On Oct. 23, 14-year-old Addison Yates killed a 140-inch 8-point with a crossbow, which, with her dad Jeremy talking her through the experience, makes for an interesting story.
Learning that Jeremy Yates had a history with the Hinds County buck — and how he found that out — makes it extraordinary.
“The last thing I would want to do is take anything away from Addison killing this big buck, but I think there’s something interesting I need to tell you about it,” Jeremy Yates said in an interview, after describing his daughter’s successful hunt. “I think it’s interesting, and you might, too.”
At the skinning shed, Jeremy quickly discovered something he’d seen before. It was part of an arrow, his arrow.
“I was cleaning it and had just started to remove the backstraps when my knife hit something,” he said. “It felt like it was metal, and I hit something where nothing is supposed to be.
“I went on and pulled that first strap, tossed in the ice chest and turned back and found what I had hit. It was a piece of metal. I dug through the pocket that had formed around it, and pulled out a 4- or 5-inch piece.”
What he saw, and read, stunned him.
“I scraped it back and saw the markings of an Easton ACC arrow, which is the arrow I use,” Jeremy Yates said. “I’m the only one around here who hunts here that I know uses it. That was part of the shaft of my arrow.”
“Yeah, what I haven’t told you is that I shot that buck last year with my bow, about 400 yards from where she shot him,” he said. “I shot him high, hitting at the back of the shoulder through the back straps. The blades went through the vertebrae but missed the spinal cord. He survived.”
Are you sure?
“Yeah, when I was blood trailing the buck, I found both the front end (bladed) and back end (fletching) of my arrow, an Easton ACC, but I never thought to put the two ends together and see if anything was missing,” he said. “That was the middle of my arrow. No doubt about it.
“Thing is, when I shot that buck, it didn’t look anything like he did this year. He had much smaller antlers; I bet he added 25 to 30 inches, and that’s after I shot him. I didn’t recognize him.”
The buck showed no indications of injury a year later, not when Jeremy Yates saw him on Oct. 15 and when his daughter shot him eight days later.
“The week before Addison got him, I had that buck at 40 yards,” he said. “I was hunting with my bow and I couldn’t get a shot.”
Actually, Jeremy Yates had picked out another buck for Addison, and was planning on getting the big 8 himself.
“We were hunting this 30-yard by 50-yard food plot, maybe half an acre, that I had cleared this summer,” he said. “We had two bucks (on cams) in that area, two 8s that are probably 10 inches apart. I had the other one picked out for her because he was using that food plot a lot more than the other.
“But when the bigger one showed up, it became Addison’s buck.”
And the daughter accomplished what the dad couldn’t do on two encounters with the buck. She put it down.
“Addison’s a ninth-grader at Faith Assembly in Pearl, and her mom had picked her up at school and brought her straight to where I was working over in Jackson,” said Yates, a roofer. “She was able to change into her hunting gear and we left the house I was working on and drove the 10 minutes to our small private camp.
“We jumped deer out of the food plot when we got there, and that was disappointing, like it always is. Then I didn’t like the swirling wind, and later when a doe and yearling came out, they didn’t like it either. They fed a bit but then caught our wind and ran out.”
The next deer the hunters saw was the buck, an hour later.
“We were about 15 minutes before last (legal) light and he stepped out of the cutover in the back of the field, about 50 yards away,” he said. “I recognized him. As Addison was getting ready, I was steadily talking to her. I can’t hear that well so I was doing all the talking ... I think.”
In addition to going over their possible shooting opportunities and strategies, dad was preparing daughter for the worst.
“He was slow moving; I mean real slow moving,” he said. “She took a 30-yard shot, so he only had to move 20 yards and it took him at least 10 minutes. He was staying out of range at the end of the plot and it was getting dark, fast. So I was preparing her for that disappointment.
“I was saying, ‘we might not get a shot today,’ and ‘this just might not be the day, and things like that,” Jeremy Yates said. “And, then, like you see a lot on TV, the buck just turned, started walking and came right at us. Then he stopped and turned broadside.”
Hunting with a Stryker Strikezone 350 crossbow, Addison Yates pulled the trigger and sent a bolt speeding toward the buck, and leaving little doubt about the outcome.
“He immediately went to his front knees and chest,” Jeremy Yates said. “She shot a little forward and took out both front legs. He was on his chest running with his back legs and doing what you call ‘bull-dozing’ through the field. He was kicking up a lot of dust and there was no doubt he was not going far.
“Where she hit him, you take out a lot of arteries leading from the heart and they bleed out. He did, and we found him about 80 yards away.”
The buck is a clean 8, which Jeremy Yates said was very symmetrical, with thick bases that carry mass throughout the 22-inch main beams. Just 15 ½ inches wide, the rack is very tall with 9- and 10-inch G2s and G3s.
“He was scored by Dan Heasley Taxidermy at 140 2/8 inches and they came up with only 2 inches different gross to net,” he said. “That’s big for an 8 and extremely symmetrical. It was a great buck for Addison. She was excited.”
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