When Hinds County resident Jody Sistrunk arrived home from his hunting lease one particular early September evening back in 2013, he sat down at his desk intending to download and quickly review his latest pile of pre-season trail camera photos.
The photos moved across the screen at lighting speed, looking somewhat like a herky-jerky old movie, as he watched for something interesting.
Suddenly he began to frantically click backward to find a photo that seemed totally out of place. A few mouse clicks back, and there on the screen was one of the most-gnarly, freak-nasty, palmated bucks racks he had ever seen.
Sistrunk showed the photo to wildlife biologist Jim Lipe, who helps manage the acreage where he hunts. After studying the buck closely, Lipe told the hunter in no uncertain terms that, in spite of how large and unusual the buck’s rack was, he should not shoot the deer because it was a young deer and still had plenty of growth ahead of him.
The buck was thought to be 3 years old.
Letting a buck like this walk past is tough but necessary if you want to grow older-aged, large-antlered bucks on your property.
Now Sistrunk is happy Lipe made the recommendation, because the buck was seen from stands at least three times during late December 2013.
Since that initial sighting back in 2013, Sistrunk has collected several hundred trail camera photos of this particular buck, who came to be known a year later by the moniker “Drop Tine.”
The buck was now thought to be a 4-year-old, and as the 2014 season neared Drop Tine was put on the official shoot list.
And Sistrunk and Drop Tine’s collective fates became forever intertwined on the afternoon of Dec. 7.
Arriving at the hunting lease for an afternoon hunt, Sistrunk decided to go to a box stand overlooking a large food plot that is ideally situated along the bank of a small stream and surrounded by heavy bedding cover.
The hunt was almost over at about 5 p.m. when Jody happened to glance to his extreme right.
There, walking into the food plot at a distance of about 150 yards was Drop Tine.
The buck seemed perfectly relaxed, and began to nibble tender grass shoots in the edge of the field.
Grabbing his .270 rifle, Jody searched for a stable rest to take the shot. Unfortunately, the best sight picture required that Sistrunk stand and brace his shoulder against the wall of the stand. The buck was quartering toward the stand, so shot placement was going to be a little more difficult than usual.
At the shot, the buck wheeled and quickly disappeared into the brush with his tail tucked.
With dark quickly approaching, Sistrunk climbed out of the stand to look for blood sign. When he arrived at the spot where the buck hit the brush line, he heard the buck get up from a patch of tall grass and slowly amble away into the evening gloom.
Knowing that a quartering shot could have drifted a little back, Sistrunk backed out and decided to resume the search the next morning.
As it turned out, the buck traveled an additional 300 yards beyond where Sistrunk first jumped it at the edge of the field the previous evening.
But the shot proved fatal, and the hunter had his 230-pound trophy the next morning.
Drop Tine’s massive non-typical rack sported an inside spread of 20 inches, with base circumferences of 5 ½ inches.
The unusual rack rough-scored in excess of 160 inches of bone.
*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.