October 11, 2022
Gage Bohannon got trail camera pictures of a monster buck for the first time ever on the morning of Sept. 20, 2022. Appearing to be a mature, 5 1/2-year-old deer carrying a massive rack, Gage decided to move in on the buck.
“The deer showed up on a cell cam at 6:28 that morning,” Bohannon says. “He hung around until 7:15 a.m., then exited the field into the bedding area across from my stand. This was significant, because every buck in this spot that had daylighted in the morning and bedded in this specific spot had always shown back up that night in the daylight. So, the whole day, I kept checking the wind and coming up with a game plan on how to get in without bumping him.”
After recently gaining permission to hunt the property, Gage didn’t have much knowledge of the area. In fact, he and a friend had hung the successful stand location barely a week prior to the hunt. “We fell in love with this pinch point, and how much the beans in the area were browsed,” he says. “Acorns being 80 yards from the stand was another big factor. Also, where this tree is in the field, it can be hunted on every wind except a straight west, so that opened a lot of options.”
So, with a gut feeling of where to hunt this deer, he eased into position that afternoon. With southerly winds and a 91-degree temperature, he didn’t expect much action. Still, he hunted in hopes of seeing the newcomer. Camped out overlooking a soybean field, and small hollows full of thickets running throughout the farm, he knew the deer was close.
“I checked the wind one last time, because it was honestly borderline to be hunting him. And something caught my eye out in the open field to my right,” Gage remembers. “When I turned back to the left, he was standing at 120 yards.”
The buck started walking up the field edge, stopping behind a big limb and feeding on acorns. Eventually, the deer re-emerged and walked up a soybean row straight toward Gage’s main shooting lane.
“He paused once at 35 yards and checked the wind, then continued on, giving me a perfect broadside shot,” Gage says. The 28-yard shot hit its mark, and the deer ran 70 yards before piling up in the beans.
“It’s the biggest buck of my life,” Gage says. “I’ve killed other good deer, but this deer’s frame walking across that bean field is a sight I’ll never forget. It was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen. Honestly, I’m still in disbelief the plan worked.”
Looking back, Gage thanks several people, including his father, his friends, Brandon Williams and Luke Edwards, and the individual who spotted this buck and urged him to get permission from the landowner to hunt the deer. “Listen to your farmers and landowners,” Gage suggests. “I don’t care if you’re coyote hunting, or in this case, looking for a giant deer. If someone gives you information, it’s worth looking.”
Overall, this big Shelby County, Kentucky, buck has a green score of a whopping 189 1/8 inches, which is bigger than he expected. “No one could believe how the trail camera pictures didn’t do him justice,” Gage says. “This deer means the world to me. It’s a huge blessing to be able to sit behind a deer like this. This was the worst year I have ever had running cameras and finding a deer to hunt. So, to turn around in 24 hours and I kill the biggest deer of my life, it’s like something straight out of a movie. This was one of the biggest blessings you could ever get. And it taught me a lot about keeping after it even when you think you don’t have a reason to.
“Hunting is my life,” Gage concludes. “Besides my wife and kids, hunting is the most important part of my life. I have had opportunities that most people don’t ever get in a lifetime, and I don’t take a bit of it for granted. Man, God has blessed me so much more than I deserve, and I will forever be grateful to live this life.”