Finding that prized buck is the No. 1 goal for most hunters each deer season.
As firearms season comes to a close Sunday, several local hunters have brought home that prize this year.
With the amount of white-tailed deer brought in for processing this year, Deer’s Inn Owner Jason Karr of Mitchell said it’s been a “big year for the buck.” Deer’s Inn processes deer meat into food, such as backstraps, summer sausage and tenderloins.
In 2017, 2,565 deer were harvested in Lawrence County, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Throughout the state, 113,595 were harvested in Indiana. Though the total state number showed a decline from the 119,477 of the previous year, it ranks as the 16th-highest recorded total of all time in the state. (Since 1951, a total of 3.77 million deer have been harvested in Indiana.) Folks such as Karr and Heltonville’s Hunter Phillips said there has been plenty of activity this season.
Phillips is one of the lucky ones who has been able to bring down a couple bucks this year. He said he killed an 11-point buck in Heltonville with a bow, and a 10-pointer in Owen County, Kentucky, with a high-powered rifle. Bow hunting is his favorite, he said, because the hunter has to get closer to a deer to bring it down and he loves the feeling that comes with drawing back the bow string.
“I’ve been hunting since Oct. 1 when the season came in, and I’ve been hunting hard since then,” he said. “This year, it seems there’s not a ton of chasing. But I’ve seen a lot of deer and a lot of movement. I’ve seen more big bucks this year than I have before.”
Phillips is a dedicated hunter. Hunting on his dad’s farm, as well as public land in Monroe County, he said he is usually scouting long before hunting season begins in order to maximize the potential of the hunt. If he’s having trouble killing a buck, he said he’ll hunt on the farm. The best spots for finding a big buck vary, he said, but he usually looks somewhere in between their food source and bedding area, as well as areas that are “really thick.”
“Starting from Jan. 1 through deer season, I’m trying to find where the deer are at, and trying to find new property to hunt on,” said the 23-year-old. “I’ve been hunting since I was about 7.
“ ... I’m just very thankful to be able to hunt in a state like this that has awesome management.”