June 21, 2022
By Christian Cummins
Going into the 2020 deer season, some friends and I gained permission to hunt a new piece of property in Fayette County, Kentucky. The piece of ground was 42 acres to be exact. We were all really excited, because there was a ton of deer sign and activity from what we could tell. We quickly found deer trails and could see deer out in the fields when we scouted.
Opening week of deer season came upon us quickly, and at that point we hadn’t had a shooter buck show up on trail camera. We were bummed about that, because our initial expectations had been so high. But when the season started, I decided to hunt with my wife near our house at our farm. I thought it’d be smarter to stick close to home and try to help her harvest a deer she was after. And I didn’t want to risk educating or pressuring deer on the new piece of ground.
Later that September, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw pictures of an absolute giant whitetail buck appear on trail camera at the 42-acre farm. Immediately, I knew the buck was special. I knew he was one of those once-in-a-lifetime deer. From photos, it was clear the deer was an extra-wide typical with a huge frame and at least 7 points on his left side and 6 on the right side.
My buddy was really wanting to go after the deer, so I let him start hunting first. Soon, he had an encounter with the deer, but it just didn’t work out. Though my friend came close, he didn’t want to take the chance of putting a bad shot on the buck. We reassured him he’d done the right thing.
Toward the end of September, the big buck was hit-or-miss when it came to trail camera sightings. He was not really predictable, so I stayed out of the woods until he was on a better pattern. Again, I felt like there was no need to educate a deer like that. So, I tried to just stay patient and wait for the right hunting conditions.
Soon it was Oct. 6, 2020 — a day I’ll never forget. I remember waking up that morning and lacing up my work boots like any other morning and heading to my job. But later that day, I checked my trail camera and noticed the buck had shown up right at daylight. That caught my attention right away.
Since the first day the buck showed up on the property, back in September, I never actually thought I would get an opportunity to hunt him. Normally, deer like these don’t let their guard down and move in daylight. So many of the giant bucks are always nocturnal, it seems like. But when I discovered that the buck appeared in daylight three times on Oct. 6, I knew it was time to hunt.
I had originally planned to hang a stand later that week to hunt the buck. But I changed my mind and decided on just going in and hunting him off the ground. Since I had my hunting gear already in my truck from the night before, I figured I might as well hunt right away. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to bed far away.
Now or Never
So, at 3:30 p.m., I entered the property for my second sit of the year. Prior to walking in the woods, I ran a deodorizing cycle on my Scent Crusher scent bag and got dressed. I checked my wind with my HuntStand App, as I’d done multiple times already that day. And finally, I sprayed myself down with Hunter Specialties earth scent spray. Then I headed into the woods with the Ravin R-10 crossbow. I got along the creek and quickly found some good thick cover, and I brushed myself in for a ground sit.
I saw no deer that afternoon, and I was thinking I’d made a bad move. But in a heartbeat my mind changed at about 7:00 p.m., when I looked up and noticed a small buck and a couple of does working their way to me. Then I noticed something else in the back. It didn’t take me long to realize what deer it was. The huge typical was walking right toward me.
I was trying to hold myself together, and I kept telling myself not to look at his antlers! Focus on the shot, I said to myself. As the buck came closer, he acted like he wanted to go across the creek. So, I decided it was “now or never.” I could either kill the biggest deer of my life, or I could at least say I missed the biggest one of my life. But I felt comfortable with the shot and confident that I could make it. The buck was at 60 yards and quartering toward me, and the Rage Hypodermic broadhead ate him up!
To my surprise, the buck ran directly to me, not knowing what hit him. In a frenzy, he stopped only 10-15 yards in front of me. My mind was racing, and for some reason all I could do was sit there dumbfounded watching him.
The buck was probably going to expire right there, but I told myself I needed to put another arrow in him. I finally got myself together enough to cock the crossbow back and execute another shot. The buck ran another 25 yards and was down for good.
By that time, I didn’t know what to do! I had so much adrenaline running through me. I knew I had just taken the biggest deer of my life. I called everyone I could think of, but nobody answered. I was sitting there alone with my thoughts, and my mind raced as I realized I’d killed the biggest deer I’d ever seen.
When I couldn’t get anyone to pick up the phone, I packed everything up and eased up the creek line trying not to bump the buck. When I got back to the truck, I tried to get myself back together. Finally, everybody started calling me — and all at once it seemed like. I told my buddy to come help with the recovery.
After talking to everyone, my emotions started to set in. I finally got myself together and decided to walk back into the woods and find the buck. I walked straight to the deer, and I sat beside him in the field for about 40 minutes waiting on my friend.
I was in shock, and I couldn’t believe the buck was dead. I’m not afraid to admit it: I even cried! After that, my friend arrived on the scene. After congratulations and fist-bumps, we loaded the deer up and took off to show him to family and friends.
After official measuring for the Boone & Crockett club, the 6x7 typical scored 187 2/8 gross and 177 6/8 net. His inside spread measurement is 22 4/8 inches, and his greatest spread is 25 4/8. His right and left main beams measure 27 inches and 27 3/8 inches, respectively.
Deer hunting is my passion. I’ll probably never top this deer, but that’s fine with me. If I’m healthy enough to continue doing what I love, that’s all that really matters. The epic hunt for this great Kentucky whitetail only reaffirmed that for me.