November 10, 2022
By Cameron Coble
Hunter Wohlers of Missouri won’t soon forget his first-ever bowkill, taken Oct. 4 2022. The 18-year-old archery hunter tried his luck the previous season with no luck. So in 2022, he was determined to punch his tag.
“I got more serious about bowhunting going into the 2022 season,” Hunter says. “I practiced quite a bit more as well.”
In July, Hunter jumped a big buck up on his family farm. That sighting tipped them off that there was a big one around, and many locals around the area also knew of the buck. Hunter went out opening evening and saw the buck. The giant was in a bachelor group with five other bucks, but he never came close enough to shoot.
On the evening of Oct. 3, Hunter’s girlfriend accompanied him on an evening hunt, because the strap on her stand was broke and it wasn’t safe to hunt there. “We sat in a double ladder stand that evening, and he showed up just outside of my comfort range,” says Hunter. “The next evening I went alone back to the same stand, hoping he’d repeat the previous evening’s routine.”
Hunter was in his stand that evening, and around 6:30 he looked over to see a small 4-point already in range. Moments later, he heard a loud “thud.” It sounded like something heavy jumping the fence from where the smaller buck had come from. “I peered over to look, and there was the giant no more that 20 yards from my tree,” recalls Hunter. “As quickly and quietly as I could, I tried to get myself in position for a shot.”
As Hunter turned his body, his back arm brushed up against the shag bark hickory tree, causing the buck to look right up at him. Hunter was at half-draw, and the buck busted him. After a brief moment, the buck began heading away. Fortunately, Hunter was able to get to full draw and make a good shot!
While blood trailing the giant, Hunter was unsure of the hit, so he and his tracking party decided to wait until morning. However, at 10:30 p.m. that night, Hunter couldn’t wait any longer, so he got some friends together to continue the search. They quickly found the buck.
“When I walked up to him, I kept saying, ‘Holy cow, he’s bigger than I thought,’” recalls Hunter. Coming in at 189 4/8 gross, this is an amazing first buck!