My Best Buck to Date

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

It was 82 degrees on the afternoon of October 10th, 2011. I was debating if I should go out deer hunting or not. There was a particular stand set that my friend Dave and I hung in June that I had not been to yet this season. Most of the times the wind was not right or it rained and I did not feel like getting wet. I don't like the heat either but I knew cooler weather will be coming in the near future. I still had to attach a pull rope to this stand because I forgot to when my friend Dave and I put the stand up. Even though it was pretty warm out and it is still early in the season the wind was perfect for this stand setup. We had an east wind.

I decided to go. I jumped in the shower and used my unscented and bacteria killing soap. Then I got dressed and sprayed down each layer of clothing. I drove out to my hunting spot and sprayed down my outer layer of clothing quite liberally. I have always wanted to put a stand in this spot over the years but never have due to the walking distance. I know the big boys are in here but I just didn't want to take the time and put a stand here. Times have changed. I get more serious about my hunting every year and strive to shoot only mature bucks. I carry an extra bottle of cover scent with me at all times. Even though I took my time and tried not to work up to much of a sweat walking in, I pretty much was dripping with sweat by the time I got to my stand. Once I arrived at my stand I sprayed down very liberally again to try and cover the stench of my sweat. I then climbed into my stand, attached the rope and then hoisted up my bow. I then sprayed down a third time. Now, it was 4:30pm and finally time to start hunting.

I was quite surprised by the number of squirrels I saw. They appeared to be out in record numbers. I sat in the stand watching and listening to the squirrels until about 6:00 pm. Out of the corner of my right eye, I caught movement that was not a squirrel. It was a nice big doe. I talked to my son Mitchell (Deer Slayer on BGH) and told him I will not be shooting a doe tonight unless it was an albino or a piebald. We have seen an albino doe on the property in years past so we know the genes exist here to see another albino sometime. This doe and her 2 fawns were coming from a pond that is down over a hill. They must have got up from their beds, got a drink then proceeded to come up past my stand which is in a corner of a large oak grove. There are multiple trails coming and going in every direction in the corner where my stand is and there is water down over the hill and acorn and hickory nut trees that litter the hillside where my stand is. The doe and her fawns walked past my stand on the right. I had an easy 25 yard shot on her but chose not to take it. They then walked on and came up the trail 15 yards right in front of my stand. As the big doe was walking up the trail it looked as if her eyes caught mine and I thought I was busted. She only looked at me for about 5 seconds then continued on without any signs of worry. The doe turned broadside again and I chose not to take her again. This second opportunity was very tempting but I was able to hold off. I was there to see what would come out of the bedding area just as the light was fading, if anything at all. She walked down the trail a little way and she gave me a perfect quartering away shot. Again, I chose not to take the shot. By this time 15 minutes had passed and it was now 6:15. The next 45 minutes except for more squirrels was uneventful.

It was now 7:00 pm. The canopy of leaves in this area is still pretty heavy. Light was fading and I was going to give it about 15 more minutes. At 7:02 I heard a loud snap of a branch straight out in front of me. It sounded to be about 50 yards or so away. I intently was looking for what made the sound of that branch snapping. I was hoping it would be one of the big bucks that I know lives in this area. I saw a glimpse of brown passing through the trees. I now knew it was at the least a deer. I kept an intense stare on the area I knew the deer was at. It moved again and this time I saw antlers. At this point in time though I was still unsure if it was a shooter or not. The buck was continuing towards and about 30 yards away I finally had a full view of his rack. I knew at this point he was definitely a shooter. Right now he was walking straight at me and was about to walk up the same path the doe and her fawns took earlier. When he came up the embankment he stopped short of the top and looked in both directions. He decided to turn left and walk around to my right side. There was a number of trees lining the embankment so I could cautiously turn and hope he would not catch my movement. There is a large double tree off to my right and I would position myself for when he stepped out from behind this tree I would let him have it.

He kept slowly walking and stopped right when he was behind that tree. I was thinking to myself I need you to take two more steps and stop. The buck must have read my mind because that is exactly what he did. I didn't have to stop him or anything. I couldn't have asked for a better scenario. I had my crossbow up and pointed already and now it was just a matter of making a small adjustment until I had the crosshairs of my scope on the kill zone. The buck gave me a 15 yard, slight quartering to shot. I pulled the trigger on my Horton Legend crossbow and let the Easton XX75 arrow tipped with the Rage 2 blade broadhead fly. I watched as it hit it's mark. I thought ahh yes!!! It was a perfect shot. I watched the buck take off like a freight train. He ran down the embankment across a flat little area back up another hill then out of sight.

Once he was out of sight I began counting until I heard him crash. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. Crash, crash, thrash, thrash, I heard the buck now rolling around on the ground and then I heard this deep aaaarrrrrgggghhhh. I call that the death growl. I knew he was dead. I shot him at 7:05 pm. I texted my son Mitchell at 7:06pm and wrote BBD BABY BBD JUST NAILED HIM!!!!!. My son immediately called and asked me the details. I told him at the time I think he was a big 10 pointer but I didn't look at the rack too much and I wasn't sure but I definitely knew he was a shooter and I heard him crash and he was down. I told him I would find the arrow and then call him back. I then called my friend Dave and told him and he asked me if I was sure I wanted to pursue him or wait until morning. I said I heard him crash and I heard the death growl and I knew he was down. I got down and went to the point of impact and could not find my arrow or see any blood. I walked the way the buck ran and looked for blood and any part of the arrow but I did not see any at all.

My son called me back and was wondering why I didn't call him back. I said I couldn't find the arrow or any blood and I was starting to second guess myself on pursuing the buck any farther. He asked me again what happened and I told him the details. I was positive the buck was down but just in case I was wrong I did not want to push him. My son said wait and he would be out to help me find him.

By the time  my son and I got back to the stand site 45 minutes had passed and it was now completely dark. But, with the help of the flashlight I won in a BGH grand slam contest I knew we could find the buck. This flashlight is awesome. It lights up everything. We walked the way the buck ran. Scanning back and forth looking for blood. Finally about 60 yards from the point of impact I spotted a drop of blood about the size of an apple seed. The blood was bubbly. The further we walked the drops were getting closer together and bigger. We reached the top of the hill where I last seen and scanned the area. We walked about another 10 yards on the blood trail and I scanned the area again. I said I see brown. My son said be careful but I knew he was dead.

My son and I gave each other a big hug and we did our ritualistic fist bump. I then thanked the Lord and went over and grabbed the rack of my biggest buck to date. I called my friend Dave and gave him the news and he said he was on his way out because he knew we would have one heck of a drag and would need his help. I then called my wife and told her we found the buck and it would probably be a couple of hours before we got home.

We began the long drag back out of there. There would be two steep embankments that we would have to go up and then a long stretched out hill also. After we made it up those two steep embankments I told my son I had to sit down and rest. My heart was pounding hard, I was breathing heavily, and sweating profusely. I jokingly told my son if I don't make it out of here at least I had a witness I shot this buck. A little after we started dragging him again my friend Dave arrived. Dave took over for me and gave me a break. Then on the last leg back to my truck I gave my son a break.

I am no expert scorer but I do know how to score a buck. I measured my buck a few times and came up with the same number every time. He has 12 points. He is a typical 6x5 with a kicker off the back side of his right brow tine. So he has seven points on the right and 5 on the left. He scored 144 1/8" gross typical score. His net score is 139 3/8" typical. This is the part I hope I am wrong on. I will have him officially scored at the Ohio Deer and Turkey Expo in March of next year. If he nets 140" I will get to be entered into the Ohio BBBC. This stands for the Ohio Buckeye Big Bucks Club. If he doesn't make it I still know he is a trophy to me though and that's all that matters. I hope you all enjoyed the story.  


Retired2hunt's picture

Excellent Ohio Buck!


Shawn - that is an excellent Ohio whitetail buck!  Your story was very descriptive and knowing the general area of Ohio you hunt I felt I was right there with you!

What was the spread on the antlers - about 20+ inches?  Very nice!

Also great to see your young son right in there with you holding that great trophy head up.

I hope you make the Ohio BBBC and looking at those antlers you should get in.

Thanks for the great story and the pictures to go along with it.  You are done with bucks now for 2011-2012 season so good luck on getting the rest of those remaining doe's this year!




SGM's picture

Shawn, Congratulations on a

Shawn, Congratulations on a fine looking trophy and hope he makes the Ohio book for you. That was a good story and glad it all worked out for you. The mount will be a nice addition to your home. Thanks for sharing and good luck.   

Ca_Vermonster's picture

That was a great story, and a

That was a great story, and a great deer! I do now one thing, I'd like to know what brand of spray you use, so I can invest in their stock... :wink:  Plus, when you said you heard the "aaaarrrrrgggghhhh", was thinking you were going to say he expired under someone else's tree stand or something..... lol

Awesome buck!  He looks almost perfectly symetrical, even with the extra point.  And you are right, even if he does not wualify for the Ohio trophy book, he should be a trophy to you.  He surely would be to me.

Thanks for sharing that story. 

ManOfTheFall's picture

I use H&S Scent-A-Way. You

I use H&S Scent-A-Way. You can find it at Wal-Mart and I'm sure most hunting store's, large or small, will have it . I use the odorless spray. I have used the fresh earth scent and I don't think it works as well. It's some of the cheapest stuff on the market but I know alot of people use it, including many of the big TV hunters. You know if they use the cheap stuff it's gotta be good, lol. Thanks for the comments.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

My dad kind of makes his

My dad kind of makes his own.  He hunts in an orchard primarily, so he will takes some apples, crush/grind them up, and leave them in some water for a while.  After a day or 2 of marinating, he will drain out the water, fill up his sprayer, and use that.  Smells pretty good, actually.

jaybe's picture

More congratulations coming

More congratulations coming your way, Shawn. That is a really nice buck!

That Rage 2-blade really does a number on critters, doesn't it? I've seen quite a few pictures of the damage they do, and it's extensive. I was a bit surprised that you didn't find blood sooner, but perhaps it was because the entrance wound was high.

I have a brother-in-law that lives and hunts in Ohio, and he also gets some mighty fine bucks. He once got the #3 deer of the year - somewhere around 155 B&C if I remember correctly. He had it mounted, but it was stolen when his home was broken into. This was quite a few years ago.

Congrats again, and keep using that spray - it sounds like it must work pretty well.