Monster buck tapes out at 169 1/8 Pope & Young
John White had been watching a trio of bucks during late summer on the farm on which he lives, but one of the deer stood out from the rest.
“Back in August, I was seeing him just about every other afternoon,” White said. “My wife and daughter and me would ride our four-wheeler to the field to see if he would be there, and sure enough he would show up.”
The buck was traveling with a big 10-point, an 8-point and a group of does. But the Flora hunter, along with buddy Mike Grubbs who also works the farm, were focused on the main-frame 8-pointer with stickers all over the place.
White began dreaming of bow season, and put out a trail cam to nail down exactly where the deer was entering the field.
“I’ve got a bunch of pictures of him in full velvet,” White said.
Then duty mandated that cattle be rotated from field to field and hay be cut, and the buck went nocturnal.
“I kept getting pictures in the area, but they were all at night,” White said. “They were all at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.”
That continued into the beginning of the bow season, and White and Grubbs both had stands set up in hopes of ambushing the beastly deer on the way to the field.
White was sitting his stand just inside the tree line on Oct. 9, and light was fading fast when he heard something behind the stand.
“I eased around, and there he stood,” White said.
The buck was a mere 30 yards directly behind White’s position. Even in the failing light it was obvious the buck was simply monstrous.
“I got nervous,” White laughed. “I was shaking something terrible.”
The buck was moving along a path that would take it directly under White’s tree, but the hunter was afraid he might not get a shot.
“He kept coming, but he kept looking up,” White said. “I think he was catching my scent because the wind was blowing a little bit in that direction”
And White also was having trouble pulling his bow to full draw, as adrenaline was spinning his head and giving him terrible shakes.
“Whenever he got right down below me, he was about 7 yards from my stand by the time I got the bow drawn,” the hunter said.
White quickly put a shot on the buck, and immediately began worrying despite the fact that he was using a poison pod to ensure the buck didn’t get away if his shot placement was off a bit.
“I was so nervous, I don’t remember looking through my peep site,” he chuckled.
And the strike of the arrow sounded off.
“It sounded like the arrow hit dirt,” White said.
The buck sprinted to the edge of the woods, stood for a few seconds and then sprinted off into the field.
“I thought I missed that deer,” White said. “There was a log near where the deer was standing, and I could see stick leaning up against that log that looked like my arrow.”
Ever the optimist, or perhaps out of sheer desperate hope, White sat until 7:30 p.m. before climbing out of the tree.
He was relieved to find the stick, not his arrow, leaning against the log. However, the arrow was nowhere to be found, and there wasn’t a drop of blood.
White eased to the edge of the field where the deer stopped without finding any evidence of a hit.
He called Grubbs, who had been hunting that afternoon but had already headed for home, and lamented what looked like a missed opportunity.
“I told Mike, ‘I missed this deer,’” White said. “He told me, ‘You hit that deer.’”
Grubbs, who already was nearly home, was prepared to turn around and drive an hour back to help White search.
And then White walked out of the woods into the full-moon-brightened open.
“I stepped out into the edge of the field, and there was no missing those horns sticking up,” White said.
The buck hadn’t run far, and was down for the count.
“I hit him just above the lungs,” White said. “It was a little higher than I was aiming, but again I don’t remember looking through peep.”
The buck was scored at 145 3/8 inches by Gold ’N Guns in Ridgeland for the Big Buck Bounty contest, but White said Magnolia Records keeper Rick Dillard taped it out at 169 1/8 inches gross.
The rack must score for 60 days to be officially scored.
And don’t forget about the MS-Sportsman.com Big Buck Photo Contest, which offers monthly prizes and the opportunity to win a set of Nikon Monarch binoculars at the end of the season in a random drawing from among all participants.