November 14: Doug Hampton

Most of us have seen the movie Lonesome Dove. When the Captain made a promise, he kept it. I also made a promise to a friend that I intended to keep. The promise that I would shoot a buck with an arrow that had a wrap honoring a friends newborn son that passed away just 45 minutes after birth. Even if it took me the rest of the season, I was going to do what it took to make this happen...


A Facebook message came to me around the end of October. Chris Vogal had said that he had lost his son at birth and asked if I would honor "Carter" by wrapping one of my Carbon Force arrows with a wrap that stated "Carter Vogal Forever in our hearts"... The kicker to the whole deal was that he promised that if I would do so, that he guaranteed me that "Carter would push you a big ol' buck". I don't know why, but there was something that just told me that this was the truth. Something was telling me that if I took that wrap and put it on my arrow, that good things would happen. Maybe it was because I had lost two brothers at birth in a similar fashion. I don't know, but not long after the message, I was headed down to the archery shop to put on the wrap & fletch up the arrow. I killed a big Arkansas buck on the 29th of October just seconds after I had taken Carter's arrow off my rest and swapped it, in preparation to shoot a hog. I wanted to use it for a buck only, but this buck gave me no time to switch it back. The shot was true and I couldn't help but wish that it had been with Carter's arrow. I messaged Chris and told him what had happened and assured him that Carter's arrow was going to take down a buck this fall if it was the last thing I did...

Our Kansas farm was wiped out according to the Reconyx cameras. In early August the pictures were rolling in of some awesome high scoring bucks and the excitement was at an all time high. By the end of August, the rumors of large numbers of dead bucks were being reported in the area. Checking the cameras in mid September gave us the suspicions that we too had lost nearly all of our shooters. Two deer continued to visit the cameras and we knew that these deer were the only shooters that we had left. Both deer were mature, yet their age would be the only qualification that would keep them on the hit-list. A seven point and a non-typical looking buck, both in the mid 30's, were the topic of discussion when Rod and I would talk about hunting Kansas.

After filming Rod in Missouri for a week, he decided that he would meet me in Kansas the following Monday. He had no interest in taking either of the deer, but said that he would gladly drive down and try to film me take one of the bucks which we had targeted. I had moved the cameras around and finally felt like we had found where the non-typical was spending most of his time cruising for does. The stands were hung and the hunting began. The first evening with a Boss Buck decoy on the south ridge yielded a close encounter with the buck that we were after. The buck just wouldn't fully commit to the decoy and stayed just out of range. I made the decision to move just inside the timber on the inside corner of the field, where the buck had entered the field on the evening before. The wind was variable at times and we felt that if we would do everything right with the Scentblocker products that we could indeed get this buck close enough to kill.

We arrived at the farm just after lunch and took the HuntVe loaded with the Big Game stands to the location of choice. We quietly rolled in, unloaded our gear, and had the stands hung in the proper pinch point between a steep bluff and the corner of the field. Within minutes after setting the stands and parking the HuntVe, we were headed back for the evening hunt. I brought along my secret weapon, a bottle of Still Steamin' doe estrous urine with a scent-wick that I placed roughly 25 yards in the shooting lane where we expected the deer to pass through. I drenched the wick and then poured the remainder of the bottle up and down the shooting lane. By the evenings end, this would be the key ingredient to the showdown with the non-typical.

Thirty minutes into the hunt, we had a young buck chase a doe straight down wind and we knew that our plan was paying off. We went totally undetected and our confidence began to rise. Around 4 O'clock, Rod caught a glimpse of a doe headed across the field. Just seconds later I noticed that a big buck was trailing just 10 yards behind. The doe was headed at an angle that they would enter the timber about 200 yards from our stands. I was disheartened to think that there was absolutely nothing that would bring the buck away from his girlfriend at this point. About 10 minutes later, I heard a deep grunt that sounded much closer than where the pair had entered the timber. I stood up, grabbed the bow, and began to range the trees again to make sure of my yardages. A few minutes later, I hung up the EVO and sat back down with my hopes beginning to re-sink. Moments later I could hear a deer walking just inside the edge of the timber. I picked up my Nikon's to try to catch a glimpse of the animal approaching. To my surprise the wide frame and huge eye-guard of our target buck began to emerge and he had his nose to the ground smelling for the "hot doe" that had left all the scent in the area. I turned around immediately and turned on the GoPro camera that was pointed just over my shoulder and right down the shooting lane. The buck was totally fooled as he came in heading straight for us. He turned broadside as he was straight down wind of the scent-wick that was drenched with the love potion. Rod gave me the go ahead as the buck slowly approached the wick. At 25 yards, he stepped from behind a small tree offering me the crease of his shoulder. I had been at full draw for over 40 seconds when it was time to release the Rage Extreme. I could not have walked up and placed the arrow on a better spot as Carter's arrow struck the buck perfectly in his heart! The buck whirled and ran to our left, leaving a 4 foot blood trail for a short distance. He only made it 20 yards before piling up, not only Rod's camera, but the GoPro camera as well! In my usual fashion of not believing what just happened, I exploded with the raw emotion from the shear excitement of the events that had just taken place. It's the feeling that we're all after. It's the reason we do what we do!

After gathering our gear and descending from the tree, we walked over to find the Rage end of the arrow laying right at the impact location... But it was broke off precisely at the wrap. We turned to take up the trail when after 10 feet Rod looked down to notice the wrap with fletchings laying on the ground pointing straight towards the buck. It was an awesome sight I'll tell you. It was kind of like Carter was saying 'you're welcome, now go get your buck'...

Special thanks to the good Lord for another successful hunt... And thanks to the Vogals for letting Rod and I be a small part of your lives. It was an honor to share Carter with the rest of the world... And thank you Carter for pushing me that big ol' buck!