Rut Reporter Will Brantley of Murray, Kentucky, knows the region well. He spends 40 to 50 days each season in the Mid-South whitetail woods. Brantley shot his first deer at age 10 with a sidelock muzzleloader. States covered: KY, TN, WV, VA, NC.

Nov. 3: When folks think of Kentucky deer hunting, they usually picture the row crops and rolling hardwood hills on the western end of the state–but big bucks roam the mountains of eastern Kentucky, too. Pikeville bowhunter Shannon Deskins has had her eye on one particular bruiser all season. She finally connected with him at 10:50 in the morning on October 30.


“I was pretty much hunting ‘him’ exclusively,” she says. “I knew he was in that general area because of trail cam pics and an encounter I’d had with him three weeks earlier. I passed on four big does that morning at about 9:30…and now, I’m SOOO glad that I did!”

Shannon’s big buck green scores 174 3/8. No doubt the buck of a lifetime–and a good lesson on the importance of hunting the mid-morning hours this time of year.

“Even though my buck tag is filled, I can’t wait to get back into the stand this weekend with my video camera,” Shannon says. “There are several more mature deer on the property, and they are starting to move during daylight hours. The younger bucks are grunting and chasing does, but the big ones are sort of just roaming slowly around. And, I still have my doe tags…”