2011, came in with high expectations, as there were three great bucks that had survived the previous season, and were looking better than ever. There were also several great up and coming bucks, including one we called Long Neck, a buck that earned his name thanks to his long, skinny neck. Kate and I put in our time scouting and felt prepared for the season. The first four days, Kate and I hunted together, as we were in search of a candidate for her first bow kill. The second morning, we had two great encounters with nice young bucks, but they were too far for her comfort level. That evening presented her with 12 yard shot on a nice doe, but she refused to shoot because she had a “baby” with her. The fourth day was a wet and dreary one, and Kate had work. I skipped out on the morning hunt, as the rain was pouring down. Kate came home, excited to get out and hunt, as she felt it was going to be a great night. There was still a light drizzle, so we packed up and headed for the ground blind. The blind was set up on the edge of a hayfield, overlooking a low spot where deer like to cross. I had just got the camera set up and ready and we were talking when I noticed movement and told her to get ready. As the buck crested the hill, I recognized him. Kate couldn’t see him yet, due to the fact that he was to her right, and she whispered, “Is it a baby?” I replied with, “It’s Longneck,” and she was instantly excited. The buck came in on a string, and gave her a broadside shot at 13 yards, resulting in her first deer ever, a mid 120’s eight point. I was so excited for her, and she was very proud of her accomplishment, so we decided that Longneck deserved a spot on the wall.

    The deer went to the taxidermist and came back home several months later, and Kate insisted we hang him on the wall in MY mancave. There was no argument from me, as it fit in well in my deer themed man room, despite the fact that the only buck on the wall was killed by wife. The jokes came one after another, and I couldn’t help but laugh about it. I had my chances, but I always seemed to blow them. Truth be told, I was and still am more proud of that deer than any I have ever killed, because I was there with my wife when she harvested her first deer.

    The 2012 season began much like 2011, with high hopes and trail camera pictures. With the hayfield being planted in beans, we were seeing more quality deer than we ever had. It seemed like we had half a dozen bucks we considered shooters running around. I ran cameras all summer and scouted my butt off, and felt confident going into the season. There was two particular bucks that I had watched off and on all summer and knew they were staying close, one was a tall eight, a mid 130’s eight, and Stickers, a 150+” main frame nine with a split brow on one side and several stickers on the other, hence the name. I hunted hard and had an encounter with the tall eight in November, and let him walk at 35 yards because I wasn’t 100% sure it was him. See, my rule of thumb for shooting a buck is there has to be no question in my head as to whether or not a buck is a shooter. If there’s any doubt, he walks. It’s kind of ironic though, because I kicked myself in the butt as I watched this buck “walk” away. Gun season came and went, and I was still getting pictures of Stickers, so I decided to make a move on him. I borrowed a muzzy from Jesse, and went after him the first two days of the late black powder season with no luck. He came in five minutes after I left the second evening, and was there the following morning, too bad I was at work. Stickers continued to make appearances on camera, and I was feeling confident that I would get a crack at him with my bow if I stayed persistent. Suddenly, he vanished on camera, and I couldn’t figure out why. It didn’t take long to figure out. I went out one afternoon to check the cameras and found footprints in the melting snow headed towards my camera. As I approached the camera, I see an old torn up hat laying just outside it’s trigger area. Dumbfounded, I started looking all around and also found a pair of rubber gloves turned inside out with the nastiest smelling stuff I’ve ever smelled buried under the leaves next to a big tree, again, just outside the trigger area. Someone was trying to mess with me. It all made sense as to why the deer disappeared; someone found my cam and knew this deer was using that area and sabotaged my setup. I know it sounds crazy, but the same person I assumed sabotaged my setup also killed that deer that same week. Coincidence, maybe, but there’s more to the story that I’m not going to get into.

    And so we come into the present year, 2013. This year started with the welcoming of our first child on April 21st. I knew this precious little girl was going to have a great impact on my life, but I wasn’t sure just how much. Everyone says time flies once you start having children, and I am here to tell you, it feels like life is on fast forward, this year has flown by. Our baby girl is now five months old, and Kate is back in school, working on her RN.

    Knowing that my time in the woods was going to be very limited this year, I decided to take a different approach to hunting. I had been running cameras for 5 years, and I loved getting pictures, but running cameras never helped me to kill a deer, at least not a buck. I felt like the cameras were turning me into a lazy hunter, relying too heavily on what the cameras say and ignoring the obvious signs and patterns. Since my time in the woods was going to be severely limited, and I was having issues with other people boogering up my setups, I decided to take a different approach: No cameras and no permanent hunting setups. I’ve had some of my most successful hunts back in the days when I used a climber and moved around every day, so I decided to get back to the basics. Plus this wouldn’t allow others to hone in on me. After running cameras for two months, I pulled them the end of July and stayed out of the area all together. Truth be told, I just didn’t have time to get out and scout. That wonderful baby had given me a new passion in life, and I could care less about how much time I got to spend preparing for bow season, as it had taken a back seat.

    September came and went without a day in the stand. Kate was back to school, in class or clinical every day of the week, I wasn’t sure when I would get to hunt, but her schooling and Izzy came first, so I figured I would make the best of it. October started, and I had been watching the ten day forecast, eyeballing my “tea break,” which was my one day off between my transition from working days to working nights (that day happened to be Monday, October 7th). There was supposed to be a cooler weather and rain moving it, and I was thinking this could be a good first day to get out.

    As that day came closer, I was noticing deer on their feet and moving earlier in the evening, especially around the house. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I watched deer hitting the dried beans (including a 120” eight) behind the house, and this just blew me away. In all my years of bowhunting agricultural property, I had never once had a chance to hunt over beans when the deer were really hammering them. They were either dry and the deer had moved on when the season came in, or were cut before the deer were on them again. My best guess as to the reason the deer are hitting them so hard this year is due to the lack of a solid acorn crop. Sunday night rolled around, and I had developed a plan for an evening hunt, but the morning was still up in the air. With rain moving in, I wasn’t sure if I would even head out, but my alarm went off at 5:30AM and the weather channel said the rain had moved off. I got ready and headed out the door for a stand across the road on an oak flat just off the edge of a bean field. That morning was beautiful, but I didn’t see a single deer. There were turkeys north of me, and squirrels all around, but no deer.

    I went home and gathered up my mobile setup and headed right back out to hang it for the evening hunt. I had been seeing does pop out of a little finger of woods between two bean fields and had a plan to ambush them. I had made up my mind that I was going to kill a doe, so out I went to hang that stand. I reached the point on the edge of the field where I wanted to hang, and found the perfect tree for Monday’s wind. The finger was actually the head of a holler that petered out above a small cave; a perfect little pinch point. It was 20 yards across and very open. I hung in a group of three trees 20’ up, with the stand facing up the finger . I had a bean field directly below me and to my right, and a bean field 20 yards to my left. After I pruned a few quick lanes, I was out of there and back home to watch the baby while Kate headed off to school.

    Kate finished up with school and was home by 4:30, and I didn’t expect the deer to be moving until just before dark, so I showered up and headed for the stand. I had a 150 yard walk from my back door to the tree, so I was there by 5:00. I only had my bow and binos, as this was going to be a short hunt/scouting mission. I could see both fields well, so if I didn’t kill a doe, I figured I would at least get some good recon in. I climbed into stand and strapped my harness in, and pulled my bow up, hanging it on the hook. I just finished putting my gloves on and was debating on whether or not to put my beanie on when I heard a rustle behind me. I slowly turned my head and couldn’t believe it when I saw a buck standing at 10 yards, staring straight through my tree. At first, I thought, “F, I’m busted, he’s seen me moving,” but I remained still. Where the hell did this deer come from? I was looking over my shoulder almost directly behind me, and it was straining my left eye trying to focus, so I had to close it. I could tell it was a decent buck, big bodied, but he didn’t have much for brows. Initially, I thought he was just an eight. He stood there like a stone statue for what seemed like forever, but never once looked up at me. I was trying to decide if he was a shooter. After what I would guess to be five minutes, he turned his head and looked back behind him. That’s when I saw that he was actually a ten with good g2’s and g3’s. At that point, there was no question in my mind that he was a shooter. I reached for my bow and made a quick turn while he was looking away. Just as I was getting in position to draw, he turned back in my direction, flipped his tail, and started right for my tree. The finger was wide open, and I didn’t have anywhere to draw, luckily he cut to the left of me and passed behind a big tree, giving me time to draw. I was anchored and ready to go as soon as he stepped out, less than five paces from my tree. I let out a bleat, but he took one too many steps, leaving a limb covered in leaves between me and him. I inched to the back of the platform, leaning forward to try and get enough clearance to make the shot. I came off my anchor to look down the shaft to see if there was room, and decided I had to take the shot. There was a good chance if he hit the field edge, he would head off in the wrong direction, not giving me another shot. I settled back in to my anchor point as he put his head down, getting ready to take a step. I held my pin just behind the top of the shoulder, settled in, and before I knew it, the arrow was on it’s way. The broadhead clipped the spine on the way down through and dropped him right in his tracks. Quickly, I nocked another arrow and sent it through his rib cage. He expired shortly after.

    I hung my bow up and stood there in disbelief, just beginning to shake. Everything happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to get all worked up, but the adrenalin was starting to flow now. What the hell just happened? How did that deer not bust me? Did that really just happen? All these thoughts were flying through my head, I was overcome with joy. Fumbling through my pocket, I managed to pull out my phone. “The streak is over,” read the text as I hit send, the message headed to the one person I knew would appreciate what this meant to me more than just about any other. That person had been there to encourage me time and time again, helping me back up in the saddle after more than one tough break. I’m not sure he understands just how grateful I am of the encouragement over the years, but it meant an awful lot to me.

    After the text went out, I dialed and redialed and dialed again Kate’s number. I’m sure when she saw me calling ten minutes after I left, she was thinking the worst. “Kate, I shot a buck,” was all I could get out, and I could hear her screaming for joy on the other end. She wanted to come and meet me, but I told her to wait. I wanted to make sure the deer had expired. After watching him for a minute, I was certain he had taken his last breath, so I climbed down. My knees still trembling, I took a minute to stop and thank God for allowing me a chance at such a wonderful animal, and then began my trek back to the house. Kate and Izzy met me half way, and we shared hugs and excitement. I replayed the events, acting it all out, still in disbelief that it happened.

    After we snapped pics where he fell, we loaded him up and headed to the house for more pictures. My nephew had to come over and check out Uncle Bubba’s big buck and help me get him gutted and all taken care of. I called my dad to tell him about the nights events, all the while my phone was buzzing with texts and voicemails. I can’t begin to tell you how good you guys on the forum can make a scrub hunter like myself feel with all the encouragement and congratulations! Definitely a great bunch of guys we have here, and I appreciate the support!

    As I finish this story, the hunt is now 30 hours past, and I still feel like I’m flying a mile high. I’m so grateful I was able to harvest a great buck, and by far my biggest, after five plus years of buck tag soup. He may not be a monster, but he’s a trophy in my book, and I’m not sure I could fully appreciate him without the journey it took to reach this point.

    Thanks for baring with me, but for such a quick hunt, there was just so much more to the story…

    Not 100% sure, but I think that's him, center frame.


    I received a phone call last week that I had patiently been waiting for; a call that would finally bring this chapter to a close. My taxidermist had called to say my buck was done. As I made the drive, I began reflecting back on how good 2013 was to me. First and foremost, my wife and I were blessed with our first child in April. Not ten days after her birth, I harvested my first turkey. Deer season was just as good to me, as I harvested my first Pope and Young buck with a bow.

    As I pulled into the Tall Timber Taxidermy, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement, as well as a bit of sadness. You see, the chapter of 2013 was coming to an end. It was great to lay eyes on my buck again, but at the same time, it was sad that him coming home was the last paragraph to that chapter. As I stood there admiring him on the wall, I took a second to thank the good Lord for all that he had blessed me with. I thanked Preston for his fine work, and we made the trip home. Now he hangs on the wall of my man cave.

    2013 was a year of many firsts for me, but my greatest accomplishment of the year was most definitely the birth of my daughter. I can't help but believe God played a part in me harvesting this buck, and in turn, it allowed me to spend more time with my newly expanded family. I am grateful for this deer, but more than anything, I am thankful for the family I have. I truly am blessed.

    Comments 17 Comments
    1. bowhunter1023's Avatar
      bowhunter1023 -

      East test joe. Huh.
    1. RedCloud's Avatar
      RedCloud -
      Thread is locked
    1. bowhunter1023's Avatar
      bowhunter1023 -
      I'll look later. Not sure what happened.
    1. huntn2's Avatar
      huntn2 -
      I unlocked it.
    1. Bigslam51's Avatar
      Bigslam51 -
      Its the wrong link.
    1. RedCloud's Avatar
      RedCloud -
      Quote Originally Posted by huntn2 View Post
      I unlocked it.
      I would have but didn't know if that's what Jesse wanted to do or not so I didn't lol.
    1. Boarhead's Avatar
      Boarhead -
      Great write up and nice pics and mount.
    1. Mike's Avatar
      Mike -
      Great read and well deserved!
    1. Bigslam51's Avatar
      Bigslam51 -
      Its taking me to a different link. I'll try the computer.
    1. hickslawns's Avatar
      hickslawns -
      Replied to this and it was closed.

      I have been rooting for the Flute man hard the last few years. Can't think of many others who hunt as smart and as hard as him. Well deserving hunter! Congratulations on the slump buster!
    1. Fluteman's Avatar
      Fluteman -
      I appreciate it fellas. Feels good to finally take back my man cave with a deer of my own on the wall! LMAO
    1. finelyshedded's Avatar
      finelyshedded -
      Great read Greg! Congrats on an awesome year all around! You have a beautiful family and now have a great looking buck to adorn your man cave wall. Good luck to the Fleming family this season as well!
    1. Full bore's Avatar
      Full bore -
      Awesome read Greg! Congrats again on your buck. It's always nice to hear someone such as yourself, truly know how blessed he is. You have a great family and good things happen to good people. Nice taxi work on your deer too!
    1. JD Boyd's Avatar
      JD Boyd -
      Enjoyed reading that again. Congrats again!!!
    1. cotty16's Avatar
      cotty16 -
      Always a pleasure reliving TOO brother's hunts. This one gets me amped up for the season again!
    1. twireman's Avatar
      twireman -
      Enjoyed reading that Fluteman! Congrats on a wonderful year in your life. Here's to many more man!
    1. Fluteman's Avatar
      Fluteman -
      Hey, thanks fellas. I truly do appreciate it!