March 15, 2023
By David Brooks
We had three years’ worth of pictures of this buck we named “Old Heavy” on the farm I hunt that’s owned by my friend and I. Going into the 2022 season, we hadn’t had an encounter or sighting of him since January 2022. We had no idea if he was still alive.
My last evening hunt to before having to head home was Nov. 12. We had been hunting in Ohio and had spent a week in SE Kansas. Things weren’t going my way for most of the trip, as I had made a bad shot on a 10-point during my third day in Ohio.
My buddy and I woke up after a couple hours sleep and went out on Nov. 12. I planned to go to one stand that morning, but on my way I changed my mind and hunted a different spot. After sitting until 8:00 a.m. with only a few deer sightings, I decided to make a move to the spot I originally wanted to hunt, which was only a short distance up the hill I was on.
As soon as I climbed into the stand and connected my harness, a deer we named Junior came around the corner of the hedge row to about 45 yards. I hadn’t even pulled my bow up at that point. When he put his head down, I pulled my bow up as quick as I could without being seen. I was able to nock an arrow and draw as he walked and entered the last shooting lane I had.
When I looked through my peep, I realized my pull rope had gotten tangled around my sight. I let down and took care of it, but I was never able to get a shot off before Junior got of my shooting lane. This kind of summed up how things had been going up to this point; things that never happen seemed to happen to me all season.
My buddy at the same time was less than 600 yards away and filled his Ohio tag on a nice buck. After helping him get his deer out and having lunch, we agreed on the spot we both knew I needed to be at. The wind wasn’t exactly perfect for it, but we thought it would still work. It was a last chance hunt, so we went with what we considered our best spot.
I saw several bucks and does all afternoon, but I was running out of time. I had texted my wife that it didn’t seem like I would fill a tag and I was ready to get home. She, as she always does, told me to stick with it and said that there was still time.
With about 45 minutes of light left, a buck appeared 70 yards out and closing. I knew it was a shooter but really didn’t have time to focus on how good he was. I had to focus on where and when to shoot, as he was coming straight to me. He stopped 20 yards out and turned, but his vitals were covered by a tree. The only thing I focused on was his front leg. When he took a step, I drew, and his next step was when he cleared the tree and gave me a perfect shot.
It really wasn’t until after I made the shot and watched him run by me and go down that I realized what had just happened; and I then realized just how big this deer really is. I couldn’t get down until my buddy got there, so I called my wife. I haven’t been that rattled in a long time! The cool thing about this story is how many things actually went wrong and allowed me to kill the biggest buck of my life.
The buck gross scores 183 2/8 and nets 180 1/8.