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Cactus Bucks and Lucky Hunting Hats-Tom Lounsbury

Tom Lounsbury

Sat, 23 Feb 2013 18:52:31 EST


Bob Peruski, owner of Lucky’s Hunting Blinds in Ubly, first produced his portable ground blind 20 years ago. Its unique ability to be setup quickly by a simple flick of the wrists and pushing in some handy ground stakes located in a special pocket to anchor it firmly, make it a very user friendly, weatherproof and effective hunting blind. Over the years the blind has been made in various sizes, camouflage configurations and durable materials. Window designs as well have gone through their own transition, with Peruski’s goal to make this blind better than ever. And he has.
The new Lucky’s “Super Star 2” at 6 feet high and 7 and a half feet wide offers plenty of space, even for two hunters. The five 14 x 26 inch windows with split camouflage screens offer plenty of visibility and maneuverability with gun or bow, and the lack of Velcro allows them to be operated silently. The black interior also does a better job of concealing the hunter within, as well as the black material used for closing up the windows causes them to have the same outward appearance whether open or closed. (For more information, check out
Using a good ground blind is very essential to me, and more so than ever last fall. While planting a CRP field on my farm the previous spring, I became pinned when hooking up equipment. During the process of getting out of my predicament, I injured my left leg, which would later require extensive surgery. I spent several weeks during the summer keeping the leg immobile, and as the 2007 October archery deer season approached, I was still getting around on crutches. My surgeon had strongly advised me to avoid my usual active hunting style, and climbing up into any tree stands was a distinct taboo for my condition.
If I were to go bowhunting at all, I would have to work out a system that caused minimal walking and allowed me a comfortable seat with my feet on the ground. With this in mind, my preseason archery practice entailed releasing my arrows from a seated position. Fortunately for me, I had just started using a new Darton “Pro 3000” compound bow. My first experience with it was for the earlier spring turkey hunting. Draw weight is set at 55 pounds, and the bow pulls back and breaks over smoothly, and the unique two and a half cam casts the flattest and fastest arrow I have ever released. (For more information, check out ).
The TruGlo sight pins are the wraparound fiber optic type that really gathers in the light, and I selected a Whisker Biscuit arrow rest for durable dependability. A mechanical string release can make or break a difficult shot, and I opted for the Scott Archery “Saber Tooth”, which is a double caliper design with an adjustable trigger for acute accuracy. (Check out ).
When opening morning arrived I donned my lucky, Scottish wool cap. I’ve had some exciting bowhunting moments while wearing that plaid cap, and I believed I needed all the help I could get. Knowing how luck can often have a key impact in hunting, especially for whitetails, I do tend to be a bit superstitious.
Since I was hunting from a good enclosed blind, I knew I didn’t have to go about dressed up like the local flora. So I donned my typical earth tone work clothes, which entailed Carhartt bibs that offered a secure zippered pocket for the cell phone my wife insisted that I carry. I also put on my amber/orange tinted (called “Hawkeye”) prescription shooting glasses that not only help clarify things visually in lowlight but also enhance using fiber optic sights.
Reaching the hunting blind required an ATV, and I slowly motored my way through the predawn darkness with my bow strapped in its case on the back, and my crutches on the front of the handy vehicle. After parking the ATV in the brush and throwing a camouflage rain poncho over it, I crutched the short distance to the prepared blind, uncased my bow and settled down to wait for morning’s light and the new season to arrive.
The season had been on for about 15 minutes when I decided to pour myself a cup of coffee from a thermos bottle. I about choked on the first sip when I saw a large antler lift up out of the cover 50 yards away, as the buck plucked an apple off a limb. I set the cup quietly down and brought my binocular into play. What I saw was an acquaintance from the previous year I had dubbed the “Cactus Buck” due to an unusual and spiny antler on his left side. He had ambled by underneath my tree stand near the end of the ’06 firearms season. Fortunately for him at that moment, I had already used both of my buck tags and was only hunting for a plump doe. I had not seen him since, but knew he was probably still around. For a fact, he was a real recluse.
Suddenly he lost interest in apple picking and began walking directly towards me and I came to the realization that I wasn’t exactly ready yet. My bow was resting on the ground beside me, all arrows still in the bow quiver, and mechanical release still buckled to the bowstring. I was buckling up the Scott release on my wrist when the buck passed by the widow directly in front of me. This would have offered a 20 yard broadside shot, and I could have stopped him with a buck grunt from my throat, but I still wasn’t ready, and you need to be ready when you get a deer to suddenly pause. The grunt can create an adverse effect sometimes, with the pause only lasting a second, if at all.
The buck eased down into an open, shallow ravine and was now quartering away from the window to my left, which was actually perfect for my seated position. He had passed the 30 yard mark when I removed an arrow from the quiver, nocked it on the string, hooked up the release and drew the arrow back to my anchor point and peered through the large peep. The buck had just passed the 35 yard mark when I let out a loud grunt which stopped him, and I lined up the appropriate sight pin.
Quartering away shots are actually my favorite, and in the case of using an arrow, I always try to visualize the impact point to be in line with making an exit out just behind the off shoulder. With the buck slightly below me, the impact point was just to the left of his spine, between the last two ribs. The arrow would pass through the top off the left lung and continue on through the center of the right lung.
The moment the buck stopped and my sight pin was on just the right spot, I squeezed the release trigger. The Beman carbon arrow tipped with a three-blade 100 grain Muzzy left on a course to the buck so fast that my eye couldn’t track it. Despite the longer range, I heard the arrow strike home simultaneously to my touching the trigger. The buck let out a surprised bellow and dropped right in his tracks. Not one to shy away from gift horses I quickly nocked another arrow, lined up and sent it through the buck’s lungs as an insurance shot. I didn’t want any unusual surprises when I ventured up to the deer on my crutches.
Thanks to the cell phone, my son Jake soon arrived to lend me a hand with the field dressing. Post mortem review determined the first arrow had clipped both ribs, tore through the top of the left lung and then angled up through the main artery in the back and lodged deeply in the spine. Bones can do amazing things to arrow trajectory, and the end result was very fatal quite quickly. With my being on crutches, having that deer drop on the spot was a real bonus.
Rain came pouring down from the sullen autumn sky as Jake and I labored to load the heavy deer into the back of my truck. The wet atmosphere didn’t even come close to dampening my spirit for a fine opening morning, or the fact that I had bagged a nice Thumb buck from a “made in Michigan hunting blind”, using a “made in Michigan bow”.



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