Meyer and Owens grew up together in Seward County; they’ve known each other since grade school and their parents were friends before that. They hunt together often, and on the morning of Nov. 17 both had finished sits in separate locations before meeting at 10 a.m. to stalk the county’s abundant ag fields together in search of roaming bucks.
After stopping for lunch, they decided to upend their usual routine of a long midday break and return to the field as soon as possible. Both of us have seen a lot of big deer moving over the lunch hour, and a lot of people don’t hunt then,” says Meyer, district sales manager for a seed company. “I had taken the whole day off and Jordan was caught up on his farm work, so we decided to just give it a shot. We didn’t have anything else to do.”
Around 1:30 p.m. they settled into a wooded 15-acre horseshoe draw in the middle of a 200-acre cornfield. Meyer set up at one tip of the U with his 30.06, and Owens readied his .270 about 300 yards away at the other tip of the U. They could see each other across open field.
A half hour later, two does popped over a hill north of them, with a big buck in hot pursuit.
“It’s usually a pretty good spot a few days into the gun season, because people push the deer out of the river bottom a mile away and they run up there and hide,” Owens says. “During the harvest I saw a nice 5-by-5 there from the combine, and I thought it was him when he topped the hill.”
Each man fired at the buck from 250 yards. Both missed. “We both get buck fever pretty bad,” Meyer says. “I don’t know how many deer I’ve missed on the first shot.” “We would have probably been even more nervous if we’d known how big he really was,” Owens adds.
The buck ran north and east, giving both hunters a broadside look at his flank. “I took a little more time to line it up right on the second shot,” Owens says, “and led him just a hair.”
“I knew I had only a little window of time to get him,” Meyer recalls, “and I relaxed and made sure I could see him good in the scope.”
Both men shot “almost simultaneously” and the deer fell. The two met in the field and walked toward the buck together. “He kept getting bigger and bigger the closer we got,” Owens says. “We were just so happy to see him lying on the ground that we didn’t really know who shot him.”
“When we saw how big he was we probably spent 10 minutes just drooling,” Meyer says. “We kind of looked at each other and it took both of us a while to see who was going to claim him. Then we looked a little closer and saw two bullet holes.”
About six inches apart on the buck’s right side were two entry wounds from two different caliber weapons. “We both decided lets just call him ‘ours.’ He’s got two holes in him,” Meyer says. “There’s no sense ruining a friendship or giving one guy credit over another just for a deer. We figured it would be nice to both claim him.”
An official Boone & Crockett measurer tallied a green score of 228 nontypical, likely good enough (if the score holds up after the drying period) to make the buck a top 10 Nebraska nontypical. A check with the club’s record keepers confirms that there is a precedent for two hunters sharing a trophy listing, as more than one record in the Boone & Crockett database lists multiple hunters.
The rack features main beam lengths of 26 and 28 inches and foot-long G-2s. But what really stands out is the buck’s mass. “It’s just amazing how wide he is out to the end,” says Owen. “Usually the bases are your widest point, but this one starts wide at the base and gets wider out to the end. All the way out you can’t even put your hand around it.”
“To me it’s amazing how much mass he has in the middle of the rack, around the G-3s and G-4s,” Meyer notes. “He looks like he was on steroids. There’s so many little points at the bases that come out here and there. The scorer called him a 10 x 10, but he could be more.”
The two men joke about a number of schemes for sharing the rack. “We talked about splitting him down the middle and each doing a full-body mount to put on the wall,” Meyer laughs, “or Jordan said I could have the back and he gets the front.” But they’re pretty serious about not letting their shared achievement ruin a lifetime of friendship. “We decided that day when we were driving home after the hunt,” says Owens. “That’s the way we’re gonna do it and we’re not going to get into it over a deer. I don’t think we’ve had one argument since we shot it.”
The plan now is to sell the original rack and have two replicas made. “We are just so thrilled because he’s going on both of our walls,” says Owens. “We’re each getting a replica. That’s enough happiness for both of us.” (from left to right: Jordan and Kim Owens; Michelle and Kellen Meyer)
The friendship between Kellen Meyer and Jordan Owens of Seward County, Nebraska, which began in grade school, would most likely have hit a serious rough patch if either hunter had been a lesser person. When they both scored shots that brought down this high-mass, 228 B&C nontypical whitetail buck, the hunters decided to share their success. Steve Hill got the story of how these lifelong friends handled what may be the most unusual success story of the season.