It was a typical November morning in my taxidermy shop in Waveland, Ind. Friends were arriving to drain the coffee pot, and I was putting the finishing touches on a deer mount when the telephone rang.
I washed the muck off my hands, picked up the receiver and a very excited voice greeted me.
“Hello, Ed, how’s your morning?” I asked.
“They got the big buck!” he blurted, pleasantries forgotten.
I knew exactly what deer he was talking about. It had to be the drop-tined buck that was the buzz around Parke County. The enormous whitetail had mugged for several trail cameras since August.
Ed said the buck would be at Pearson’s, the local sporting goods store, and everyone in my shop hurried over there. When we arrived, a group of people were already surrounding a truck, their excited murmuring filling the air.
We added to the chorus of wows when we saw the magnificent deer in the truck’s bed. It had been a fighter and a lover from the looks of its injuries and weight loss due to the hard rut. And the rack was breathtaking: wide, thick and equipped with an almost 9-inch kickstand.
I looked around for the man of the hour, and it didn’t take long to pick out Ron Martin, the happiest guy in the crowd. I congratulated him and asked a few vague questions, including who was going to mount his trophy. He was more than happy to let me do it!
I followed Ron to his house in Rockville to get the cape. While I was there, I decided to ask for the details of his adventure.
Ron almost didn’t go hunting on Nov. 28. He was running late; had been hunting every day, morning and evening, during the gun season; and all he’d seen were does and a few 130-class bucks. Passing those up had been easy, because the veteran of 35 hunting seasons was hoping to see the drop-tined buck his trail camera had photographed numerous times in August, when the enormous rack was still encased in velvet.
He was tired and discouraged, but he also couldn’t stand the thought of not going to a stand that morning. It was 25 degrees and calm outside, and he knew deer are more apt to move when it’s cold, especially if there’s no wind.
Ron drove to his brother-in-law Eric Thompson’s property and went to Eric’s stand. It was nearing 8 a.m. when he struck out in the heavy frost.
A couple of does came in first. Ron grunted, but they ignored him and continued on their way. Soon afterward, he heard rustling and sticks breaking behind him, which he initially thought must’ve been a cow’s doing.
Nevertheless, Ron bleated like a doe; flipped his Primos can. And then he grunted a couple of times. He also stood and turned around to see what was behind him, and he nearly fell out of his tree when he spotted the familiar buck from the many summertime trail cam photos. It was at 60 yards, plenty close for his shotgun, but then it vanished.
Seven or eight minutes passed before Ron saw the deer again, this time at 30 yards. Shaking almost uncontrollably, the hyperventilating hunter had to talk himself down in order to take the broadside shot, which he executed perfectly.
Ron’s 20-pointer is No. 7 among Indiana’s shotgun-taken Irregulars. The rack is a mainframe 5x5 with 10 irregular points, and it carries both length and mass. The main beams are 29 and 292?8 inches; half the uprights range from 113?8 to 157?8 inches; and the bases exceed 6 inches.
Editor’s Note: The author and his wife, Heather, own Bells Big Bucks Taxidermy in Waveland, Ind. (bellsbigbucks.weebly.com).
Hunter: Ron Martin
Official Score: 217 1/8
Composite Score: 236 5/8
– Photos Courtesy of Ron Martin
This article was published in the Winter 2010 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.