As Chase Peters made his way to the Redneck Blind on that fateful December evening, he couldn’t help but think how his previous roller-coaster season ended about a half mile away. This Hoosier State native will readily admit his addiction to bowhunting whitetails. Making that addiction even worse is his will to single out a particular buck every season and let the chips fall where they may.
As the 2017 season was coming to a close, he had yet to seal the deal on a buck nicknamed Gramps. It was a 7-year-old, 17-point bruiser. After hitting him the previous season with a non-lethal shot, Chase desperately wanted to close the chapter. He spent countless hours chasing Gramps, and at one point, hunted 23 straight days without an opportunity. But it wasn’t until January 5, 2018, that everything fell into place, putting an end to an already long season.
As the 2018 season was ushered in, Chase had his eyes on another contender, and at 190 inches, the buck he had nicknamed Holy Smokes more than lived up to his name. Chase recovered his sheds after the 2016 season, and at only 2 ½ years old (at the time), he knew the set of bone had tremendous potential. He had numerous encounters with him in 2017, and at 160 inches, he let him walk with his intensity still focused on Gramps. Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to see what Holy Smokes turned into this season, and he wasn’t disappointed when he located him feeding in a bean field last August. Although he didn’t have permission to hunt there, he knew once the rut started to roll, Holy Smokes would make an appearance on his farm that was about a quarter mile away.
The season started slowly for Chase, and it wasn’t until November 21 that a trail camera photo revealed Holy Smokes was following a doe just 25 yards away from one of his stands. Like so often happens, he was on the other side of the farm hunting at that time. But as Chase said, “It was good knowing he was in the area.”
The next encounter happened on Thanksgiving evening. Chase was walking to his truck after hunting most of the day. Catching movement in a cornfield, Chase noticed a doe feeding with Holy Smokes close behind. Under the fading light, Chase attempted to ease into bow range, but the buck slipped onto the neighbor’s property before he had an opportunity.
For the next couple of weeks, trail-camera photos revealed that Holy Smokes was always one step ahead of Chase. However, with the primary rut now over, Chase had a hunch that he would show back up in the bean field where he had witnessed him in August. Gaining permission from the landowner, Chase set up his Redneck Blind in the middle of the field hoping that his “hunch” would pan out.
Chase wasn’t planning on hunting the evening of December 8 because he didn’t have any evidence Holy Smokes was around yet. But when he checked the forecast and noted the barometric pressure and wind direction, he quickly changed his mind.
“It just felt like that night was going to be the night,” Chase said. “The wind was going to be right and with the number of does hitting this field and the second rut starting, I knew he would show up at some point.”
Deer activity was heavy throughout the evening, and at one point, nearly 40 deer were feeding around his blind. Keeping an eye on one particular corner of the field where Holy Smokes always came from, he noticed an unmistakable set of brow tines entering the field and he knew in an instant it was him.
Having the location already ranged, Chase settled his 60-yard pin on the buck’s chest and touched the release. In a matter of seconds, his season come to an end as he witnessed Holy Smokes expire in front of his blind. Needless to say, Chase couldn’t have been happier. Two Booner-class buck in the same calendar year, that just doesn’t happen very often.