Awesome buck gives new meaning to the Eastern Shore’s scenic nickname.
I’ve been an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Now in my 50s with a full-time job, I don’t have as much time afield as I would like. When I do get the opportunity to hunt, I try to make the most of the experience.
Through the years, I have taken several bucks between 130 and 150 inches, but my goal has always been to tag a more mature buck scoring over 150.
My story begins in a small 10-acre woodlot located on Love Point Road on Kent Island, a small island in the Chesapeake Bay situated on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore.
I began hunting on the property in 2007 and saw plenty of deer, but no shooter bucks. In the fall of 2008, my friend Robby Doran purchased a house on the edge of the property, and we began to hunt together.
We put out trail cameras to see what was there and to monitor deer movement. Except for a young buck with a tall P2s, we didn’t see anything special.
In the fall of 2009, our photographs revealed much of the same, except the P2 buck had grown tremendously both in body size and rack. His mass and tine length had increased greatly, and we could tell he was something special.
We had a few encounters with the buck, but neither us fired a shot. When spring finally came, Robby and I were anxious to see if the buck made it through the harsh winter, which included three record snowstorms.
Heartbreak best describes the feeling when the Sept. 15 opener of Maryland’s deer season arrived with no sightings of the big buck.
The corn was picked in that area at the end of September, and calls from friends began to flood in. “Hey, did you see that big buck on Love Point yet?” Each call was like a punch in the gut.
“No, we haven’t seen him,” I would say. “I don’t think he made it through the winter.”
With three weeks remaining until the 2010 early muzzleloader season, I still held a glimmer of hope. The season was set for Oct. 21-23, and I had scheduled some time off.
Thursday, Oct. 21 was quiet, and the deer weren’t moving much. However, in the last few minutes of shooting light, the wind swirled and carried my scent to an alert doe. As she headed into some thick cover, I caught a glimpse of another deer and a large set of antlers as the head they were perched on turned and disappeared. That got my blood pumping, and the image of the huge rack remained in my mind.
Although I had to work the next morning, I figured the full moon would keep deer movement down until after dark. Apparently, the buck had other ideas.
At 9 a.m., my buddy called to see if I could break away and head to the woods. When I replied that I was unable to go until the afternoon, he advised me to hurry. He said the buck had been seen making scrapes in my hunting area!
That rack was all I could think about all morning, but I remained at work, as promised. It was difficult to contain my excitement as I got back in my stand at about 1:30 that afternoon.
It was shaping up to be another quiet evening. The only deer I saw was a nervous doe that was keeping a close watch on a nearby farmer picking soybeans. When the farmer left late in the evening, the doe went on the move.
Then, at about 5:45, a deer stepped out of the brush. I thought, “Wow, that’s a large body!” When it finally turned and moved, I recognized the tall rack of the big buck.
Searching for does, he moved through the thick cover. Between the fading light and the maze of branches, I was having trouble finding him in my scope.
I followed the movement, and he finally stepped into a small opening. I squeezed the trigger, and when the smoke cleared, all I could see was more branches.
Shaking and attempting to reload the gun, I got down from the stand and headed toward the little opening. When I had gone about 90 yards, I saw the beautiful sight of a brilliant-white belly. I ran up and immediately knew it was the tall P2 buck.
I tried to drag him, but it was too much to handle alone, so I called my friend Brandon Moore to see if he could lend a hand.
We finally got the buck back to the truck, and Robby met us to share in the excitement and take some pictures.
He ended up scoring 185 6/8 inches, and the incredible P2s were both over 14 inches long.
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