April 18, 2022
By Tony Kalna Jr.
Breaking News Buck
My son, Tony Kalna III, has been hunting the same 80 acres near Lake of the Ozarks since the day he began hunting at the age of 10. Over the past 23 years he has taken some decent bucks there, but the trophy that he killed on Nov. 16, 2021, was beyond his wildest dreams.
Eighty acres is a relatively small tract of land, especially when it consists of typical Ozark habitat. Rugged, rocky hillsides, timbered ridge-tops and deep ravines make up the property. It’s a tough place to pinpoint deer, but after decades of hunting it, we have become intimate with the land.
We arrived at deer camp late on Saturday night, and the next morning we headed to our favorite stands. The first two days were windy and deer sightings were few. I had only seen a yearling and Tony saw a couple of does and a 3-pointer. Since we only had the following morning to hunt, time was running out.
Racing the Clock
The morning started out chilly and windless with a brilliant sunrise. At 9:15, Tony said that he glanced to his right and saw the back half of a big-bodied deer behind an oak 50 yards away. When it stepped out, he could see it was a shooter.
One shot from his Savage 7mm-08 sent the buck running through thick brush and over the ridge. I made my way over to his stand to help track. When I was within 100 yards of his stand, I saw the buck staring at me. I couldn’t get my gun up in time before the biggest buck I had ever seen turned and ran down our logging road and out of sight.
The Ozark Giant
Tony came down the hill and I told him I just saw his buck. He found blood while coming down the hill, so we followed the blood on the logging road. As it turned out, the deer had stayed on our road, where Tony found it lying dead!
“There it is!” Tony exclaimed.
He sprinted to the buck, and I was right behind him. He reached down and grabbed the buck’s enormous rack and began shouting in disbelief.
“I thought we were going to have to get a tracking dog to help find it,” Tony says. “It was a roller coaster of emotions before I found it.”
Tony’s Ozark buck sports 25 points: 16 points on the right antler and 9 points on the left. It has double split brow tines on the left side and great mass throughout. You cannot wrap your hand around the base of the right antler.
“I’m not sure what he will end up scoring, but I really don't care,” says Tony. “It is a buck of a lifetime, and I’m thankful to have taken it.”