Ellen Turner Buck: 180-Inch Ohio Brute

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Not many Ohio deer hunters can say their first kill was made on another continent. But that's how I started my hunting career.

Until 2008, I'd never hunted big game at all. Then, my husband, Jerry, placed a crossbow in my hands. I enjoyed shooting it, and after a bit of practice we were off on my first hunt — to Africa!

As beginner's luck would have it, I got a kudu and an impala. It was an amazing start. When I returned to Ohio, it was time to start preparing for my first fall in the deer woods of Brown County. I hunted just about every day of our long bow season from one of several stands. In the process, I endured all kinds of weather: rain, snow and high winds. Finally, on the last day I got an 8-pointer. And from then on, I was hooked.

ellen_turner_OHI moved to a compound bow in 2009. Since then I've not only bowhunted Africa again, I've also been to New Zealand, Texas, Florida and Canada, as well as the deer woods here in southwestern Ohio. Throughout that span, I've never once even considered hunting with a gun.

As I got into hunting more, I started shooting all year, to do what I could to always hit a target animal in the vitals. I even joined the International Bow Hunting Association and started shooting tournaments every weekend. In the process, I really improved my accuracy from 5 yards out to 30, and I gradually increased my bow poundage from 42 to 55.

Along with increasing my shooting skill has come an effort to learn all I can from each hunt, no matter the species. And I've learned not just from success, but also from failure. For instance, I hunted bears in Canada last August, and on that trip I learned something about location.

No matter how hard you hunt, it ultimately comes down to being in the right place. You can have good gear and shooting skills, play the wind and minimize human odor — but if the location is wrong, you won't be successful. I only saw one bear, and it was so small I didn't shoot. That was my first trip on which I wasn't successful in filling a tag.

2014 Bow Season

Last summer, we heard rumor of a huge buck on the farm we hunt, and one day we got a look at him in a field. But over the first few weeks of bow season, it was hard to spend a lot of time pursuing him. With things hectic at my business, finding time to be in the tree wasn't easy. Working as hard and as fast as I could, then showering with scent-free soap and getting to my stand 20 minutes from home before 5 p.m. proved a real challenge.

In previous years I'd rotated among several stands. But in 2014, I decided to try a new strategy: putting my time and effort into only one spot. By the afternoon of Oct. 25 I'd hunted it 20 times, carrying in corn and apples to lure the deer. (Baiting is legal here in Ohio.)

This particular tree I hadn't been able to hunt the past several years, because my scent generally blew toward a nearby opening the deer traveled through to reach the bean field. But last fall I had a new weapon to employ. For my bear hunt I'd bought an Ozonics ozone generator. During bow season in our part of Ohio, the wind often blows several directions within an hour, making it hard to find a good setup. I hoped the Ozonics would let me hunt even with the wrong wind.

That afternoon I was settled in by 4:45. It was a warm day, and no deer showed up until 6:00. First a yearling came out from my right, which was the direction in which my filtered scent was blowing. Then another yearling came in. Fifteen minutes later, a large doe entered.

The deer were constantly looking back toward the opening. Sure enough, another large doe came to the corn. But then all four deer began looking back.

As they stared toward the opening, I heard some noise from there. That's when a giant buck I'd never seen emerged from the cover — stopping just 18 yards from me, facing toward my tree.

ellen_turner_1Unaware I was watching him, the buck began eating apples. I was amazed he couldn't hear my heart pounding. I had to calm down!

After 15 excruciating minutes of watching the huge deer feed without his ever offering me a broadside shot, the wind reminded me of the challenge of this location. It shifted — and all five of the deer bolted, running out to a distance of 50 yards before stopping to look around.

Evidently they hadn't intercepted a strong dose of human odor, though. Slowly the antlerless deer started back toward the bait, and soon all four of them were feeding. But the big buck wasn't so sure.

The beans recently had been harvested, so the weeds I'd been using for yardage markers had been cut down. So I'd temporarily placed four small rocks in the field as markers. Two were at 30 yards, the others at 36. I didn't have a 35-yard pin but knew where to hold my 30-yard pin to be on at 36.

The buck stood broadside between the rock markers, looking away from me. I knew it was now or never — provided I didn't spook any of the other deer. Fortunately, they all had their heads down as I drew. Upon realizing I hadn't been busted by any of the deer, I took my time, aimed and squeezed the release.

ellen_turner_chartThe arrow penetrated the buck's chest, and he immediately jumped and ran toward the woods. That concerned me, as there's a very steep ravine just inside that woodsline. Suddenly, though, he turned and ran toward the center of the field, staggered and fell. He gave one last leg jerk and was out for good.

I'd done it: I'd shot a deer of the size everyone had told me I couldn't. My 2012 buck scored 156 3/8, and realistically, he was the deer of a lifetime. I'd been told I'd never get a bigger one in Ohio. But now, only two years later, I'd done just that, through the heart at 32 yards. My deer received an official Pope & Young score of 180 2/8 net as a 5x5 with a short non-typical point.

I've kept a journal of every hunt I've ever been on. While I've journeyed to some dream destinations, this hunt near home by far exceeds the rest. Dreams do come true. With patience and perseverance, who knows what lies ahead?

Kyle Heuerman

Any serious whitetail hunter knows that it's not often that we get a second chance on the buck of a lifetime, or even a first chance for that matter. But luck was on the side of Kyle Heuerman and his girlfriend Jennifer Weaver when they put an arrow through this 196-inch Illinois brute.

Read the full story.

Joe Franz

We estimate he was 7 1/2 years old. That's based on photos from 2010, when he clearly wasn't over 3 1/2. When I got him he weighed over 300 pounds on the hoof, as suspected. Official B&C measurer Glen Salow came up with a 'œgreen' gross score of 258 7/8 inches. After the 60-day drying period, he again taped the rack. This time he got a gross non-typical score of 261 3/8, with a net of 230 7/8. The gross score evidently makes this the highest-scoring wild whitetail ever harvested on professional video.

Read the full story.

Jon Massie

Jon's no stranger to free-ranging whitetails across the central plains, having guided a number of clients to trophies and harvesting many big ones himself. In fact, going into 2013 he'd shot two net Boone & Crocketts: one a non-typical scoring over 200, the other a typical from public land. With such success behind him, Jon felt all of his hunting dreams already had come true. At least, he did until a buck he'd never seen showed up on one of his trail cameras.

Read the full story.

Tom Boyer

Knowing I couldn't even come to my knees without breaking the little concealment we had, I decided to lie on my left side, using my left elbow for as solid a rest as could be achieved within the slight incline of the old fencerow. But when I shouldered the rifle, the sight of the crosshairs oriented at a 10-4 o'clock angle was definitely a different look from the normal 12-6 position we all practice from. Even so, I didn't figure that would matter if I aimed at the right spot and squeezed off a clean shot. I settled the crosshairs where I needed to place the bullet and steadied the rifle. Whispering 'œfire in the hole' while floating the crosshairs on the spot, I gently squeezed the trigger until the recoil removed the buck from my view.

Read the full story.

Teddy\'s Buck

With a whopping 40 inches of non-typical growth, he has a gross Boone & Crockett score of 215 3/8. The rack's 21 6/8-inch inside spread certainly helps to show off its unique character. He was just a special deer, and very much a result of patience in both management and hunting.

Read the full story.

Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan was only 19 when, during the 2013 season, he arrowed an Arkansas buck of gigantic proportions. Like many of his fellow Arkansans, Ryan is a deer and duck fanatic. For several years, however, he gave up most of his duck season to lock horns with the world-class buck.

Read the full story.

Junior Key

Junior's outstanding whitetail is the biggest ever recorded from Monroe County, and he ranks as one of the Bluegrass State's top bucks from the 2013-14 season. This great non-typical also is the latest member of Kentucky's all-time Top 30 list.

Read the full story.

Mikell Fries

At 16 yards, Mikell took aim at the giant and released his arrow. In an instant, the shaft had passed through him. The deer instantly whirled and ran out of sight . . . but then, within seconds the archer heard him crash to the ground. 'œI remained in the stand for several minutes to gather my thoughts and calm down,' Mikell says. 'œI'm sure the entire encounter only took a few minutes, but it seemed an eternity.'

Read the full story.

Bill Robinson

Three double-digit tines of 10 2/8 to 13 5/8 inches, plus 7 1/8- and 9 3/8-inch brows and a 21 3/8-inch inside spread, add plenty to this regal crown. Put everything together and you have a gross 9-point frame score of 193 6/8. That's as big as it sounds.

Typical asymmetry and 11 6/8 inches of abnormal points total 25 1/8 inches of deductions, so as a typical, the deer nets 'œonly' 168 5/8. But the 8×5 rack's total gross score of 205 4/8 is much more reflective of its stunning size. Regardless of score, the Robinson buck is clearly a marvel of nature.

Read the full story.

Nick Drake

The action was fast and furious right from the get-go. At daybreak a doe busted through the cedar thicket with an eight-point suitor following close behind. The doe, however, wanted nothing to do with her pursuer and jumped into a nearby pond in an attempt to flee the buck. This, however, wasn't the last of the action. Nick continued to watch several bucks harass does throughout the morning, but chose not to take a shot at them.

Read the full story.

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