Chris Talbot used to rack his brain whenever he saw ripples on his duck pond. He always attributed the surface disturbance to deer, even though, try as he might, he never actually saw them.
He now believes otherwise.
Chris was deer hunting on the evening of Oct. 15, 2017, when he finally realized an otter was responsible for the tiny little wake. But he didn’t know what he was seeing, at first.
“I thought, What in the world is that?” he said. “We have otters around here, but they’re pretty rare. They’re so rare, I videotaped it with my phone to have proof, though the quality wasn’t very good.”
Fifteen minutes after solving the eye-straining riddle, the 32-year-old federal employee from McAlester, Oklahoma, began exchanging text messages with his wife, Allie, and her grandfather.
Chris and Allie live on his grandparents’ ranch, and he was hunting about 600 yards from his front door.
It was 60 degrees when he walked out of the house at 1:15, and he was atop a 16-foot-tall ladder stand by 1:30. The stand faces a natural funnel beside a duck pond to the northwest.
He’d been there for four and a half hours when he saw the otter. After sharing the news, Allie’s grandfather changed the subject.
“Grandpa told me ‘I know your deer’s going to come in tonight,’” Chris said. “Not five minutes later, I looked up and saw Shag Nasty, the name my friend Jason gave the buck, 40 yards in front of me.
“I got buck fever, to be honest. It was hard to breathe,” he continued. “I knew I was in trouble, so I only looked at him out of the corner of my eye.
“I just knew I was busted. The deer was looking right at me, I thought. But it really wasn’t; it was looking at a branch. It had no clue I was there.”
Chris never bothered to stand. He was completely calm when he drew his bow a couple of minutes after seeing the whitetail that stole his breath. As soon as the deer came to within 20 yards, his Mathews hummed.
The deer’s BTR score is 189 7/8 inches.
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