Buckmasters Magazine

Tennessee Prize

Tennessee Prize

By Ron Shannon

Persistence pays off with a double-beamed Volunteer State buck.

My first day to hunt in 2007 was Sept. 22. It was hot in Fayette County, Tenn., that day. The mosquitoes were bad, and deer weren’t moving — miserable bowhunting conditions.

Things got a little better on Sept. 27. After harvesting a doe, I remained in place to see if more deer would come by my stand — four bucks did, and one caught my eye because its rack was tall and wide. That’s all I could make out because of the thick cover.

Three weeks later, I was on another bowhunt on a very windy and rainy afternoon. At 6:15, I saw four bucks standing in the field about 175 yards distant. The biggest had a wide, chocolate-colored rack with an extra beam on one side. I said to myself, “That’s the same deer I saw a few weeks ago.” I didn’t leave until I watched it go back into the woods.

Muzzleloader season opened on Nov. 3, and I headed to the woods where I had seen the big buck earlier. I didn’t see the double-beamed buck I was hoping for. I think the pressure from other hunters might have spooked him out of his bedding area. On several occasions, I heard hunters in the woods, talking, riding their four-wheelers and shooting.

I got a little frustrated near the end of the first muzzleloader season and harvested a 9-pointer that wasn’t as big as the bucks I had seen during bow season. I continued to hunt until the first muzzleloader season closed, never seeing the buck I was hunting. Bow season came back in, and I decided not to hunt.

Tennessee PrizeInstead, I moved my stand away from the noise and hunting pressure. It was a spot where I knew a mature deer would feel comfortable. After I got my stand in place, I decided I wouldn’t hunt it until the time was right.

Opening weekend of gun season, other hunters were burning powder like crazy and pushing deer to my normal hunting block. On Thanksgiving Day, the weather changed drastically, so I headed out. One of my stands didn’t produce anything for two mornings straight, and I felt it was time to try something different.

Early on Nov. 24, I got in the stand that I’d put up during the second bow season. At about 7:15 a.m., I saw a doe that looked as though she was being followed. Sure enough, THE buck was right behind her.

I made the 150-yard shot with my Ruger .280 Remington chambered with my own custom handload. The buck ran about 30 yards and crashed.

I called my buddy, Garin Swain, and told him, “I just killed a monster, and I need help! Come quick.”

This fine buck scored 153 5/8. Its live weight was 226 pounds, and a biologist estimated it to be 5 1/2 years old.

Hard work, patience and persistence paid off for me.

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This article was published in Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.

Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd