Rumors about a giant deer can circulate through an area quicker than a buck that jumps the string. That was the case in Meeteetse, Wyoming (pop. 350) when the locals -- whether over a cup of coffee at the diner or a cold beverage at the local tavern called the Elkhorn-- were talking about this big buck that had an eight-inch drop tine and an array of points that would make any whitetail hunter slobber at the thought of hanging it on the wall.
Shawn Coggins heard the rumors, but he didn't think much of them as the area the buck had been seen wasn't a ranch he'd ever be able to hunt unless he wrote a very large check.
Shawn had drawn an "any deer" tag (and a pronghorn tag) and after deciding that he wasn't going to chase a muley buck, he set his sights to whitetails during the archery season.
The plan was to use his Barnett crossbow to try and drop a buck, but after shooting it several times at the practice range and not liking the results, he shelved the crossbow and opted to wait until rifle season, or so he thought.
The opportunity to hunt a piece of ranch land arose and a good buddy convinced Shawn that he should pick up the crossbow and make the best of the seven remaining days in the season.
The pair headed out and got their True Timber blind set up in a spot that was favorable to the wind and offered a few trees for background cover.
After a few hours in the blind and seeing a lot of activity, they spotted movement to the west about 100 yards away.
It was "him" and it got both hunters worked up as it was the biggest buck they'd ever seen.
"Mark grabbed his Nikon camera and was drooling and snapping shots at the same time. I can't tell you his exact words but they were adult in nature and would surely make any red-blooded American mom proud," shared Shawn.
The buck didn't come in that night, but the pair knew they had a chance at dropping the big boy.
Shawn got to work immediately at feeling better about shooting his crossbow. Not having the budget to buy a crossbow scope and being a man of "improvisational handiness," he opted instead for an old 3x7 Western Field Scope, which he took off of his Grandpa Jake's .22 and mounted it on the crossbow.
"I figured if it was good enough for shooting rabbits, foxes, coyotes and prairie dogs back in the 60's, maybe it was good enough to replace a peep-sight on a crossbow. As luck would have it, the crossbow shot great. I zeroed it in at 30 yards and figured I could handle the rest on my gut instinct. Knowing that I wouldn't take a shot further than that. Not on this hunt anyhow," said Shawn.
Mark had to head back to work, leaving Shawn alone to hunt the trophy buck. He got to the blind around 2PM, giving himself plenty of time to get settled and wait for the big boy to show up, and then hopefully, come into bow range.
Burning through the afternoon sun, Shawn saw several does, fawns and small bucks come through, but not the buck he started calling "The Defiant One." That changed however, around 5:45 pm, when the brute jumped the fence and stood 110 yards away, the farthest deer away from the blind.
Shawn watched the buck for the next few hours, watching him lay down, get up, and lay down again causing the hunter to think there'd be no way this buck would ever cross the distance between them to get into bow range.
With the buck of a lifetime standing within eyesight for so long, it had Shawn thinking of all kinds of crazy thoughts.
"I dreamed about a long range shot at him but that would have only been the epitome of stupid, especially because I would have had to lob one in like the archers did in Braveheart the movie and that wasn't going to happen," laughed Shawn.
While he was daydreaming, in about a 30 second span, the buck was now standing 45 yards away. It was go time.
A mule deer doe was standing only 8 yards from his blind and Shawn had to figure out a way to get his crossbow cocked without spooking the nanny, which he was able to accomplish.
"I looked around my scope and noticed that the bad boy had just made the biggest mistake of his long life. He was in my bow range and there was no way that I was going to screw this shot of a lifetime up," shared Shawn.
Shawn waited until the buck was quartering away and slowly squeezed the trigger.
The 125-gr. Magnus buzzcutter shot through the air, thwacking the buck just a touch high -- a spine shot, which dropped him where he stood. The buck was down.
Congratulations Shawn€¦truly a fantastic buck!
We'd like your Deer of the Day submission! Send us a picture and a brief description of your hunt, including the gear your used, to firstname.lastname@example.org