Think a buck has to score in the 180s or 190s to be special?

It’s just not so, and Brandon policeman David Watson is a perfect example. He’s just as pleased as he can be with a buck that scores just 135 inches in the Big Buck Bounty contest.

There’s one point on the 11-point rack that makes it a trophy in Watson’s eyes.

“He’s got a 5½-inch drop tine just below his right G2, which also has a sticker point,” said Watson, who killed the deer the morning of Jan. 9 on private property near Brandon. “I’ve always wanted to kill a buck with a drop tine, and I’m happy to do it.”

Where he killed the buck also makes it special for Watson.

“I have a family friend that has just under 150 acres that he lets me hunt in exchange for keeping an eye on it for him,” he said. “He doesn’t get a chance to go there often enough and wants me to check on it from time to time.”

That morning, Watson was doing his checking on the interior of the property, from an Old Man treestand in a thick hardwood bottom. He got in the stand before daylight and about 6:45 a.m., he heard a deer walking.

“It’s pretty thick where I was hunting, and I could hear him about a minute or two before I could see him,” Watson said. “I kept looking over there in the direction I was hearing him, and finally spotted him. He was just walking through the woods by himself feeding on privet hedge. It’s natural browse that stays green all through the winter and there’s a lot of it down in that area.

“I finally made him out to be a deer when he was about 100 yards away. I started studying him through my binoculars and first I noticed the antlers and then I saw the drop tine.”

Watson became excited, but then made a wise decision.

“I quit thinking and looking at the antlers and did my best not to focus on it,” he said. “He was steadily walking in my direction, mostly with his head down feeding on the privet hedge.”

The buck kept coming, Watson said, and coming, and coming...

“He moved into an opening and I shot him about 15 yards from my tree,” he said. “I was using a .270 short mag I had won in a drawing about seven years ago. He went straight to the ground.”

So just how much did the drop tine matter?

“To say I was excited would be an understatement,” Watson said. “I had to stay in the stand 15 minutes after shooting the deer to calm myself before climbing down in the stand.”

*Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.