The area where Cranford operates is heavily agricultural, with lots of corn, soy and clover fields. There are also fields of blue grass and CRP, plus hardwood ridges and river bottoms that provide excellent deer habitat. While some outfits would be happy with that, Cranford has not relied solely on local habitat to produce trophy deer and has implemented a Quality Deer Management plan. If you're not familiar with the Quality Deer Management Association, the organization promotes management techniques that encourage balanced deer herds and the production of trophy quality bucks. Following the QDM plan, Cranford provides a year-round supplemental feed with the high protein that bucks need to produce good racks. He also restricts buck harvests to deer at least four years old. Based on that limitation, a number of 2½-year-old bucks with 140-class racks have been allowed to walk.
During my hunt, my hunting partners and I saw deer every day, with a total of five trophy-class bucks, but we were unable to connect with them due to distances and shooting angles. Sixty-degree weather put a damper on the deer activity, even though we were hunting during the rut. I managed to take a big mature eight pointer anyway. Other bucks recently taken on Trophys Unlimited properties include a 163, 156, 155, 152 and several high 140 bucks. One hunter reported seeing a 170-class monster. These hunts are conducted from stands set over travel routes and........(continued)