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The Comeback Kid

Chad Compton is not your typical teenage archer, and in November 2006 he arrowed an Indiana megabuck that was way beyond "typical" as well.

Chad and his dad, Ken, were sitting in a stand on Nov. 4, 2006, when this 22-point giant appeared. Ken had already filled his tag, but he helped call the deer into bow range, and Chad made a perfect 20-yard shot.

Chad Compton, of Lafayette, Indiana, shot his first ever buck with a muzzleloader in 2002 when he was 10 years old. The small 8-pointer was a great first buck for any hunter, but Chad wanted something bigger. Not long after he made his inaugural kill, he decided that his next buck would have to be at least 10 points before he would consider taking it.

And he decided he wanted to take his next trophy buck with a bow!

In 2004 he got his first chance at such a buck. During bow season that year, a bona fide 10-point buck presented Chad with his first opportunity to make his wish a reality. But it wasn't meant to be.

"When I went to hook up the release on the D-loop of my bowstring, I inadvertently knocked the arrow off the string," the young hunter recalled. "The arrow fell innocently to the ground, but hit practically everything in its path."

Chad, who was sharing a stand with his dad, Ken, could only watch as the alerted buck made a quick exit from the scene. The young hunter obviously was very disappointed as he played the blown encounter over and over again in his mind.

For the rest of the '04 season and throughout the 2005 season, Chad never got another opportunity at the caliber of buck he was looking for. He saw plenty of smaller bucks that he could have taken shots at, and he spent plenty of time in a stand with his dad. The opening of the 2006 Indiana archery season found now-14-year-old Chad playing outside linebacker on McCutcheon High School's freshman football team.


This restricted his bow hunting to weekends only for the first month or so of the season. Then, toward the end of football season, Chad unexpectedly suffered pinched nerves in both shoulders. It seemed that his '06 archery season might have to be scrapped altogether because for a time he wasn't able to draw his bow.

In light of Chad's injury, Ken decided to lessen the draw weight on his son's bow down to 60 pounds. Interestingly, Chad had been drawing 70 pounds on his Bow Tech. This is a heavy draw weight for many adult archers, but it's especially heavy for a 14-year-old.

But Chad Compton isn't your typical teenage archer!

Chad competes nationally in the I.B.O. and has traveled all over the U.S. to various competitions. In fact, in 2006 Chad was in 11th place going into the third leg of the I.B.O. National Triple Crown event in Nelsonville, Ohio, before a family emergency caused him and his dad to have to leave the tournament early. The two Comptons also compete in many area archery competitions in and around west-central Indiana.

Luckily, Chad was able to draw his bow at the reduced poundage, and he worked hard to get it sighted in. As the rut approached during the last week in October, Ken decided that it was time to take a few vacation days and hunt his favorite stand. Ken's "honeyhole" stand is situated in a large oak tree that overlooks a depression, or "bowl" as he calls it, situated just off a finger of woods that runs from north to south.

In all, the bowl contains three separate fingers of timber that are flanked by ravines. Each ravine channels a separate creek into a main feeder creek that flows into the well-known Wabash River.

Ken has several stands situated at the top of the steep decline. Because of the way they are situated, human scent usually blows safely over the heads of any bucks that might be approaching from the low area. During the rut, bucks use these fingers and ravines on a regular basis as they cruise for does. A main bedding area is located to the north of the three timbered fingers of woods.

Each year, the Comptons purposely steer clear of this area until the rut approaches. On Nov. 3, 2006, Ken arrowed a nice 9-pointer out of his favorite stand. When Chad got out of school that day, his dad was waiting excitedly to tell him the news about his buck and that the rut was "on." Ken wanted to take Chad hunting that very afternoon, but the weather had turned quite cold and Chad suddenly realized that he had outgrown all of his cold weather clothing.

So instead of hunting that afternoon, the father-and-son team went to town to purchase some new cold weather gear for Chad. Since the next day was Saturday, they planned to be in the woods bright and early.

The next morning, Nov. 4, 2006, the hunting duo awoke, took showers, and gathered their gear together. They were in their stands by 6:30 a.m. Ken had set two stands in the same large oak tree. Since he had already filled his tag, his goal was to help Chad.

Knowing that the rut was about to break wide open and that they were hunting a magical area, both hunters were full of anticipation. The morning started off rather uneventfully. At 7:30 the duo spotted a good 8-pointer about 60 yards away. Although it didn't have the mandatory 10 points that Chad was looking for, Ken tried to call in the buck anyway. But the buck had other things on his mind and he never approached.

No deer were seen for the next few hours. After a time, four does approached from the south. Two of the does kept looking back over their shoulders. Ken grabbed his binoculars and noticed what he thought was a buck chasing a fifth doe. He began to rattle.

About a minute after he stopped rattling, Ken, who had been a heavyweight wrestler at Purdue University in the mid-1980s, literally reached around the tree and lifted Chad from a sitting position to his feet. He whispered, "Big buck.€‚.€‚.€‚. No, monster buck! Get ready! Ken gave a grunt, and the buck approached the oak tree from behind along the edge of the ravine.

Chad drew his bow, and when the buck was within 20 yards, he released his arrow. He remembers, "I watched the arrow hit the buck a little high." The buck dropped, but he wasn't finished. Ken told Chad to shoot the buck again in the heart.

Chad drew back and released another arrow. It was a good hit, right where he'd been aiming in the vitals. The buck jumped up and ran off. The big deer disappeared over the edge of the ravine and piled up. Certain that the deer was down for good, the father-and-son team starting high-fiving each other. A few m

inutes later they lowered their equipment and went after the fallen prize. When they reached the deer's side, Chad couldn't believe the size of his multi-tined trophy or the mass that the giant rack carried.

Needless to say, that's when some intense celebrating began.

Chad's buck sported a basic 6x5 rack with a 20€‚4/8-inch inside spread. The rack also had 11 abnormal points, giving it quite a bit of character. Most of the abnormals were on the left side. Even after considerable side-to-side deductions of 11€‚4/8 inches, adding back the 38€‚4/8 inches in abnormal points allowed the Indiana giant to net an impressive 206€‚6/8 non-typical. The buck field dressed at a hefty 222 pounds.

Chad Compton is an impressive young archer who has learned well from his dad. He's been on cloud nine ever since shooting this one-of-a-kind trophy. Not only did he accomplish this feat with a bow, just as he had set out to do, but he was rewarded for holding out with a multi-tined buck that sported a lot more than the 10 points he had hoped for. In fact, Chad's buck had over twice that many -- 22 in all!

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