Jamie Brincks Buck: Part II
By Jamie Brinks
I was looking forward to seeing what Crazy 8 would be this year so we started our trail cameras early. To our surprise we had some other nice bucks on camera, but nothing that I was positive was Crazy 8. There was another 10 point that had bent his G-3 on the left side at 90 degrees and had bailing twine wrapped around his right antler. We fittingly named him “Broken Twine.” Then there was a magnificent 16 pointer or possibly more we had on camera. He had a dropped main beam, drop tine, split brow tine, a flyer and a kicker off of that on his G-2. He was something!
I sat next to the creek one evening and a buck appeared out of the cornfield. It was hard for me to tell if I had seen this buck before or if I had him on camera. His rack was past his ears but it blended in with the cornstalks as he walked the field towards me so I couldn’t tell for sure who he was. He passed the first tree and walked along the opening to the cedar 29 yards in front of me. He stepped out on the other side and I gave a bleat to stop him.
I placed the 30 yard into the dark shadow behind his shoulder. I counted to three and squeezed the trigger of my release. The lighted nock glowed as it hit its mark. The buck spun and ran an accompanying doe over. He dashed behind the cedar and ran up the hill behind me. When I got down to find him the buck wasn’t far from where I last saw him. I instantly knew then that he was “Broken Twine”! I was extremely happy with the harvest!
The day I took Broken Twine the camera took a picture under my stand on the hill. November 6th, Crazy 8 made an appearance! He grew! He was a 4 point on the left and a 6 point on the right. He kept the split brow tine and the width.
Late muzzle loader season was upon us and Old Man Winter was hitting hard. I went out at 3pm and kicked out some early dining does in the cornfield. It was bitterly cold. 7 degrees with 17 mph winds that couldn’t make up their mind.
I heard something to my right and thought it must be a doe. I turned slowly and to my surprise it was Crazy 8! I grabbed the muzzle loader off of the branch to my left and began to stand as I removed my warm gloves. I felt the wind shift as he closed into 18 yards below me. He was completely unaware.
Then I felt the wind hit the left side of my face as I held my breath hoping he wouldn’t see me. Well that didn’t work. He looked up nose in the air and saw me plain as day without any leaves to hide my bundled figure in the tree.
He didn’t blow though. He just turned and put his nose to the ground and plowed through the woods like a bulldozer. I blew it again. I wasn’t mad though because I was so happy I got to see him again and that he had made it through shotgun season another year.
Soon after that encounter the woods exploded with impatient deer. I thought the does were the ones making all the noise but I was wrong. There through all the dark twigs I could make out main beams and tines. They began to jump the fence into the cornfield to find the precious kernels buried under the snow. One after another and sometimes two and three at a time stepped into the corn. Some even jumped and sprinted like they were overcome with joy. They were all small bucks so far and not a doe in the bunch.
Then out steps a buck that I had seen several times before on the horizon of the corn field. The drop tine makes his appearance into the field. The points are everywhere and going every which direction. He didn’t run or jump in the field like the others did. He seemed to be more methodical and precocious.
I shouldered the gun as Mr. Drop Tine cleared the tree that was blocking my view of him. He was out at 95 yards. I put the crosshairs on him, focused hard on the old nontypical concentrating on my aim and not my freezing hands. I squeezed the trigger as I tried to keep my aim on the heart of the buck. I can’t believe the gun hasn’t gone off yet. I can’t feel my fingers. I said to myself, “He’s perfectly broadside! Why won’t this gun go BOOM” the smoke fills the ice bowl I’m in. The buck spins and drops. I did it! Thank you God for this amazing experience!
I got down and waited for Doug to arrive. We loaded him into the car’s trunk and drove home. It was a wonderful evening. I think I finally thawed out just as we pulled into our driveway. That buck was super old. He had worn his molars all the way to his gum line. They were almost all flat without any ridges left. I think he was about 8 years old!
2014 season ended and it was a great one!
I changed out the batteries in the camera and hoped 2015 would bring a great shed season.
Crazy 8 stuck around and broke his right brow tine just before he lost his antlers. I looked all over the place for them but I didn’t find them.
On opening day we set up in a new stand in an old oak tree. I heard a twig crack behind me. Then complete silence. I was actually hoping it wasn’t Crazy 8. I was too nervous to see him so soon.
I saw feet on the floor of the fallen leaves. They appeared silent under the canopy of oak leaves. I spotted part of an antler then the whole rack of a heavy 10 point. He probably would score 150”. He flicked his tail and came into the clearing at 15 yards and stood there. He had an old scar on his left side that’s missing hair.
I decided to pass on him and let him walk. I couldn’t believe I would ever hear myself say that, but it was early in the season and I had plans of taking a different buck.
Soon after the 10 left, another buck came into the grass in front of me. His main beams were long and sweeping up. He looked like Crazy 8. It was Crazy! I was so proud of myself for passing on the 10.
He was too far out and the leaves of the oak trees blocked my view. I watched him in the beans as the sun sank down into the horizon. The next time we went out Crazy 8 did come out. He took to the top of the field and was too far to see him really good but I was so happy I got to see him that evening as well.
I saw him out in the grass on a different occasion. The wind was blowing hard and in my favor as the sun was setting. I was tempted to sneak up to him but quickly talked myself out of that idea.
I can’t recall when they were picking the beans but Crazy 8 did appear at the point in the cedars one evening. He heard the combine and I watched as he crested over the already picked beanfield to watch the combine in the other field on the hill.
The rut was starting (or I thought it was). Any time I hit the antlers together, a buck would come in fast and furious. It was so exciting! Crazy 8 never fell for the trick though. The next time I was out I caught a glimpse of a huge buck at the edge of some cedars. He was just beyond the grassfield. The sun was going down and seemed to be laying its rays perfectly on the buck. He seemed highlighted in the shadows of the trees in the background.
The buck walked up to a tree that had golden leaves shining in the setting sun. He did the licking branch thing, then laid down a scrape on the ground.
The image of the distant buck is burned into my head. I try to remember every moment. It was so beautiful. I try to capture it to tell it to you but I don’t think I know how to write such art. The buck was Crazy 8. I plan to paint this scene one day soon. He strutted through the grass and turned to go up the hill to the beans. He paused and lifted his head up high and threw his huge moose like rack back and scratched an itch right above his tail. I thank God for that beautiful moment. If I didn’t ever get a chance at him, I was perfectly fine with just this moment.
October 16, 2015, I was in the stand and oddly enough the bucks were on their feet that day!
There were two small bucks sparring when a large 8 point walked by. They gave him space and didn’t mess around while he passed them. He disappeared over the fence and into the woods.
Soon another buck came out into the beans and he wasn’t much larger than the two that were out there fighting. He ran his antlers into the side of the littler buck that didn’t back down when he approached. He shoved him so hard that he made the little guy loose his footing once he hit the tall grass.
The bully walked off and the two little bucks went at it again. They stopped and all attention was on the woods. I thought, “perhaps that big 8?”
I grabbed my bow. And to my surprise it was Crazy 8 just under where the old stand was last year. The two smaller bucks came towards me. Crazy 8 struts his stuff on the edge of the beans along the grass. He’s at 15 yards. I can’t see an opening through the oak leaves though!
He doesn’t approve of the two smaller bucks and he charges them. They get out of his way in a hurry. I draw back my bow and he’s at 9 yards. He’s quartering to me a little peering at the two bucks.
I settle my pin low and behind his left shoulder and wait for him to turn. I squeezed the trigger and heard a noise that didn’t sound right. I watched the deer of a lifetime lunge up into the grass and then to the beans. He was just standing there broadside. I look over his left side. I didn’t hit him. He’s at 40 yards and starts eating beans….are you kidding me!
I recall that my arrow didn’t look like it even went in the direction I was shooting. It went to the left and was up not down. I figured out that my arrow was on the side of my rest when I shot! What else could go wrong with this buck!
I went out many times after that. I didn’t have pictures of him and I didn’t see him anymore. I changed it up a bit. We set up another stand in a cedar that I sat under the year before, but had very little luck the rest of the year.
The last day of bow season I sat on the ground under a small cedar on the edge of the field. Crazy 8 came out 10 or 15 minutes before dark. He was 115 yards away. I took a picture of him with my phone for the first time.
December 16th, second shotgun season. We went out. The winds were out of the northwest. I sat under the small cedar again. It was cold and the wind was just ripping across that open field. I forgot my stool and had to find a limb on the old cedar to sit on. It was not comfy. Not at all. I was fidgety and just couldn’t seem to sit still…it was awful!
The cold was getting to me. My fingers were freezing along with my toes and oh my face mask, yeah; it was a sheet of frozen snot by now. It wasn’t that cold. It was the wind chill however that was killing me. The deer that I saw left on a full run across the field. I didn’t think I was going to have much luck tonight. I was going to take the advice of the deer and get out. I packed up my things and said so long to the cedar and crawled out into the open field.
I wanted to make sure getting out early wasn’t a mistake. I checked below in the field. The does were all down there. I didn’t count them but I didn’t want them to see me either. I caught something beyond the terrace I was above. It was the back of a deer. The deer lifts its head. It’s Crazy 8!
I wasted no time and had my bag open and shooting sticks ready in no time. I set the muzzle loader on top of the sticks getting ready for a shot, but I couldn’t see the whole body, the terrace is in the way.
I pulled up the sticks out of the mud and they came apart…fitting I guess for something to go wrong when hunting Crazy 8. I put them back together and I started to slowly close the distance on the buck being mindful not to spook him or the nearby does. I set up again and his head is down and he’s completely unaware. The gun flops to the left unexpectedly, I notice the shooting stick isn’t set in the ground and unstable. I fixed the problem and set the gun up for a third time.
I can see the whole body now above the terrace. I can see everything but his legs. I put the cross hairs tight to his right shoulder. He lifted his head and I breathed and squeezed. The gun went off just like it should and he went full speed down the side of the hill and out of sight.
My nerves were running wild. It seemed like a lifetime before Doug came over the hill. As he got closer to me I saw a large bodied deer walk very slowly across the bottom of the beans. I couldn’t see his antlers very well, but I am sure it’s Crazy 8. I tried to get the powder and bullet to load again. While finding the bullet, he disappeared off the field.
I told Doug that I shot Crazy 8 but wasn’t sure how good the shot was so we decided to come back the next morning. The next morning we were there before the sun came up with an extra pair of eyes. Our friend Collin said he could help for a little while.
I sat up where I took the shot. I realized that I was almost where I found the first shed off of him…kind of ironic I thought to myself.
Doug and Collin were where the buck was and there was no sign that I hit him. They thought I might have just hit the terrace and scared him instead.
I was crushed. Collin asked me “Do you feel you hit him?” I said “Yes. 90% sure I did.” He said “Well, that’s all I need to hear. Let’s start looking.”
I looked down by the creek and the point. Doug went the other way and Collin stuck to the field to look for the first sign of blood.
We didn’t find anything. Collin had to go but said “Don’t give up. Promise me you won’t give up on this buck. Sometimes even a good, fatally hit deer will have little to no blood with a muzzleloader. I know it’s going to be tough and you just have to promise me that you won’t give up on this buck.” “I promise.” I said.
We looked hard for over four hours with still no sign. I went back to the truck to rest. I was exhausted. I didn’t sleep hardly at all that night.
The next day we were at it again looking as I made a promise I wouldn’t give up. I called Doug and he said he was far away and he wouldn’t be back for a while. I decided that I would hit the tall grass. I walked the waterways again. Then I made my way to the top of the hill and wanted to make a sweep through the low spot in the field.
Doug was out there in the low spot. He caught me by surprise as I thought he was farther away.
He sees me and waves to me. “He’s right here!”
I couldn’t believe it! I could see his antlers from where I was. Doug just found him and was trying to call me. He said he was on top of this other hill and was going to check this draw then be done with the search. He saw a white belly in the grass and thought “It couldn’t be him!
I took the deer path I was on right to Crazy 8. Waves of emotions went through me. I was speechless and bowed my head right then and there and thanked God for this beautiful buck, this wonderful experience and the many lessons I learned while I pursued him.
I didn’t feel worthy of such a beautiful experience. It was sad the three years I had with him are over. I had so much respect for this buck. I have never had so many chances and sightings of one single deer in my whole life. We were both happy to be blessed with this buck. Doug and I sat there in awe. We have never seen anything like him. I was so glad we didn’t give up.
As we sat there we noticed I wasn’t the only one who tried to get him with the bow. Just beyond his split brow tine was a pit made by a fixed 3 blade broached. There was part of the broad head still in his antler. My muzzleloader shot wasn’t where I was aiming. It was back and it was wise to wait until the next day. We would have pushed him that night.
He has 10 points on his right antler and 5 on his left. He had an inside spread of just over 25”! And his main beams were 28 1/2” and 29”. He was rough scored at 189!
The story doesn’t end there…stay tuned for Part III.