It’s her second deer, and her biggest by far
Ashley Eichwurtzle of Florence killed the second deer of her life on Dec. 21 on a hunt in Madison County.
To say it was big would be an understatement. The 11-point non-typical buck has been green-scored at more than 180 inches. It’s a bigger buck than most hunters will ever lay eyes on, much less harvest.
Eichwurtzle was sitting in a tree stand overlooking a food plot in a wooded area when she shot the buck with a Ruger .30-06 at 10 yards.
She had a bit of a history with the deer, first spotting it in a field three years ago while in the car with her husband — about the same time she started hunting.
“It was just a huge deer. And then, last season, my husband found out who owns that land, and we got permission to hunt it. We put up some cameras and we got a photo of the deer, which we named ‘The German,’ on the last day of the season,” she said.
The couple put its cameras back up this season and started getting photos of The German on Nov. 14. He continued showing up on one particular camera, but all the photos were at night.
“He had a scrape that he was coming to check. We had a camera monitoring that scrape, and The German showed up almost every night,” she said. “The only daytime photo we had of him was from last season, on Jan. 30.”
On Dec. 21, Eichwurtzle’s husband was working, and the weather forecast was calling for rain. She decided she wasn’t going to hunt, but her husband and father-in-law talked her into it.
“I didn’t really want to go because of him working, and rain was supposed to come in,” she said. “But he told me it was the peak rutting season. Then, my father-in-law called saying he wanted to go. So I went.”
After settling into her tree stand around 3:30 p.m., Eichwurtzle saw a spike buck walking straight into the food plot. Even though she had no intentions of shooting this deer, she said it got her adrenaline flowing.
“I always get excited when I see deer,” she said. “The spike walked on through the food plot, then into the woods. But I kept hearing noises and thought it was the spike.”
Eichwurtzle finally gets a look at the big buck
But when she finally saw the source of the noise, it was The German.
“I just couldn’t believe it was him,” she said. “He wasn’t checking that scrape. I think he was just looking into the field to see if any does were there. He eased just his nose out of the woods. He was so close to me, I thought for sure he was going to hear me.”
Eichwurtzle is right-handed, and the buck was on the right side of her stand. To get a clean shot off, she had to turn her whole body, along with her rifle, without spooking the deer. The deer did not appear bothered by her movement, but it began slowly making its way back into the woods.
“I got my rifle on him and pulled the trigger. He took off running, but I heard him crash almost immediately,” she said. “He ran about 15 or 20 yards and his horns got stuck in a tree.”
Surprised that she’d even seen the big buck, she was astonished when she saw it up close.
“My heart was just pounding. I just couldn’t believe it. He was something to see on trail cameras, but up close, it was really just unbelievable. It’s a great buck!” she said.