May 22, 2021
For the past couple of years my father, two friends, and I have leased some ground in Northeast Missouri. We have spent a good portion of time learning the lay of the land as well as the where-and-how of the deer on the property. Our lease is made up of two separate parcels about 2 miles from one another. The one farm in this story is only about 60 acres in size, it still produced the deer of one hundred lifetimes.
It was September 2020 when I made the call to the farmer in charge of taking care of the leases. He informed me of a big deer that was around all summer long in a bean field just South of our property. I began to wonder. Just how big is this deer? Where did he come from? Is he still alive? Then I thought back to a trail camera picture I had gotten of a big buck the previous year. My brain was spellbound with all the scenarios this certain deer might bring during the fall rut.
Eventually, sweet November was upon us, but with this excitement came unseasonably warm temperatures and low rut activity. We did what we could to pass the time in camp, playing cards, fishing, shooting our bows and things of that nature. We also took advantage of the heat by swapping out an old stand with a new one in our most promising location. On our way in that day, we noticed some outrageously large rubs and scrapes on a dam breast of a small pond at the South end of the property. Like kids in a candy store, we knew there was a big deer frequenting the area and we just had to wait for the right conditions.
November 11, I pushed even further into the location Anthony and I spotted all the signs. At about nine o’clock I heard a deer behind me trotting in my direction. I turned and saw an absolute stud of a ten-pointer. I was sitting in a small hollow that was perpendicular to a large hollow with the pond at the head of it. The deer made its way down into my hollow and I could see he was easily in the mid 160s and was going to take a shot if I could. As much as I tried to grunt and stop the deer, he just kept trotting by at 35 yards as he made his way out of sight.
And just like that, the last day of bow season in northeast Missouri was upon us. Early that last morning, I heard something over my right shoulder. Then I heard it again, but this time I knew what it was. I didn’t want to move; I couldn’t tell exactly where the deer was. I could hear the sound getting closer and closer and it sounded like it was going to wrap around the point to my right and come up my hollow. Before I knew it, I was looking at the biggest deer I had ever seen in my life.
When I grabbed my bow and brought it across my body my broadhead scraped the bark of the tree and the deer stopped dead in his tracks. I froze.
Luckily the sun was at my back. I stared at the squinting deer just 20 yards away. After what seemed like an eternity, he started to move again. Quickly, I drew my bow, and I took aim at the buck as he walked through my shadow at 15 yards.
I heard my arrow hit hard and the buck made a 180! I could see blood rushing from the exit hole right behind his right shoulder. I watched him run up on top of the hill, stop and tip over. I couldn’t believe what had just happened! I got an up-close shot on the biggest buck I will probably ever see in my lifetime, and I watched him fall over dead.
When I got ahold of Anthony I erupted! I bawled like a baby. He told me to sit down and take it all in. I sat and in awe just looking at the buck laying there in my binoculars. After sitting and looking for an hour and a half my dad and the gang showed up to help. I practically swan dove out of my tree in excitement. I ran over and got my hands on the buck and sobbed!
When we got the buck back to camp the warden, who is friends with our local farmer at the lease, arrived to check it out. He was in just as much of a shock as I was! We took the deer to a local taxidermist that night where we made some new friends under the skinning shed. The buck was green scored at 223 7/8. Regardless of what the deer officially scores, I’m humbled to have lived this experience. I accomplished every whitetail hunter’s dream, and I did it all with great friends and family. What more could one man ask for?