The final chapter of Intrepid Outdoors’ Challenge of the Hunt is here. Managing deer is a necessity to harvesting the biggest bucks on a property. That story is no different at the Solitude Ranch and this week’s video blog follows hunter Danny Baugher help with the Solitude’s management process. Intrepid Outdoors producer Bob Lott was right in the action, filming Danny’s entire hunt and shared it through the written word.
For more than six years I’ve been beating on doors, traveling to as many trade shows as possible and trying to meet the right people that would sponsor Intrepid Outdoors.
This process used to work better back in the day, but these days, the companies that have the funding to advertise with TV shows are over run with requests to be a part of new productions coming out, what seems like, every day. Along this tedious trail, I’ve met a lot of good people who have been friends for years! One of those guys was Danny Baugher (pronounced bocker), an ex-military and hardcore sales rep for Outtech. Working for the largest rep group in the hunting and outdoor industry takes up most of Danny’s time, so as in most cases with jobs in this industry, whether it be in our TV world or the sales world, he doesn’t get to hunt that much.
Instead, he spends most of his time bringing the best new products to all of the big box stores across his three to four state region. Danny and I met at the Ohio deer and Turkey Expo in 2008, and we have been friends ever since. Each year we visit at the trade shows and try to do a hunt together. It doesn’t always work out, but in 2011. he put a team together that consisted of Pat Mckenna of Ameristep Quality Hunting, his dad John, and good friend Mitch Thorpe. Danny wanted to attempt a repeat of his 2009 bowhunt. That year he came out to the Solitude Ranch, hooked up with his lucky charm, ME, and killed a very nice Mule Deer buck that made some pretty comical video.
His Dad and friend were looking for a mature management whitetail buck, but Danny was insisting on taking another Mulie buck. After four days into their five-day hunt, and still having no luck closing the distance on a Mule deer, Danny changed his target to a whitetail buck. You see his dad, and good friend Mitch had already tagged out on great bucks with their bows, and Pat Mckenna had taken his first Mule deer buck over a water hole. Danny was feeling the pressure so he opted to see if his lucky charm, ME, could go with him on his last couple of hunts.
I was able to get clearance from the boss to go with my distraught friend to see if we could make it happen before time ran out! Our first hunt was out of an Ameristep Carnivore ground blind, and although we had the perfect mature six-point buck headed our way, he never closed the distance for Danny.
We checked the wind, and made a plan to hunt the Muddy Pond in the morning. This stand is a very special place, and Mike Schmid, the owner of the Solitude Ranch doesn’t let just anyone hunt it. Mike was chasing a big buck he’d named “The Man” that year, and that buck wasn’t living anywhere near the Muddy Pond. The green light was given and our hunt began at daylight. This stand site is over a small pond that has a constant parade of deer walking past and drinking before heading to their beds for the day.
The target animal?
A mature eight point to help the management program Mike had initiated in 2006. The challenge of shooting the right deer on this hunt would be very trying on Danny’s nerves. You see, once the sun came up lots of bucks and does are coming and going pretty quickly. We even had a couple of Spike Bull Elk come in and spar a little. Danny’s challenge would be shooting the right deer, and my challenge was not only filming the itchy trigger fingered Danny, but to also identify a mature eight that was OK to shoot. After several bucks came and went, we finally had one coming through the oaks that with just a few glimpses, seemed mature.
Danny, having a better view of the trail coming into the water hole, was eye balling me pretty hard, waiting on the green light to shoot. The buck just walked into the view finder of my camera and I immediately saw that he was a shooter. Not a huge buck, but definitely mature. The deer had no real potential to be bigger than he was standing in front of us. I said yes, and Danny wasted no time in drawing his bow, settling his pin and TWHACK!!
The arrow was a little back, but the deer immediately laid down within 30 yards of our set. Danny wasted no time and put another arrow in him to make sure he was mortally wounded. We decided to back out, just in case, and come back a couple of hours later. After a short walk, I was able to locate the expired buck, yelling for Danny to come see his first archery whitetail buck on the Solitude Ranch.
He was very happy that I’d recovered the buck and reminded me that I’d also found his Mule deer buck he took a few years earlier. Danny had done exactly what Mike asked him to do: he took a mature buck that absolutely had no further potential.
The buck — although it was a nine point and looked like it could have been younger due to it’s antlers — was later aged by comparing the teeth to previously aged deer jaw bones. He was aged at a conservative 6 ½ years old. This buck needed to go, and Danny was proud to take him back to Ohio! Mike Schmid’s management practices have paid off well. Mike has taken the number one and two Pope & Young typical whitetails in the state of Wyoming. A huge part of that is having more than willing management hunters come out to take out the trash. Another great hunt for Danny and all of his hunting party, but for him and I, it was just more proof that I am truly his lucky charm!
Tune in for this weeks episode of Intrepid Outdoors Monday at 6:30 PM ET, Friday at 3 PM ET and Saturday at 12 PM ET.