Ohio Hunter Tags Crazy Local Legend, 228-Inch Buck With Antler Growing Out of His Eye
Davey Stuckey’s 228-inch mammoth buck was a well-known, but elusive, Buckeye State brute
We’ve profiled Davey Stuckey several times in this space; the Ohio expert whitetailer has taken several whopper bucks over the years, but perhaps none as impressive as this year’s mammoth whitetail. The 228-inch giant sports 18 scorable points, has two drop tines, a 2-½-inch tine protruding from below his eye socket, and circumference measurements over 9 inches. The gigantic buck was well known to area hunters and residents, and Stuckey was far from the only one pursuing the deer. Here’s his story.
It All Started With Two Sheds
Stuckey’s first encounter with the buck came four years ago when he was shed hunting. “I was actually looking for the antlers of another buck I’d hunted that fall,” he says. “I came up over this rise and there was a matched set from this buck. I was over three miles away from where I eventually killed the deer.”
Despite finding the great sheds, Stuckey had no contact with the deer that fall. He also had other deer to chase so he didn’t spend much time looking for him. “But the next summer I started seeing the buck again, and of course, he had my attention,” Stuckey says. “He was living on a big farm that I couldn’t hunt, but I had access to an adjacent property. I’d spot him once in a while, but he kept moving around. “
As the season approached, Stucky gained access to a property where he felt he had the best chance at a shot. He started seeing the buck regularly, but it was still hard to figure out the deer’s pattern.
“He was all over the place and not near huntable cover very much,” Stuckey says. “Finally, I just decided to do something dumb, and I stuck a camera in a random ditch on the property.” Stuckey’s gamble worked, and he started getting pictures of the buck in the daylight.
Stuckey Gets a Shot at the Buck
With some solid trail-cam pics, Stuckey knew he had to set up a stand. He picked a windy day and scouted the ditch. “I was actually sneaking around that ditch looking for sign when my phone pinged, letting me know my camera had shot a pic,” he says “I looked at my phone and there was the buck, walking in the CRP, right there with me. I had my crossbow so I slipped that way and spotted his antlers in the grass. I got within 50 yards and had a good shot at his vitals but I missed and shot right over his back.”
After the shot, the buck actually walked a little closer to Stuckey, before trotting off into the woods. The next day Stuckey got more daylight pics of the buck and knew he wasn’t spooked at all.
Stuckey’s had high hopes when he hung his stand, but after the first few sits, he stopped getting pictures of the buck during the day except on the days he didn’t hunt. “After a couple of days of this, the light bulb finally went off; I knew the buck was watching me walk into the woods with him, and he just laid on his belly until he knew I was out of there,” he says.
Stuckey decided he needed to take a longer, more circuitous route to his stand. He knew the buck was bedding between his stand and the road, so he came up with an approach that would take him across a bean field 700 to 800 yards away and into the stand. On the morning of October 30, he hiked in and got settled in his stand about 45 minutes before daylight. When shooting light came, he saw a few does and a smaller buck. He watched the deer mill around for a while. Then he heard a deep grunt come from the timber.
“I looked that way and I could see just his rack as some does ran away from the buck and into the CRP near me,” he says. “Finally he walked out and stood at 50 yards. After the shot, he ran to the ditch. I waited awhile then decided to go mark the spot where he walked in the timber, before getting help to track him. But when I got to the woods I could see him, just ahead of me. I didn’t even walk up to him, I just went to get some buddies to join me in retrieving him.”
Word Gets Around and Other Hunters Chime in
Stuckey called the local warden, also a friend, to come see the buck. “So many people had been hunting for, and knew about, this buck that there was potential for bad rumors to start,” Stuckey says. “The warden came in, checked the deer, and I showed him my stand. He just looked it all over and said ‘Congrats and good job!’ I was really pleased that when word of the deer got around I had so many positive responses.”
Other hunters sent Stuckey trail-cam pics and video they had of the buck from miles around. “That deer was such a traveler he was kind of a local celebrity,” he says. “The buck was at least 8-½ years old, and I think he was actually 30 to 40 inches bigger in 2021. He had more height and more drop tines, but when I had him scored, there was obviously some impressive stuff still happening. Though he only had a 14⅝-inch spread, his bigger drop tine was 9 4/8 inches and there were 66⅞ inches of abnormal points. He is something else.”