Commonwealth Crossbow Giant

Two Virginia deer hunters worked hard to take advantage of a stud buck's early-season pattern.

Commonwealth Crossbow Giant

The opening weekend of the 2019 bow season in the Commonwealth of Virginia had Jonathan Linen and his cousin Cody Sparks up early on Sunday morning.

Their hunt the previous day proved unsuccessful, but both men knew of a big buck that was living in the area. In fact, trail camera photos showed the deer was frequenting a food plot as an early season food source regularly in the evenings.

Now, it’s important to note that Virginia had been experiencing, like many other southern states in ’19, a terrible late summer drought. Weather conditions were stacking up against all hunters who’d dedicated their time and money to planting food plots for wildlife. However, Jonathan and Cody knew how to use their resources wisely.

The hunt club where the men are members shares a property border with Cody’s tobacco farm. During the drought, Cody routinely filled up his water truck and drove from his tobacco farm to the hunt club. There he’d help Jonathan water the food plot when conditions grew exceedingly bad. In turn, the food plot remained healthy despite the drought conditions.


“On Oct. 6, Cody hunted over the food plot in a tree stand, and I took my climber and went farther down below the food plot,” says Jonathan. We were probably about 100 yards apart.”


Jonathan-Linen-Buck-vertical.jpg

As the sun slowly appeared that morning, Jonathan realized he set up right on top of what looked to be a heavily-traveled deer trail. The first few minutes of daylight proved active.

Jonathan notes: “Around 6:30 a.m., I had three does come by in front of me. So, I texted Cody to see what he was seeing.

“When I looked back up, there he was!” Jonathan continues. “The buck we were after was standing right there on the trail the does had just walked up. He had his head down just like he was in the rut, almost in a sneak, like he was trying to be real quiet, taking real soft steps.”

Jonathan kept quiet and let the buck continue up the trail. The hunter knew once the buck was in range he’d need to stop him to execute a clean shot.

With his crossbow cocked and ready, Jonathan hung on tightly. Eventually, the buck came within 20 yards, and the hunter mouthed a doe bleat.

“He kept right on going like he didn’t even hear it,” says Jonathan. “So, I hollered a little bit louder and then he stopped, quartering away. That’s when I shot.”

Jonathan explains: “The buck made that ‘ruff’ noise right when the arrow hit him. The arrow didn’t pass all the way through.”

Cody was not far away when Jonathan’s crossbow broke loose and sent its bolt flying. As an eye witness, Cody watched the big buck as he came crashing through the woods after being shot. About 45 minutes later, the two men met up before taking up the trail.

“I found my arrow, and it wasn’t bent or broken,” Jonathan says. “Cody and I started walking in the direction I knew the buck had gone. Moments later, we found him. That was it. We both started hollering with excitement when we saw how big he was.”

Jonathan and Cody made enough commotion you’d think every person in the Commonwealth would’ve heard about this buck — and a lot of them did! Not long after the buck had been retrieved and photographed, photos of the deer spread across social media.

Folks from all over Virginia were posting congratulatory comments on Jonathan’s field photos with the deer. Friends shared the picture and others dreamt of how ecstatic Jonathan must have been! Indeed, Jonathan’s buck sends a message that big bucks do indeed live in the Old Dominion.

Jonathan attributes much of his 2019 success to his decision to update his archery equipment prior to the season. Specifically, the bowhunter had recently added a TenPoint crossbow to his arsenal of deer hunting tools.

“I’ve been dedicated with my compound bow until the past couple of years,” says Jonathan. “But recently I’ve found myself hunting with a crossbow more and more. I told myself that I would go pick up a new one. I hadn’t had it a week when I killed this buck.”

Jonathan knew taking the right tool for the job would pay off. In thick and heavy woods, shooting a vertical bow can prove quite difficult. Add in the adrenaline that flows when a big buck steps out, and sometimes it’s wise to tote whatever hunting tool gives you the most confidence. Crossbows have become an admirable tool for downing game ethically when the moment of truth arises.

But in the long run, it was more than just a bow that helped Jonathan Linen score on this great Virginia whitetail. It was dedication to land management and smart scouting that put both Jonathan and Cody in the game on that fateful opening weekend of archery season. Congratulations to the successful hunter for punching his tag!

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Stan Potts

Stan Potts' Debut NAW Hunt

North American Whitetail revisits Stan Potts' very first hunt for the TV Show.

Putting a New Spin on an Old Whitetail Hunt

Putting a New Spin on an Old Whitetail Hunt

Gordon Whittington returns home to Texas to relive one of his favorite deer hunts of all-time, and make new memories.

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Mike Clerkin is hunting the alternative weapon whitetail season in Missouri with his S&W revolver.

Deer Dog: Replicating Realistic Tracks

Deer Dog: Replicating Realistic Tracks

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore discusses the role scent plays when it comes to tracking and how to incorporate it into your training.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Improve the nutritional benefits that your land offers local deer. Land Management

No Matter the Season, Deer Orchard Work Brings Big Benefits to Whitetails

Lynn Burkhead - June 27, 2019

Improve the nutritional benefits that your land offers local deer.

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season. Bowhunting

The Best Arrows for Deer Hunting

Tony J. Peterson - June 10, 2019

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season.

After weeks of speculation, the official 60-day entry score for Luke Brewster's epic Illinois non-typical bow-killed whitetail was announced today in the OSG booth at the 2019 ATA Show in Louisville. According to North American Whitetail editor Gordon Whittington and associate editor Haynes Shelton, the Brewster buck is the largest buck ever taken by a hunter anywhere in North America! Trophy Bucks

BREAKING NEWS: Brewster's 320-5/8-Inch Non-Typical Buck Pending World Record Announced

Lynn Burkhead - January 10, 2019

After weeks of speculation, the official 60-day entry score for Luke Brewster's epic Illinois...

To hear many serious trophy bowhunters tell it, Kentucky must be a figment of someone's fertile United States

Best Spots for Bowhunting Kentucky Trophy Bucks

Gordon Whittington - July 21, 2016

To hear many serious trophy bowhunters tell it, Kentucky must be a figment of someone's...

See More Trending Articles

More Typical

Author Darron McDougal has the story of a Wisconsin Whopper buck arrowed by teenager Fletcher Weiss in the November of 2017. Typical

Teenager Arrows Wisconsin Whopper

Darron McDougal - October 17, 2018

Author Darron McDougal has the story of a Wisconsin Whopper buck arrowed by teenager Fletcher...

 Ryan Nikkel had built a 4-year relationship with this buck.

In 2012, Ryan Nikkel started getting Typical

Ryan Nikkel Buck: 190-Inch Kansas Perfection

Spencer Neuharth - December 03, 2015

Ryan Nikkel had built a 4-year relationship with this buck. In 2012, Ryan Nikkel started...

Jeff Edwards' massive Kansas whitetail stood its ground right up to the end, but ultimately this Arkansas bowhunter took home the trophy. Typical

Colossal in Kansas: 202 1/8-inch Typical Trophy

Tommy Garner - May 08, 2012

Jeff Edwards' massive Kansas whitetail stood its ground right up to the end, but ultimately...

When it comes to deer hunting, sometimes the best outcome can occur when you least expect it. Typical

Late Arrival Results in Illinois Public-Land Trophy

Bernie Barringer

When it comes to deer hunting, sometimes the best outcome can occur when you least expect it.

See More Typical

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.