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. 23: Harrodsburg, Kentucky hunter Chris Armstrong hunted from a ground blind near a clover plot last Saturday morning. Early on, all he saw was a spike. “He was cruising through, but other than him, I hadn’t seen anything else. Not even any does,” Armstrong says. “And the weekend before, I didn’t see a single deer. The hunting was pretty slow. But, after being in the blind a while, I decided to try a calling sequence. I did some rattling and mixed in some grunts and doe bleats. It was around 9 a.m.”


Shortly after Armstrong finishing calling, this monster buck stepped out of a cedar thicket near his blind. “Although he came to the calling, he actually caught me a little off guard,” Armstrong says. “I didn’t even have my gun in my hands. It was sitting about three feet away from me. But I managed to get it and take the shot. I hit the buck through both lungs at about 50 yards, and he didn’t go far before piling up.”