Buck's path dictated which brother would smoke Ohio giant.
Throughout Ohio's 2009 archery season, Scott Doles made the 35-plus-mile trip to the family farm at least three times a week. He could hunt his place, the neighboring tract owned by the father of his best friend, Ryan, and a third piece of ground — totaling about 600 acres. Two-thirds of the land was farmed, the rest either wooded or in CRP.
By the end of November, all he had to show for his efforts was a (freezer) doe.
On Nov. 30, opening day of the gun season, Scott took his 17-year-old brother, Kenny, with him to the neighboring farm. Early that morning, Kenny missed a doe. After receiving his brother's text message, Scott got down from his perch to help make sure it had been a clean miss. After they were satisfied, they decided to see if they could kick up some deer.
"We went up over the ridge, down into the next bottom and jumped two bucks," Scott said. "One was pretty small, but the other was a nice one. They were too far, so we sat and hoped they'd circle back. I tried grunting and rattling, but nothing happened."
Between 9:30 and 10:00, the boys decided to call it quits and head in for breakfast.
"By early afternoon, we were ready to head back out," Scott said. "I called Ryan to see where he was going to hunt, and then Kenny and I decided we'd just walk in and maybe find a good spot to sit on the ground. It was getting too windy to sit in a tree."
The Doles brothers returned to the woods about 2:30, this time to a section where the timber had recently been cut. Large brush piles and treetops were lying everywhere, making navigation difficult.
"We found a spot that looked good and decided to sit together, facing different directions," Scott said. "Kenny was using a 12 gauge, and I was using a muzzleloader. I told him that if a doe came in at long range, we could change guns so he could get a shot.
"We got into this brush pile and kind of laid back into the limbs. I rattled a little and did some grunting to see if we could get something to come in, but all we saw were about a dozen squirrels," he continued.
"I was getting kind of cold, so I sat back a little farther to get out of the wind. I tried some more rattling around 4:00 and added some grunts, but still nothing was happening that we could see. We sat there watching for another 15 minutes, and then I heard Kenny whispering that he saw a deer coming across the ridge behind us, and it looked like it was coming my way.
"He swore it was a deer, but I couldn't see anything," Scott admitted. "I told Kenny just to keep an eye out and let me know what was happening.
"Probably another five minutes went by, and then Kenny whispered that it was a big buck and it WAS coming to my side. I still couldn't see it because of the brush, but at least I could hear it coming. I spun around and raised my gun.
"The minute I saw it creeping through the brush, I knew it was a shooter," he said. "I hoped it would pass through one of two openings. In no time, it was about 15 yards from me, about to step into a shooting lane.
"I was trying to change the magnification on my scope so I could get a better sight on the buck, but before I could get it adjusted down, the buck started walking again. It walked into my opening at only 12 yards, and I didn't have any more time to think about it.
"I tried to grunt to stop it, but it kept walking. I held the crosshairs about three or four inches low on its chest and pulled the trigger. I couldn't see anything through the smoke afterward except Kenny, and he was staring wide-eyed at me.
"He said it was down, but I didn't believe him, at first, because I couldn't see it. I spun around, grabbed my kit and reloaded the gun as quickly as I could. By the time I was ready, I finally saw the deer lying on the ground amidst branches.
"I still didn't know what I had shot. I thought it might've been a 10-pointer. We snuck up to it from the side, and I finished the job.
"We waited a few more minutes before walking up and taking our first good look at it," Scott added. "When we saw that rack up close, I called Ryan.
"He didn't believe me. I had to take a picture of the deer with my cell phone and send it to him. I also sent it to his dad. After that, Kenny and I got down on our knees and counted the points. We first came up with 16, but we revised it to 15. One was too small to count," he said.
The brothers decided not to try dragging it. They went to the farm to retrieve a four-wheeler. And when they got back, Ryan was there. He'd driven his truck right into the woods and up to where the deer was lying.
The three of them loaded the buck on Ryan's truck for the ride to his farm right over the hill. Scott and Kenny went back to their farm to trade ATV for truck.
"We sat there gawking and talking about that buck for a long time," Scott said. "We eventually called some friends and dressed it before taking it to the check station."
Official Score: 177 4/8
Composite Score: 196 68
– Photos Courtesy of Scott Doles
This article was published in the Winter 2010 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.