Whittington’s 136 6/8-inch buck is his biggest with a bow
Troyce Luke Whittington couldn’t believe what he was seeing from his Hinds County deer stand on Oct. 22, but he knew he didn’t want to mess up the situation — again.
He was looking at the buck of his dreams, one he never thought he’d see again in a hunting situation, not after how he missed out on a chance to take the same trophy deer nearly two weeks earlier.
“Twelve days before, I had located the big buck I wanted to kill,” said Whittington, 25, of Byram. “He came in at 4 o’clock and was acting really spooky because a 6-point had already busted me. I knew he was fixing to run off and I was thinking I’d never see him again.
“So, I took a risky shot, and I shot right under his belly. I was sick. I felt like I was going to throw up.”
The hunter trudged out of the stand, left camp and decided to let the area and its white-tailed inhabitants rest. Whittington gave it 12 days, which takes us back to Oct. 22.
“I walked in that day to check my (trail cameras) and saw I had a few big bucks coming through the day before,” he said. “I wasn’t even planning to hunt but once I saw the pics, I rushed home, got ready and was back in the stand at 3:57 p.m.”
Just on time
Whittington had an hour wait before things began happening in the hardwood bottom, but it got off to a promising start. The first buck in was an 18-inch 8-point, big enough to get the hunter’s full attention, and challenge his nerves.
“I got settled in and was still looking at the trail pictures on my phone,” he said. “I knew what time they had come in (just before 5 p.m.) the day before so I actually stood up and was ready. The big 8-point came in and stood in one spot and my heart was beating so fast and so hard it felt like it was hitting the tree behind me, being that I’ve never killed a good one with my bow. I was definitely planning to smoke that one, until …
“I looked up and saw my big buck, the one I was after, coming in from the left side,” Whittington said. “I couldn’t believe it. I waited until he came walking in, but he wouldn’t turn broadside.”
Causing him more anxiety was what he saw walking in with the big buck — the same 6-point that had busted him and messed up the hunt 12 days earlier.
“It was that same 6-point and he was coming around behind me, fixing to wind me,” Whittington said, adding that he didn’t want to suffer through the same scenario, like a bad case of déjà vu. “I decided to take a shot that I knew would kill the buck, but would make it hard to find. He was feeding, head down, facing me. My shot was down between the shoulders.
“I drew my bow and took the shot as he was standing still facing me. When he started running I could see about five inches of arrow sticking out. I knew I had smoked him and the other bucks ran about 50 yards out and stopped. I’m pretty sure they saw me do my happy dance.”
At that point, Whittington, said, “I was freaking out and started calling everyone about it. I shot at 5:20, climbed down at 5:40 and went home and waited on the (blood-trailing) dogs. They got there at 7:30.”
The search begins
This story simply can’t end without more consternation for Whittington.
“We went and looked and couldn’t find anything,” he said. “I was fixing to cry. Seriously. The first dog that came had just been (undergone an unpleasant — even for a male to type — medical procedure) and he wasn’t able to do right.
“We gave it a little while longer and called another friend with two dogs, and he came and turned them out. They found the buck in 15 minutes. Hadn’t gone 75 yards from where I had shot him. We had been walking all around him with the first dog.”
The shot was excellent, given the angle. The arrow missed the spine but tore up a lung.
To say Whittington was happy is an understatement. His previous biggest buck with a bow had come at age 14 and was what he called a basket 8-point.
“Once we found this one, I had to back off and cry, I was so relieved,” he said.
“He has this one point, almost like a third main beam, growing right out of his right base,” Whittington said. “He has a nice sticker point off his right G2, which turns in across his head, which is similar to his left G2 that turns right and points back across his head.”
The buck also exhibits some palmation, mostly on the right main beam, where there seems to be something odd going on.
“I am proud of this buck,” Whittington said. “I can’t put it into words what it has meant to me.”