The Hunt for Nine

Before archery season started on public land in Maryland, Brook Martin already had plenty of trail camera pictures of shooter bucks. One stood out among the pack, a nine-point that he named Nine. It wasn’t the biggest buck Martin had captured on camera, but the deer had tall tines and a tight frame, enough to entice the hunter to pursue him throughout archery season.

The opener came and went, and Martin spent plenty of time in the woods without even so much as a glimpse of Nine. “I had several bucks come in range while I hunted that spot,” he said. “I kept a camera on the same trail and only got him coming through once after the season opened. I was worried he had moved out to another area and left.”

To make matters worse, Martin’s trail camera was stolen just a few days later. Not knowing if Nine had made an appearance on camera was enough to drive the young hunter mad. “I was more upset that I didn’t get to see if Nine was in there the last week than the fact someone stole my trail camera,” he said. “I decided to go to a new spot where I thought some deer would be.”

The next week, Martin was back at it. Unseasonably warm weather didn’t give him any hope for the evening. Plus, his instincts told him that whoever stole the camera had hunted the area in pursuit of Nine, and there was a possibility the spot was now too pressured, or worse, someone had harvested Nine.

By 6:30 p.m., Martin was losing all hope that he’d see any deer. “I was frustrated and thought I had scared deer walking in,” he said. “I decided to let two small grunts out, just hoping to get a deer to come through.”

Fifteen minutes later, he let out another grunt and was heard. “I looked down and could see the body of a deer,” he said. “It came in the way I expected it to, but stayed in the thick cover just out of range. Once the deer came out of some cover I had my binoculars on it and instantly recognized it was Nine.”

Martin grabbed his bow and drew back just as the buck was walking under his treestand. His arrow, tipped with a Drone, flew 11 yards and hit its mark. “The shot felt good and I heard a crash very quickly,” Martin said. “I thought ‘No way he couldn’t be down already.’ Even though I heard the crash of the buck I still couldn’t believe it happened that quick.”

Martin climbed down to find that his arrow was covered in red. He followed a heavy blood trail for only 20 yards before he found Nine. The buck was Martin’s biggest and oldest to date. And to boot, it was his first public land deer harvested in Maryland.