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Ruthless Horse Fly Helps Man Arrow Tremendous 194-incher

Billy Arnold watched as a horse fly irritated this Kentucky giant until it turned broadside, giving Billy a great shot opportunity.

Ruthless Horse Fly Helps Man Arrow Tremendous 194-incher

Billy Arnold is a country music singer and co-wrote the song “Whitetail Ridge.” He even wrote and produced the music for Drury Outdoors’ flagship show Thirteen.

Of course, he’s a hunter himself, and has been bowhunting since he was 9 years old. He learned to hunt from his Papa and uncles. Since then he’s hunted different places, but he’s always hunted one particular area for the past 15 years. Unbeknownst to him, earlier in 2022, a huge buck appeared on a few trail cameras. He wouldn’t find those photos until after arrowing the massive whitetail, though. Still, he had a gut feeling to hunt that spot.

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Although Billy had this buck on a camera early in 2022 on some of his “soaker” cameras, he never saw the deer until the day he shot it.

The big hunt played out on Sept. 13, 2022. It was warm, but the temperature was forecasted to taper off by late afternoon. His stand location was in a draw on the edge of a water source alongside a thicket within a block of timber. Around that was a bunch of crop fields.

“I could smell fresh corn from the nearby combines harvesting the crops,” Billy says. “The farmers stopped working around 4:00 p.m., and it got very peaceful. Birds and squirrels were working hard, and the wind was blowing my scent perfectly over my shoulder.”

This was day two of hunting that spot. Historically, it’s a good area. Throughout the years, Billy has had many different mature bucks use that line of travel, especially during the early season. He hoped a new buck would do the same.

Sitting in the stand, Billy waited for the afternoon movement to begin; and he thought back to the doe he spotted while walking to the tree. After a while, something else grabbed his attention — the sound of a deer crossing corn stubble.

“I looked up to see the buck coming across the open field in front of me,” Billy says. “He was coming from my north and following the draw the same way I have seen so many bucks over the years. He came into the woods quickly, but then stopped about 22 yards away and kept staring in the direction he came from.”

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Billy’s 2022 non-typical has an impressive rack with tines going everywhere.

About five minutes later, a horsefly started pestering him. Each time the buck tried to shake off the fly, it turned a little more broadside. Eventually, the deer turned enough for an opportunity. Billy drew back, settled the pin and took the 22-yard shot. It connected.

The deer ran about 80 yards and stopped. Billy expected the deer to fall, but it stood there for several minutes. He started worrying about shot placement and peered through his binoculars to see the impact was further back and lower than he thought. Billy suspected a one lung/liver and perhaps paunch shot. Eventually, the buck walked off with its tail flickering. He decided to give the deer plenty of time.

Around 11:00 p.m., he returned to take up the blood trail. About 45 minutes later, he recovered the downed buck. Afterward, he reflected on the hunt and what made it possible. He credits the success to tweaking his stand setup and gradually fine-tuning it throughout the years to accommodate for deer movement. He learned lessons from close encounters that could have worked out better if the setup was slightly different.

“To harvest a deer like this with a bow is no easy task,” Billy says. “I grew up hunting management areas in Florida. Some years I didn’t even see a deer. I have always hunted public land, hunting clubs or leased land, and it’s just tough to even encounter a deer like this. So, I’m mostly just thankful that God gave me a passion for hunting and fishing because I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without the love for the outdoors that I have.”

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As this buck approached, Billy watched as a horse fly pestered the buck until it turned broadside.

This massive buck from Christian County, Kentucky, scores 194 7/8 inches. It’s Billy’s second largest archery buck. He harvested a buck in 2013 that scores 210 6/8 inches.

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“It’s far more than a deer. It’s far more than a hobby. It has fed my family for generations,” Billy says. “It’s camping in a tent and hearing bacon and eggs on a cast iron pan over an open fire. It’s sitting around the fire and hearing the grandest of hunting stories from those who mean the most to you. It’s fellowship and morning prayers from a tree stand as the sun comes up. It’s walking paths through the woods and remembering the days when your grandad was still alive walking those very paths just a few feet in front of you. Your eyes were as wide open as they could be and, in that moment, you had no idea how precious those times were or how impactful they would be.”




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