On Nov. 22, Clayton Martin went doe hunting. Being the only member of the Leflore County club not to have killed one, he wanted one bad.
Instead, he got a 192-inch buck of a lifetime — and you aren’t going to believe how it happened.
“I hunted a stand we typically see mature deer in, an 8-acre sage/briar field with 20-year-old CRP on each side,” Martin said. “At 5 p.m., I had not seen anything, but three does came into one of the lanes. It was getting late, so I decided to take a doe. They were about 70 to 75 yards away.
“I’m not sure what happened, but I missed. I just clean missed.”
He didn’t have a lot of time to ponder his errant shot, because it turns out the miss was a good thing. He remained seated and the area quickly settled.
“The (miss was the) best thing that could have happened because when I turned to put my gun down I saw a deer coming into the field at about 70 yards,” Martin said. “It came out behind me, opposite of where I shot at the doe.”
In the rapidly darkening conditions, the hunter couldn’t tell for sure what he was seeing.
“I picked up my gun so I could take a look through the scope,” he said. “I couldn’t see anything but antler tips because his head was down until he looked directly up at me.
“I said, ‘This looks like something out of a magazine,’ so I went from the head straight to the shoulder and pulled the trigger.
“I did not have time to get nervous, which was good.”
Martin’s shot was another 70-yard opportunity with his .308 Ruger, and this time he was right on target.
The buck ran toward and then past the hunter’s stand, piling up 20 yards beyond it.
When Martin went to investigate, he couldn’t believe what he found.
“I have killed some great deer, but this is one I’m not sure I will ever beat,” he said. “It was a 12-point plus a drop tine. The taxidermist said it was 6 ½ years old.”
The 12-point main-frame rack carried an extra 5-inch drop tine. The main beams were 26 inches, and wrapped around22 inches of air at the widest inside spread.
The longest tines were a hair more than 10 inches, and one brow tine was 8 inches long. The bases were 6¼ inches that grew to 8 inches between the G2 and G3 on one side, and both sides carried at least 6 inches of mass at each allowable measure.
The estimated weight of the deer was more than 250 pounds.
“I did not realize the magnitude of that buck until later that night,” the 21-year-old Itta Bena farmer said. “Last year, on opening day, I killed a 156-inch 11-point, but this one ….”
Missing the doe wasn’t the first break Martin received in killing this buck. He got a big break the year before when his dad, Russell Martin, passed up a shot.
“My dad saw this deer Dec. 23 of 2014 but could not get a great look at him to see if a shooter or not,” the son said. “He told me the rack looked like a picket fence on one side. I hunted him but never saw him again.
“The Saturday before opening day this year one of our members found part of the left shed while planting food plots. The shed had been hit by a disk, and we only had the base up to the G2. We were not sure if it was the deer my dad saw last year, but we knew he was big with a drop tine.
“I’m glad Dad didn’t get a good look at it.”
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