JACK OF ALL TRADES, STORY OF AN EXPERT HUNTER AND HOMETOWN VALUES. (In regard to Brent Thomure world class whitetail hunter.)
by Darrin Bradley
Leaving the truck for the evening hunt, I casually turn to my hunting companion, Brent Thomure, to give the traditional departure statement of, “Good luck, I’ll see you at the truck at dark.” Each time I deliver this particular statement to Thomure, it is done with sarcasm and nervousness. I know he doesn’t need any luck for a whitetail harvest. I also know there is a good chance when we return to the truck, I will discover he has another good buck down, and is in need of my assistance in retrieving the animal. Making my way back to the truck at dark, I view a light moving quickly towards my destination. Within minutes, I find myself staring into the beam of Thomure’s old rubber handled flashlight. Before he even speaks, I am aware of what he is about to say. “I’ve got one down and he’s a “good-un”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with rural midwestern slang, “good-un” is pronounced as “Good one”, and it means you can bet you “hind end” Thomure has harvested a buck big enough to make the best of hunters envious. This particular night he arrowed a nice eight point buck with a crossbow.
Thomure has harvested numerous trophy whitetails over the course of his hunting career. One might refer to him as a “Jack of all Trades”. He has harvested mature bucks with every weapon available, inclusive of bow, gun, muzzleloader, and crossbow. In 1996, Thomure harvested a full velvet buck with a muzzleloader that is the largest full velvet buck ever taken legally in the State of Missouri. It is my belief Thomure could enter the timber with almost anything from bare hands to a slingshot and still harvest a mountable buck. These days, the professional hunter, equipped with high tech hunting tools, pursues whitetails on the greatest tracts of ground in North America. Thomure stands proudly as a smalltown, bluecollared, whitetail hero, who monotonously punches a timeclock twice a day on a 40 hour plus work week at a local factory in the maintenance department. A small town, bluecollared, whitetail hero, who provides for 2 children and a wife in a middle class financial setting. A small town, bluecollared, whitetail hero, who stands for small town values such as fatherhood, honesty, and a hard work ethic. A small town, blue collared, whitetail hero, who consistently harvests trophy whitetail bucks. He is one of the “naturals.”
In 1993, I was attending a local college in Thomure’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. I was forced to work my way through college by obtaining employment at a local factory as a custodian. I was afforded the opportunity of visiting with many of the workers while I cleaned the premises. I soon discovered that each morning prior to beginning the workday, a small crowd of individuals would sit in the maintenance shop and discuss whitetail hunting over cigarettes and hot coffee. I was determined to attend the informal gathering in an attempt to make new friends and pick up a few tips from those in attendance. The group usually included a half dozen men and oddly enough the youngest of the crowd was the one answering questions for the older hunters. He introduced himself as “Brent”. The others in the group laughed and stated, “We call him Brent “Muledeer” Thomure.” They went on to state Thoumure had just returned from an unsuccessful muledeer hunt out west. Although the group harassed him about the unsuccessful muledeer hunt, not a one of them was harassing him in regard to his implementation of whitetail strategies. After our introduction, I quickly asked him if he had any tips that might help me. He responded by stating, “Yeah, I have been buying those caramel deer suckers and placing them near my stand locations. Last night I had 14 deer walk by my location. All 14 animals stopped to lick the caramel deer sucker, and the last animal through was a twelve pointer with drop tines.” I scurried out to the local discount store and purchased every deer sucker in the place. I ran to the timber and set the suckers near all my stand locations. Two days later, I returned to find that every sucker was gone. Nothing was left but the stick that the sucker had been affixed to. Again, I ran out to the local discount store for deer suckers. Once again, the suckers disappeared. After a couple weeks, I discovered that the suckers were melting in the hot sun and that they were not attracting the local whitetail herd at all. Returning to work, we all had a good laugh at my expense. Thomure and I began hunting whitetails together shortly thereafter and have enjoyed the rewards of a unique friendship ever since.
Although Thomure has harvested several trophy animals with bow, rifle, and crossbow, he describes his most meaningful trophy as being his muzzleloader harvest of 1996. Thomure watched the potential world class animal during the 1996 archery season in Missouri for a total of 5 weeks. The animal was unique, as it was in full velvet throughout the season, due to a testicle injury. Unfortunately enough, Thomure had harvested a 150 class, 10 point with a bow just a few days prior to discovering the velvet buck. This left him without a legal tag to harvest the velvet buck, in accordance with Missouri Game Laws governing archery season. Thomure, unselfishly, took his 7 year old son, Brent Jr., for 5 weeks in an attempt to assist him in taking the world class animal. Thomure patterned the animal on the father/son outings, in hopes he might harvest the velvet buck during the Missouri Muzzleloader Season. During these outings Thomure and his son viewed the animal on numerous occasions but were not afforded the opportunity to shoot. However, on the opening morning of the 1996 Missouri Firearms Season, Thomure finally did take the great full velvet buck, laying claim to the biggest, full velvet, whitetail buck harvest in the history of the State of Missouri. Thomure dedicates this animal to his mother, Martha White, for instilling family values within him in addition to teaching him an appreciation for individual pursuits.
In the midst of punching the time clock, helping raise a family, attending parent/teacher conferences, coaching the summer ball teams, and tending to a disabled mother, one cannot consistently harvest mature whitetail bucks without possessing superior hunting strategies. Thomure claims his most rewarding hunting strategy has been the utilization of topographical advantages with an emphasis on lowspots. Thomure stated, “Ask yourself what provides security to the foodsource? I have taken 90% of my whitetail bucks from lowspots.” Thomure adds, “Whitetails prefer topographical advantages which afford them the opportunity to travel in the least detectable route to and from bed areas and food sources. Shelves along the sides of oakridges are great.” During the annual pre-season scouts of 1998, Thomure glassed a large agricultural riverbottom in Illinois. Although Thomure was perched 25 feet atop a oak in an attempt to watch the entire bottom, there was one small area at the eastern end of the bottom he could never watch due to its lowspot. The back two acres of the bottom was at least 6-10 feet below the rest of the field’s surface. Thomure was never able to watch the lowspot during pre-season. However, just 10 days into the Illinois Archery Season he arrowed a nice 120 class 8 point who was utilizing the lowspot in an attempt to remain undetected. Thomure harvested his second Illinois Archery buck just a few days later, in a funnel setup along a ridgetop shelf. Thomure also advises that, “While you may have the opportunity to hunt a tract of ground that has many topographical advantages, without a good population of does, your efforts will probably be useless.”
“It won’t do a bit of good to be able to setup on big whitetail bucks if you can’t make the shot.” stated Thomure. “You must have high quality weapon. A weapon you can feel confident with. When a nice buck works within bowrange, I decide whether he’s a shooter or not, focus, plan the location of the shot ahead of time, forget the antlers, and hold my breath. This strategy seems to calm my nerves.” Thomure practices quite frequently and has confidence in his weapons.
Thomure’s family is the single most important thing in his life. If you see the gang of neighborhood kids up on Booker Street, in Hannibal, MO., gathered around the bed of an old Ford truck “oohhing” and “aahhing”, you’ll know Brent Thomure has arrowed another whitetail buck for all to see, and if you listen closely, you just might hear one of the children proudly saying, “That’s my dad.”