The story behind Kyle Koon's fantastic east Texas trophy buck that scored 196 4/8 inches non-typical.
An ordinary day of going out and checking the game cameras boosted the anticipation of the upcoming bow season to a whole different level.
After I pulled the card from my Cuddeback camera and began to sift through the pictures, I halted when I set my eyes on an absolute giant buck. There he was...The Kicker 10. It was the nickname he was given last year when he had a 2-inch kicker on his left G2. Although he didn't carry his kicker this year his antler characteristics left no doubt it was him.
We had been following this bucks growth here in Hopkins County, Texas since he first started showing up as a 1 1/2 year old and now we knew it was time.
Since hogs and deer don't mix it was a blessing in disguise that the hogs kept us from being the ones to bump any deer as we arrived. I could only hope that the hogs would not return.
We got into our stands quietly and with plenty of time to let everything calm down. Darkness finally gave way to chattering birds and squirrels. Danny ranged a couple of distances with his Nikon range finder at first light.
Crunch time had arrived! A small buck appeared out of nowhere in front of our stand and he milled around for a few minutes before walking off into the brush. I was looking over my right shoulder when some movement caught my eye.
I tapped Danny on the leg and pointed at the deer coming from the area I had been periodically watching since daylight. At this point I was unsure if the deer I saw was the 'Kicker 10 ', but as he fed closer it became very clear it was. A nice ten point that I was very familiar with accompanied him.
Now the inevitable shakes and pounding heartbeat began as he closed the distance to approximately 70 yards. But he was not in any hurry. He was nipping at twigs and browse as he inched toward my stand. He would stop every few steps to watch, listen and check the wind like mature bucks will do.
Like they say 'he didn't get big by being dumb ' and he was no dummy. His alertness and caution as he approached added to my nervousness. I kept praying to God 'bring him closer and keep the wind steady '. My prayers were answered as he finally got within 15 yards. I prefer to take a broadside or quartering away shots and he had offered nothing yet. Instead he stood facing my stand for over five minutes just looking things over.
Probably the longest 5 minutes of my life! The wind was not giving him any of our scent, but the deer seemed uneasy at this point. He peered into our tree as if he knew of our presence. I suspect that he was attempting to create a larger down wind circle than his initial approach when he finally turned and gave me a quartering away shot. I carefully drew my bow and was on him immediately.
As my top pin drifted over his body I released the arrow when my aim fell into place. It was a great shot! The buck ran only about 25 yards before he slowed down to a walk. This is when I expected him to expire. Instead he laid down! A close high angled shot sometimes will not allow a double lung shot.
Blaming a failed recovery on your broadheads is the last thing you want. I felt like the shot was pretty good but when I noticed his heavy breathing I knew I'd only hit one lung. Luckily I clipped some liver along with. It was a complete pass through.
My confidence of recovery remained high until he was suddenly disturbed from his bed by the other buck. Curiosity of what just happened caused the ten point to agitate the injured buck. Not able to tolerate the aggravation from the ten point, 'The Kicker 10 ' got up and stumbled a few more yards and finally expired.
There he laid an absolute giant! I can't explain the emotions I experienced when I first laid my hands on this East Texas stud. I was in total disbelief that a deer like this could come from this part of Texas. We rough scored the deer to be 193 B&C. Much to my surprise a few weeks later I had him scored by an official of Pope & Young and got a green score of 196 4/8 inches (non-typical) and a typical 10-point frame of 179 6/8 inches.
By carefully reviewing his activity on the game cameras I was able to pinpoint the general area he would be coming from on opening day.
When the morning finally arrived, going into the woods knowing that you've done everything possible to better your odds, whether it's practicing your shooting or pre-season scouting is something that goes without saying.
A buddy of mine, Danny Lawrence, was coming along to tape the hunt, and as we walked up to the stand, we caught scent of hogs. It's an odor that's easy to recognize for any hunter in East Texas. It wasn't long after that when we heard one squeal, which confirmed the smell. You won't hear me say this very often but I was actually glad to see that they were eating the Acorn Rage that I had been using to attract the deer to my stand location.