A Buck Called "Beefy 8"

I still hear, from time to time, people who believe that trail cams are somehow cheating. That by shooting a buck's picture we have somehow gained an unfair advantage over the whitetails that should remain elusive and mysterious. Those folks have never dealt with a buck like Beefy 8.

He was something of a fixture on the small farm that I hunt with a couple of good friends. Our trail cams took a couple pics of a tall, tight-racked 8-point in midsummer; not a giant buck, just one of those "nice ones" that make you take a long hard look at his photo.

He had a pretty, highly symmetrical rack, but he was more notable for his body size, and his slab-sided frame led to the "Beefy 8" nickname.

The buck disappeared for a month or so as summer waned, but as the rut heated up he was back on camera again; working scrapes and showing off his stocky shoulders and ever-broadening neck. I had more photos of him than any buck on the property, and his macho posturing spawned a fun debate among our party regarding his age. Our opinions were so divided that I finally showed the pics to Kip Adams, a QDMA biologist, who largely settled the matter.

Beefy 8 was a 3-year old, but with a body that easily made you think "older." Not long after that, during the first week of November, Dave Hurteau visited me for a hunt. The first morning he sat that farm Dave spotted Ol' Beef but wasn't able to kill him. As it turned out, that would be the only in-the-flesh sighting of perhaps the most consistent, active, and impressive buck on the property.

Two weeks ago, on a mid-December day when the temp barely cracked zero, I found one side of Beefy's rack. It lay tines-down in the very food plot where we snapped his first picture last summer. Later, my hunting partner pulled a trail camera from that same field that showed Beefy 8 packing both sides, only four days before I found the shed. We babbled for long minutes to each other about this buck, glad that he was alive and around for entertainment next fall.

There are 8-1/2 months until the start of the next archery season. I always feel a little bluesy to see the season go out, but the knowledge that one of our regulars will be around to taunt us next fall has made my normal funk a little easier to take. So here's to the Beefy 8, a buck I adore, but have never laid eyes on….