November 21, 2023
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Rickey Brewer works at the Red River Army Depot in northeast Texas. His job has a unique benefit: the opportunity to hunt a tightly managed property loaded with big bucks. Hunts are regulated for safety and security concerns. Each hunter and their family get sole access to an area on each hunt, but they cannot reserve it for extended periods. So, most hunts are only Friday through Sunday events. These limitations can cause stress when you have a trophy buck you’re trying to take!
In 2021, Rickey located a big 10-point with multiple stickers. The buck was appearing on his cell cameras over roughly 150 acres, but it managed to avoid him all of that season. Rickey managed to get eyes on the buck as it followed a scent drag into his bow stand during a 2022 hunt, but the deer would not stop for a clean shot and spooked when it got to where the drag was hanging. After that close call, the buck ghosted; but Rickey was slowly narrowing down his core area and gaining intel.
By the time the 2023 season arrived, he was certain of where the buck was bedding, and he luckily managed to sign into that area again. But his target was always a little ahead of him, and all his efforts to take the deer with a bow were unsuccessful.
With youth season approaching, Rickey decided to let his 13-year-old daughter, Reili, in on the action for the weekend. Reili had been hunting for a few years, and she was eager to take her turn. Saturday morning found dad and daughter in the woods with rattling antlers in hand. Rickey managed to get a small 8-point to respond, but the giant stayed hidden. The afternoon was slow, too; only a lone doe passed through.
Rickey decided to try the area where he had seen the buck the next morning. This time, he got four bucks to respond to rattling, including a 140-class 8-point. But Reili held fast and let the 8-pointer walk.
By 8:30 a.m., a front was blowing in. The wind picked up and the temperature began falling. Mom came to the rescue, meeting them in town with more clothing so their hunt could continue. It was nice to be warm again, and then the rain started.
Rickey gave his rain suit to Reili and huddled under her ladder stand trying to stay dry, making it most of the way through the afternoon. But with only a few minutes of daylight left, he told Reili, “I can’t take it anymore!” He headed out to the truck, and Reili stayed in the stand.
He changed clothes and took a couple sips of Coke before he heard Reili’s .350 Legend ring out. “For just a minute, I wondered if she had seen that 140 again,” Rickey recalls. Then Reili FaceTimed him.
“I got the big one,” she exclaimed. “He’s down!”
“I really think the buck had me patterned and heard me slip out,” Rickey adds. “That might have been why he finally decided to move!”
The enormous rack, with extremely heavy mass extending out on each beam, unofficially scores 238 4/8 inches. This score is preliminary, and the buck won’t be officially scored for entry into the B&C record book until the mandatory 60-day drying period has passed. If the preliminary score holds up, Reili Brewer’s buck will surpass Mckenzie Tiemann’s 209 1/8 net 24-point from Washington county taken in 2017, becoming the biggest buck ever downed by a youth hunter in Texas. Also, if Reili’s non-typical nets over 235, it will land in the top 15 for all-time free-range bucks taken in Texas, according to B&C.