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There Really Was a Godzilla
Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:34:50 EST
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There Really Was a Godzilla
By Tom Lounsbury
Local deer hunting here in the Thumb, especially the November firearms season, holds a special place in my heart, and I truly love the entire atmosphere from start to finish. It has a very unique essence and a flavor all of its own and our area offers excellent deer hunting opportunities too. It is a timeframe that I literally live for every year.
I’ve had opportunities to hunt for whitetails in other parts of the country, but when their timeframes conflicted with my local deer hunting, I had to pass, and with no regrets. I can remember talking to a fellow who claimed if you really wanted to bag a big buck, you’d have to go out of state, because they didn’t exist in these parts. I’m not sure how or where exactly he was hunting, or what he considered as being a “big buck” (he seemed to always talk in inches and anything under “a 140 incher” was beneath his consideration). Needless to say I didn’t agree at all with his conclusion and I wish him well on hunting elsewhere. Folks are always welcome to their opinions.
By understanding a little bit about the scoring process per whitetail buck racks, I actually know what “a 140 inch class” represents, and in my opinion that is an outstanding buck anywhere. However, I could care less about how many inches of antler any of the bucks I have tagged had nor have I ever had any desire to have any of them scored. What I consider as being a big buck is purely a very personal matter with me, and I believe that attitude covers a lot of deer hunters. I’ve been hunting local Thumb whitetails for over 50 years now, and I’ve known my share of “big bucks” (in my opinion anyway).
I didn’t always end up tagging them of course, but I sure got to know and deeply respect them, and there has been a continual number of bucks along the way some folks will claim don’t exist in these parts, and I’m only talking about the ground I hunt on (they certainly exist elsewhere in the Thumb). It has been my distinct honor to pursue them, and one thing these bucks all have in common is an individual character which sets them apart. So much so, I tend to give them names.
One such buck I hunted whenever possible just a few years ago, I had dubbed “White-Horns”, and I came close to getting him a couple times, but when he wasn’t good at doing his skillful art of survival, he tended to be real lucky. He also had a set range he wandered in too, which covered better than three miles square, and I could only hunt him when he ventured into my hunting grounds. What caused his eventual demise was getting hit by a motor vehicle (I heard later he scored “162”, which is an outstanding buck - but then again some folks claim they don’t exist in these parts). He was a real tough bugger too, because I can remember seeing him dragging a hind leg after being injured and still chasing does until he finally ran out of steam.
The most recent buck I came to know and deeply respect is one I named “Godzilla”, because in my opinion he was a monster buck. I almost think there is a strong possibility he was directly related to White-Horns, because he looked a whole lot like him rack-wise, and had very similar traits while covering the same territory. Like White-Horns, I guessed it was an easy 3 miles square from the different points I spotted and recognized him while driving around. The last time I saw him before hunting season was while he was bedded in a summer wheat field with his big velvet antlers poking up. And he tended to be a loner, which isn’t uncommon for bucks of this nature.
The next time I saw Godzilla was when the 2016 firearms deer season was almost a week old. I had 16 year old Kyle Schneeberger of Cass City hunting with me, and as is my case with a young hunter under my wing, he was the shooter and I was the guide and spotter with a binocular and deer calls while we sat together in a two-person ladder-stand. It was just before dark when I spotted a large deer stepping into the open 200 yards away and I began carefully glassing it. I immediately let Kyle know the deer was a real “gagger”, and when Kyle asked what a “gagger” meant I explained it was when I looked at a buck’s rack through a binocular, and start almost choking on my chewing tobacco.
Using deer calling to lure bucks into range can be futile at times during the peak of the rut when a lot of bucks already have a hot doe with them. They are pretty much focused on the doe at hand, and rarely respond to calling, at least that has been my experience, and calling is my favorite deer hunting technique. Since the big buck I had just glassed (and certain it was Godzilla) was alone and might be looking around for a date, I sent out a “lonesome doe” bleat, which he took immediate notice to.
When the buck turned back into the cover, I told Kyle to get ready. We were experiencing sudden gusts of wind, and I waited until a lull appeared to call again in the hopes of bringing the buck into the range I thought Kyle could effectively handle with the .44 Magnum rifle he was using. The buck suddenly appeared in the open 150 yards away, and stopped fully broadside and Kyle locked on with the rifle, and to his credit, he asked for the green light to shoot. He could see through the scope it was a real dandy of a buck. However we were experiencing sudden wind gusts that even moved our stand, and I wasn’t comfortable at all with a 150 yard shot, even if I was the shooter instead (wind drift and bullet drop were certain serious considerations), and I told Kyle to wait until I could call the buck in closer. I let out another doe bleat but it was clear the buck was having trouble figuring out just where it was coming from in the windy conditions.
All of a sudden the buck looked into the distance away from us and I could tell by his body posture that he had spotted something just coming into the field that Kyle and I couldn’t see. I’m almost certain it was a lone doe we had spotted passing near us a few minutes before we saw the buck, and I believe the buck made the assumption it was the “lonely lady” he was hearing calling in the wind. He took off at a gallop, in the wrong direction for us of course, and disappeared. Not long after that moment it was quitting time, and I felt bad Kyle didn’t get a chance for what I considered as being an ethical shot to take. However we were both thrilled at seeing an outstanding buck and almost having things happen. Kyle bagging that big buck would have certainly worked for me, and there was no doubt in my mind it was Godzilla.
A couple days later I was loading hunting gear in my Jeep for the afternoon hunt when my lifelong neighbor and friend Randy Vollmar drove up my driveway and it was clear he had a big deer in the back of his truck.
Randy had bagged the buck the evening before (at 100 yards using a .450 Bushmaster), and there was no doubt in my mind it was Godzilla lying in the truck bed. The fact was Randy and I had talked about the big deer just a week earlier, and we both knew he was around, somewhere in our neighborhood, and we wished each other luck. It was a real pleasure having a chance to get a close look at the buck and actually touch his antlers and ponder his massive body size.
Godzilla was a dandy buck for sure, and he was for real. Randy Vollmar of Cass City will testify to that fact!
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Randy Vollmar of Cass City with Godzilla. Randy bagged the dandy Thumb
buck on November 22, 2016.