February 05, 2024
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Jason Taylor is no stranger to big bucks. In fact, he was featured in Breaking News Bucks just last season, and here he is again with another monster buck on the ground. In 2023, he tagged a huge 6 1/2-year-old deer.
Jason took this buck on his personal farm he purchased nearly a decade ago.
“Since that time, I have taken the old, abandoned pasture fields and tobacco fields, lack of manicured hayfields, old structures, and junk, and completely redesigned the farm. The hayfields are now a solid mix of clover and beneficial grasses with 13 acres of designated annual and perennial food plots,” Jason says. “I have created designated bedding areas with CRP and performed two selective timber harvests to create cover and browse that was previously non-existent. This has led to me harvesting three deer over the 160-inch mark in the last four years, with the off year yielding a 6-year-old 8-point that I had multiple years of history with.”
The story of this deer began in 2020. That year, the buck was a 3-year-old with a typical 12-point frame. In 2021, he grew a nearly identical set of antlers. Jason encountered him that year but decided to pass on the buck. In 2022, he passed the deer again, even though he was a 150-inch 11-pointer at 5 1/2. He was hunting a bigger deer, anyway.
“This buck increased in his reliability of being on camera and being on the farm significantly from three to five years old, then did a complete 180 this year,” Jason says.
While the buck rarely left the farm, catching him on camera or at one of the feeders became increasingly difficult for Jason. However, the one consistent thing the buck did was travel to the bean field every night and stay until 4:00 a.m.
“On days with a northeast wind, he seemed to wait until daylight to travel back to his bed, as he could follow the wind the entire way,” Jason explains.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2023, Jason went afield yet again. Jason says it was about 65 degrees with 80 percent humidity, 29.59 barometric pressure, and five to seven mph winds out of the northeast. He was ready to capitalize; his target buck just needed to play along.
For the morning sit, Jason hunted a new stand location for the first time. It was his fifth time targeting the deer this season.
“I had to get into the stand very early, well before daylight, in hopes of not bumping him on his way back to bed,” Jason says. “It was pitch black and I was hunting an unfamiliar stand that I had hung the afternoon before. As daylight began to break, I had four bucks out in front of me coming from the far end of the field and heading back to bed. This deer was one of them. When they were finally close enough to see in the small bit of daylight, I realized the closest one was my target buck.”
Once in range, Jason readied for a shot opportunity. It was legal light, but still early, and he couldn’t see his pins well. Finally, after waiting, it was light enough to see them. A few minutes later, he took the broadside, 32-yard shot.
“He’s one of my favorite bucks I have ever taken, and definitely the prettiest,” Jason says. “This deer means a lot, not just from the harvest, but from the management standpoint as well. I have taken a farm that’s in a poor nutritional area where good deer only passed through occasionally, and I’ve created an optimized hunting farm that I consistently grow and harvest quality deer on. It’s taken time and a lot of work, but the results prove it’s working.”