October 23, 2023
Ryan Hodges’ 2023 archery season was looking good. He had been hunting the same place for seven years, and he had a giant on his radar. The buck was coming to his Antler Edge supplement station regularly, and he had him at the top of his prospect list. Then disaster struck! Ryan suddenly lost access to the area; it was time to scramble.
“I was forced to find a new location to salvage the season on short notice,” Ryan explains. So he pulled up stakes and reset the blind and camera 1,200 yards away, and he poured out the Antler Edge in the new spot.
“I got everything picked up on Saturday and reset on Sunday,” Ryan says. “And the buck showed up at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning! I truly believe he smelled the new site and came on over!”
With this new intel, the hunt was on again. To make things even sweeter, the monster buck was daylighting every evening leading up to the opener on Oct. 1. Ryan slipped into his blind the first afternoon, hoping to get his hands on that rack. But there was a slight glitch in the plan when the buck came in 42 minutes too late.
His second afternoon began at 4:00 p.m., and the Oklahoma heat continued. To combat sweat, Ryan was spraying down with scent eliminator every 15 minutes. Two does came in an hour later, but they spooked, blowing and running right where the big buck was likely to come from.
“I was hoping they hadn’t ruined the hunt,” Ryan recalls. “But an hour later more deer showed up.” That group also spooked, but Ryan hung in there. “Then I heard deer fighting, and shortly afterward a mature 9-point and an 11-point came out.”
Fortunately, the giant was right behind them and presented Ryan with a 21-yard shot. The crossbow did its magic, and Ryan had his trophy!
The 4 1/2-year-old buck had added over 45 inches of antler from the previous season, which Ryan attributes to the mineral supplement. That new antler growth caused the rack to reach 181 5/8 inches. The rack also features an awesome triple common base on the left beam, and another on the right side, giving the rack a unique appearance.