Luke Bayse, a 17-yr old Thomasville hunter, isn’t your typical youth deer hunter. While many teen hunters are happy to get a shot at anything in the woods, Bayse is very selective in what he shoots, and this attitude has resulted in his share of trophy bucks, including a Chatham County 11-point buck he shot last week that has been green-scored at 141.
Bayse has been watching this buck with the help of trail cameras for over three years, and this year decided it was big enough to shoot. He had to wait a few days after the season opened because of the wind. Bayse and his dad had the buck patterned well enough to know that once the wind was right, whoever sat in that stand would have a chance to take this buck.
“On the first day the wind was right, my dad said that buck would come in that evening, even with someone in that stand” said Bayse, who got into the stand around 4:30, knowing this would give him plenty of time to get there without spooking the buck, which Bayse knew would be showing up between 6 and 7 p.m.
“Every day that buck had been showing up on the trail cam between 6 and 7 p.m., and it always came into the clearing after a bunch of does. I got in the stand way early, just to make sure I got in there in plenty of time without spooking anything coming in,” said Bayse.
Just as he suspected, the does showed up, then around 6:30, the buck came in. “The does were real thick, and there were some fawns with them. They were jumping and playing all around me and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to draw back without spooking them. The buck came in and went straight to the corn pile. He didn’t pay attention to anything else, so I wasn’t worried about him busting me, but I knew if I spooked just one of those does or fawns, it would be over,” said Bayse.
With an eye on the buck, but cautiously glancing at the does and fawns all around him, Bayse saw a chance to draw back. “Luckily I didn’t spook anything. The buck was just 15-yards away from me, standing broadside, so I had a good shot,” said Bayse, who shot the buck with a Mathews bow and Carbon Express arrow from a 28-foot high stand mounted to a pine tree. The deer immediately bolted, running about 300-yards before expiring.
Bayse doesn’t have access to a very large area to hunt, but he uses trail cameras to get the most out of two small tracts of land. He has one benefit that many youth hunters don’t; his family has truly managed their hunting land for trophy bucks since he was two years old. Still, he uses his own judgment in what deer to shoot, and he’s let bucks pass that many seasoned hunters would be proud to harvest.
“That’s one of the biggest benefits of having a trail camera. If I had never known there was a 140-class buck in there, I may have shot a 120-class buck, but I knew that buck was there, and I wasn’t going to shoot one smaller. Now I’m watching some other bucks that are 120-class bucks, but I’m going to let them walk like I did this one. When they are ready, I’ll know it, and I’ll know where they spend their time,” said Bayse.