My previous post referenced the terribly slow deer activity of last weekend. I saw but one deer from the stand over the course of two hard days of hunting Kentucky’s early muzzleloader season, but I suppose, as the saying goes, it was the deer that counted.


I was in a box blind overlooking a 5-acre field on our family farm. Two sections of the field are planted in food plot: clover on one side of the box blind, and a blend of clover, chicory, and turnips on the other side. The field is surrounded by a mix of cover, including some new-growth thicket, hardwood timber, and clear cut. It’s where I’ve grown up deer hunting, and it’d be tough for me to hand-pick a better-looking spot.

That didn’t seem to make much difference last weekend, though. In fact, we were beginning to wonder if deer even lived there anymore. My brother Matt, hunting an equally good-looking spot on the other end of the farm, texted me at about a quarter till 9. “Haven’t seen a thing. Giving it until 9:30.”

I’d no more than read the text when this buck burst out of the neighbor’s thicket and across the field in front of me. My first look at him was head-on, and I could tell that although he was narrow, he was tall. He kept coming, and when he crossed in front the box blind, I got a good profile view. Plenty of mass, and a pretty good main beam.

I’ve been telling folks that I bleated to stop him, but it was more of an urgent cry that I’d be embarrassed to replicate in my story-telling. The point was to make a noise loud enough for him to hear, though, and it worked. He slammed on the brakes at about 120 yards, giving me just enough time to thumb my hammer back, settle the crosshairs and mash the trigger. Black powder smoke obscured my view of the shot, and initially, the buck hauled ass as if untouched. But he stopped just before reaching the woods and piled up.

I haven’t scored him. I’m guessing mid-130s, maybe 140, but that’s not all that important to me. He’s one of the best bucks I’ve ever taken in Kentucky, and certainly the most massive deer I’ve ever shot. He’s got bases covered with scorable sticker points.

You’ve heard that saying about deer hunting: “Stay in the stand; a big buck might pop out at any second.” That’s easier said than done when you’re watching a cricket crawl across the floor of a box blind for entertainment. But, as this buck proved, it’s a pretty valid argument.