At 13, Michael Schrom is in his third year of pursuing whitetails, and has tasted some success. Previously, he had taken a doe.
This year, he took some advice from his mother, Connie Schrom, and slapped a tag on his first buck.
Michael entered the four-pointer, which boasts an 11-3⁄4-inch inside spread, in the Northwoods Youth Deer Hunt Challenge.
Taking advantage of the archery season was the key.
“Where we live ... everybody hunts all around us,” Connie said. “So, we don’t generally see a lot of bucks to begin with during gun deer season.
“I told him, ‘If you want to get a buck, you’re going to have to learn to bow hunt so you can get first crack at these.’”
Connie said though she doesn’t hunt herself, she spends time in the woods looking for rubs and scrapes and the like.
This fall, Michael was ready for archery. With a new bow and some practice, he became a pretty good shot.
“Sure enough. He got himself a buck,” Connie said.
The Schrom residence sits on 40 acres in Hazelhurst, so Michael has quick access to hunting. The spot he was hunting Oct. 28 is only about 100 yards from the house.
“We have this trail that goes through our horse pasture and I was on the other side of the fence from the horse pasture, where there’s this big opening,” Michael said.
Michael put in some time the Sunday that he got his buck.
“I scouted a few places and I saw where the buck was coming in, so I sat there for about two hours and I didn’t see anything,” Michael said.
After a little corn was placed out in hope it would give the buck some incentive, Michael hit the stand again. It was about to pay off. The stand he was using is a climbing stand, but he had it positioned low to the ground that evening.
“I went and sat in my stand for about another three hours and he came in,” Michael recalled. “I was just waiting for the shot.”
As sometimes happens, things went a little haywire.
“I missed him the first time ... the first time, it went right underneath him and he ran about five yards,” Michael said.
A few tense minutes followed as Michael hoped for another shot at the buck. He would get that chance.
“It took him about five minutes to come back,” Michael said. “He finally came back, and it was getting a little bit darker ... I figured I’d take one more shot at him. I figured, ‘If I get him, I’ll track him through the night and find him.’”
Michael readied his PSE Stinger when the buck offered another chance.
“I took a shot at him ... I skinned his leg and I grazed his heart.”
The buck wouldn’t travel too far before giving up the ghost, but some tracking was required.
“Me and my dad, we were following the blood trail because I really didn’t want to lose him,” Michael said.
Briefly, the search was discouraging, though they were finding sign.
“I found the arrow — he pulled the arrow out. ‘All right, all right this doesn’t look very good,’” Michael said.
“So we tracked him for a little bit longer and sure enough, he was laying about 15 yards from where we were standing.”
Michael spotted the deer first.
“He was laying there, and my dad didn’t even see him, so I said, ‘Dad, look at that,’ and he was like, ‘Oh ... oh, good!’
“We gutted him that night, came back, got some pictures and took him in the next morning.”
The Schroms have an interesting arrangement worked out for when it comes time to field-dress a deer. The four-pointer was Dad’s to field dress.
“My dad — me and him switch off,” Michael said. “If he gets a deer, I gut it and if I get a deer, he guts it.”
Michael said it was a bit cool the evening of Oct. 28, and that he was beginning to feel it. He had been thinking about giving it up just before the buck showed. Luckily, he stayed.
He has been hitting it pretty hard since he got his new bow.
“I went out every weekend since the beginning of bow season, basically,” he said.
Michael has been seeing some deer, too. It was the four-pointer that he wanted, though.
“There was a lot of does and spikes and a six-pointer, but the four-pointer has a lot more weight to him than the six-pointer did,” he said.
Michael is hopeful that when gun season arrives, the six-pointer will still be available.
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org