Kentucky Trophy Buck
Getting drawn for a quota hunt is always a good thing. I was fortunate enough to get drawn for the Kleber Wildlife Area hunt on November 3rd & 4th. Kleber is located in the deer rich Owen County Kentucky. The location of Kleber to Lexington, Louisville, Georgetown, and other surrounding towns make it a very popular area for outdoorsmen. It has a very high doe-to-buck ratio, but if you look hard enough you will find some true giants lurking around there.
My hunt started a little different than most of my hunts, I did not have time to scout my area this year. My brother was also drawn but had to work late the night before so chose not to hunt that morning. I figured I might as well give his spot a try, isn't that what brothers are for. He had chosen to hunt a small overgrown field on top of a ridgeline where he had found several good trails leading to and from the field. He had found an old rusty chair along the way there and positioned it among a small clump of cedars in the middle of the field. This provided decent concealment, but most importantly it gave you a good view over all your surroundings.
I arrived at the spot and settled into the old rusty chair about 20 minutes prior to daybreak. I unzipped my pack and hung my binoculars and my brand new grunt tube around my neck. I gave myself a quick spray of earth scent cover scent and hunkered down. It was still too dark to really see, but the frost on the grass did lighten things up a bit. It was one of those mornings where you have to wiggle your toes every now and then just to make sure you can still feel them.
As the sun began to rise the frost filled field was transformed into a shimmering paradise beaming with life. Birds of all sizes and colors began to buzz around the field singing their morning songs. Squirrels leapt from branch to branch making all the noise that only squirrels can. Watching birds and squirrels can only entertain you so long and before you know it you are wiggling your toes again.
Just as I am beginning to wiggle the life back into my toes I spot movement out of the corner of my eye. There is a deer coming out of the woods behind me and entering the field. I ease around and see it is an unusually tall 4 pointer slowly grazing in my direction. He was maybe 20 yards away and I decided it would be a good chance to try out my new grunt tube. I reached down and eased it to my lips and blew. I was expecting a gentle BUURRPP, but got nothing. This is a good time to point out that you should check ALL equipment before going into the field. It seems I had purchased a grunt tube with a defective reed. Just my luck. The little buck continued its path and was suddenly right behind the cedar I was hiding by. He slowly continued his walk and when he stepped around the cedar we were eye to eye no more than 6 feet away from each other. He instantly freezes. I am quite sure he was trying to figure out what this 6 foot tall thing covered in orange was doing sitting in an old rusty chair in the middle of a field, I wondered that myself. He stared for maybe 15 seconds before running about 10 yards where he began to stomp at me. I had the pleasure of hearing him blow and stomp at me for about 5 minutes before he finally wandered back into the woods.
I barely had time to stretch my legs when I saw a single doe coming into the bottom of the field. She slowly walked across the field until she got to a mowed patch where she began to graze. She was maybe 60 yards away and grazing peacefully until all of a sudden she turned and stared at the woods behind her alertly. She turned again and began to run straight up the mowed strip in my direction before dropping into the woods maybe 15 yards away. I am thinking that one of two things happened: 1) another hunter has spooked her. 2) She was being pursued by a buck. Being the glass is half full kind of guy I had to go with option 2. I get my binoculars out and scan the wood line intently, I look and I look. After 30 minutes of anticipation I seem to have given up hope and find myself once again wiggling my toes.
It is now about an hour after daybreak and I notice 6 does have somehow snuck in on me and are grazing in the bright green mowed strip below me. As my luck would have it the sun was just at that angle that caused instant blindness when you tried to look at anything below it. Guess where the deer all seemed to be showing up. Binoculars were out of the question so I held my pulled my hat down and squinted as I watched the does leisurely make their way into the woods on the other side of the grass path. The deer were moving and I was so pumped up I had forgotten how cold it was.
No more than 5 minutes after the 6 does disappeared into the woods I saw that unmistakable glare. The glare that can only be made by the morning sun bouncing off the white rack of a mature whitetail. I instantly raised my 270 and looked through the scope. I had to use one hand over the end of the scope as a sunshade to be able to see at all. The buck was still in the brush at the edge of the field and only his head and rack were visible. Even with the fact that white racks always look bigger in the sun I knew this buck was a mature deer. It seemed to take him forever to walk those 20 or so steps to the clearing; in reality it was more like 30 seconds. I had my crosshairs waiting on him and as soon as his front shoulder was clear of the brush I gave my best BBUURRPP and pulled the trigger. I don't know if it was the cold or the fact that I was shaking so bad as soon as I pulled the trigger the deer disappeared. I franticly looked through the scope to get a tree as a marking point so I could go look for blood. Suddenly out of the corner of the scope I saw it. He had fallen right where I shot him and was in a low spot with only a portion of his rack sticking up.
I had never yelled in the woods until that moment, I let loose with my best good old Kentucky woo-hooo. I can honestly say that if I could have ran as fast as I did to that deer in high school I would have been a wide receiver instead of a lineman. When I got to him I was in awe as to how beautiful he was. I have killed a lot of deer in my 30 years but never anything like him. I only get to hunt maybe a total of 5 days a year due to work and family obligations, so to get a deer like him is very special for me. The smile on my kids face when I pulled into the driveway is the best trophy of all.