November 30, 2022
Jason Taylor arrowed a magnificent deer this year. He had three years of history and passed the buck each season, until 2022. “I bought this farm in 2014,” Taylor says. “Since that time, we have taken three deer over 160 inches on it.” With a lot of habitat improvement and deer management, it turned into a place he was proud of.
October 2 brought 64-degree temps, clear skies and winds out of the northeast. Taylor made his stand along the edge of an oak flat on top of a ridge line. He was in a big white oak overlooking a brassicas plot with native grasses around it. “Acorns were falling heavily,” he remembers. “I even got hit in the head with one.”
The first deer to appear were a doe and fawn. They were downwind but didn’t booger. Minutes later, four more does walked through, feeding casually as they went. Then, the big deer walked down off the oak flat, and headed straight for Taylor. But trouble struck.
“The neighbor’s dogs were out, and they began barking immediately,” Taylor says. “I was unsure of what they were barking at. I could see one dog stationary, and another darting back and forth. After 30 seconds of this, I saw the antlers of my deer in front of the dogs. He would lower his head and run at the one dog, and the dog would flee 10-15 feet and then return. Finally, my deer made contact with the main dog, and it ran off probably 20 yards and the other followed.”
Then, the buck continued walking toward Taylor as if nothing happened. The buck closed within 20 yards, and the dogs ran at him again. This spooked the deer into trotting.
“He jumped the fence line below me and trotted into the food plot,” Taylor says. “I immediately drew and attempted to find an opening in the one area that it was difficult for me to shoot. I found a small path through the leaves and shot. At the shot, the dogs, which had stopped at the fence, took off and the deer immediately ran across the grown-up field. I lost sight of him at about 40 yards. Seconds later, I heard him crash.”
Obviously, the 12-yard shot made quick work of the deer. He recovered it 70 yards away. “I’m super excited to harvest this deer, especially on my own farm,” Taylor says. “The deer was the fattest deer I have ever processed and weighed in at 227 pounds completely field dressed.
“Deer hunting, and hunting in general, means everything to me,” he concludes. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and has taken me all over the world. Hunting has led to my best friends and my biggest struggles, but I wouldn’t change any of it.”