October 04, 2023
Hunting alongside your father on a 100-year-old family farm is hard to beat. Add in taking a giant whitetail, and that’s the memory of a lifetime! Especially when it happens on your very first sit of the season. Incredibly, this scenario isn’t fiction, it’s the tale of Matt Rose’s 2023 Missouri bowhunt.
“I have killed some great bucks over the years,” Matt says. “But this old deer I named Slingshot, and this hunt, is one I will never forget!”
Matt first spotted Slingshot (then presumed to be a 3-year-old) in 2020. The buck had a tall right brow tine with a split then, which earned him the nickname. “I thought in time he might turn into something special,” Matt recalls. “But he was hard to keep up with, because he seemed to leave the farm by October 1 each year.”
Matt runs trail cameras in multiple areas. Slingshot would show up here and there, then make his exit every fall around the same time. “I noticed that he was hanging out near a mineral lick,” Matt says. “And I added more cameras in that area to really zone in on him while he was still around.”
By the summer of 2023, Matt had the buck’s core area closely defined, so he decided to sweeten the deal. “I placed a scrape station, using a post with a hemp rope on one side and a limb on the other, in a small field the buck was using,” Matt explains. “Then I sprayed them with scent and opened the ground below. He was coming there on a three-day cycle. I knew this would be the best place to kill him, but I would need to get it done early.”
There wasn’t a perfect tree to set up his ambush, but Matt managed to put his stand in a scrub oak tree a few yards away from the scrape station. This allowed him to hide among some of the lower limbs.
“That meant I would have to really pick my shots, but I had great cover,” Matt says.
When opening day arrived, Matt’s dad dropped him off at the field; then he headed off for his own hunt. Taking no chances with the setup, Matt turned on his Ozonics and sprayed Nose Jammer.
A parade of does and small bucks began entering the field at 4:15 p.m., tearing into the planted mix. Three hours later, Matt spotted a familiar 10-point buck walking under his stand; it was his target from a year earlier. But Matt elected to keep waiting. Then Slingshot strolled into view. Matt checked with binoculars just to be sure it was him, and then he exchanged the glass for his bow.
“He walked under me, then turned out and went around the scrape station,” Matt remembers. “I drew and let down three times, trying to get everything right. He was moving too much, it was nerve-wracking!”
Light was fading fast; it needed to happen soon. Finally, the buck stopped in the open, and Matt sent the arrow! The broadhead found its mark, and Slingshot went just a few yards before falling in sight!
“I called my wife to tell her I got him. Then I decided to save the surprise for my dad,” Matt says.
Slingshot scores 186 4/8. The towering rack features a split right brow tine, stickers on both G-2s, heavy mass and beading. “It couldn’t have been any better,” Matt claims.