Alex Rutledge: The Hay Bale Buck

What do you do when a buck prefers the open areas to the woods beneath your stand? You hit the ground.
Alex Rutledge: The Hay Bale Buck

hay bale buckAlex Rutledge is one of the most entertaining bowhunters I have ever hunted with. Rutledge travels the country each season in pursuit of trophy bucks.

A few years back, Rutledge hunted a big Kansas whitetail from a tree stand for several days without success. The big elusive buck eluded Rutledge’s ambush, but seemed to have a penchant for an open area nearby. Rutledge knew if he was going to tag the monster, he would have to abandon his elevated perch and improvise. He enlisted John Whetstine of Rawhide Hunts to drop off some hay bales where a blind could be constructed. “I told John that by setting up my blind in the middle of a field, I would be afforded the opportunity to watch for deer movement in all directions,” says Rutledge. “Mobility is a big key when bowhunting.”

Rutledge is a believer in using a deer decoy, and with the rut in full swing, he placed a fake buck within bow range of his hay hideout while awaiting shooting light. After a few calling and rattling sequences, the buck he was after came out into the open meadow to challenge the decoy. Fueled by adrenaline, the buck approached the decoy and was struck with a well-placed arrow. It made a short tracking job for Rutledge, who was rewarded with a dandy 130-inch Pope-and-Young-class buck.


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