Deductions drop the green net into the 180s, but numbers hardly do justice to a rack that combines formidable mass with a drop-tine configuration that’s a marvel of nature.
Check out the pinwheel pattern on the left antler. In all, the rack features 34 inches of drop-tine measurements…
…and an impressive 41 inches of mass.
Vollmar first encountered the buck on a trail camera photograph last December, after he’d already tagged out for the year. “What caught my eye was the drop tines,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow, he’ll be a great buck next year if he keeps those drops.'”
He kept the drops and then some: As this trail cam shot from December 2009 shows, last year the buck had no drop tine on his right side. Notice how lean the deer is after the rut.
Vollmar did not see the buck again this summer, and he worried the deer didn’t make it through the winter. “He was so skinny last winter, and we were getting all kinds of velvet bucks on the trail cam all summer with no sign of him,” he says. Finally, his good friend Steve Esker spotted the buck in September, a couple of weeks before the Ohio archery opener. He put up a trail camera, and soon after Vollmar got his first inkling of just how much the buck had improved over the year.
“When I saw the pictures this year, I was amazed,” Vollmar says. “But I didn’t think I’d be able to hunt the property, because Steve and his brother Scott had first choice. I was just lucky that they were on better deer and I got to hunt this one.” They got 50 photos of the buck at two different sites before it disappeared for a couple of weeks, finally showing up again in this mid-October photo.
Vollmar decided to hang his stand near the most promising of the deer’s two haunts, an abandoned house with apple and pear trees (bottom left) in an overgrown backyard. Waiting in his stand at dawn on October 25 he heard rustling in the fruit trees and readied his Excalibur crossbow. He expected the buck to emerge in the clearing to the right of the trees, but instead he stepped out of a narrow opening to the left and stood broadside at about 15 yards.
“I didn’t waste any time lining up the shot, because I had a narrow shooting lane,” Vollmar says. “Afterward, I saw him cut the field, but I was trying to hang up the crossbow and grab my binoculars and I lost him. I wasn’t sure exactly where he went.” Esker arrived to help with trailing, and he was the one who found the buck about 150 yards from where Vollmar shot him, in the tall grass surrounding a pond.
“We had estimated from the trail cam pics that he was about a 170,” Vollmar says. “But we didn’t realize how long the drop tines are, and I totally overlooked the mass. When I got a close look at him I thought, ‘Wow, this is a lot more deer than I thought.’ There was definitely no ground shrinkage.” A Buckmaster scorer measured the rack’s inside spread at 18 6/8 inches and tallied a gross score of 192 with a 184 net. Vollmar was impressed by the buck’s rut-swollen neck, which measured 27 inches.
“It was only fair that Steve found my deer…”
…”since I found his,” says Vollmar, who helped track down Esker’s third 200-class Ohio buck in mid-October.
Vollmar has enjoyed good hunting with Steve and Scott Esker (right), who do most of their hunting inside the Columbus city limits. “The quality of the bucks in the Columbus area is just phenomenal,” Vollmar says.
In fact, this giant–nicknamed “Splitter” because of his forked brow tines–also showed up in the yard of the abandoned house where Vollmar shot his drop tine.
Last year Vollmar spotted this dandy typical buck on the trail cam…
…and harvested him two weeks later during Ohio’s 2009 shotgun season with a 50-cal Thompson Center Encore muzzleloader.
The buck scored 172 5/8 inches typical Boone & Crockett and was, until then, the largest he had ever tagged.
The quad buck is just one milestone in an eventful year for Vollmar. The 35-year-old veteran will marry on New Year’s Eve and expects to ship out to Afghanistan next summer. He’ll miss the 2011 season after having missed 2008 to fulfill his tour of duty in Iraq. “This buck means the world to me, especially since I won’t be able to hunt next year,” he says. “He’s so big and so unique that he takes care of two seasons. And to shoot him back-to-back with the 12-pointer is just great. I shot the two best deer of my life between deployments, and that’s pretty awesome.”
Travis Vollmar, an Army National Guard combat engineer and an Iraq War veteran, took this unique quadruple drop-tine buck with a crossbow in Columbus, Ohio last week. Vollmar expects to ship out to Afghanistan in the summer and will miss the 2011 season, but this trophy may be enough to carry him through to 2012. Steve Hill got the story on the hunt from Vollmar himself.