January 03, 2023
By Clifford Neames
After a five-year wait, Edward Burge drew a coveted permit to hunt a limited draw area in Missouri. A hunt that requires you to kill a doe before you can fill your buck tag.
The rut was on when Edward set up his tree stand. There were scrapes and rubs everywhere, and he had pictures of a great 11-point that was his target deer. He planned to shoot a doe on the first morning, so he could then get after that buck. But things never seem to go as planned when monster bucks are around. As luck would have it, another giant revealed itself, changing everything.
Edward’s stand overlooked a steep creek with trails along each side and two crossings. On the first morning of his hunt, a doe eased into range down in the creek. He was about to fulfill the requirement when he spotted a huge-racked buck coming behind her.
“After I saw him, I decided to let her go,” Edward says. “I hoped she would bring him back by later.” Unfortunately, the rest of the afternoon passed without another doe coming close enough for a shot.
On his second morning, Edward connected with a doe early. With that out of the way, the real hunt could begin.
During the third morning hunt, action began early. Edward was in his stand well before daylight. A deer walked under him while it was still too dark to see what it was. Then his cell phone sent pictures, confirming it was the giant 11-point he had been after.
“Folks may not believe it, but I would have passed him anyway,” Edward claims. “Because the other one was so much bigger!”
Edward had put scent wicks out around his stand, but after a group of does got spooked he took them down and buried them. Later in the day the does returned, stopping directly across the creek from his stand. Then he heard a stick break, and when he looked down in the creek to see what was coming, the does picked up the movement. The alert was about to sound.
“I thought it was over,” says Edward. “All I could do was sit there and wait to see what happened.”
A doe came in below him with the giant in tow, but there was brush covering his vitals. And when Edward moved the crossbow to aim, the does blew and ran off. The buck reacted to the alarm, bounding twice. However, he stopped in the open and within range.
Edward made a great shot, and the 195 2/8-inch buck went down. Then he got a bad case of the shakes! Who would have expected that?
The heavy rack has a bit of everything: incredible mass, long tines, split brows and tons of character. “It was worth the wait and all of the anxiety,” Edward says.