Photo: More than 41 inches of this Ohio buck’s impressive tally are between the burrs and the mirrored brow tines. Tyler’s dad, Steve (left), will be the taxidermist behind a full-body mount.
A missed opportunity at a big buck can sometimes be a good thing.
Just ask 18-year-old Tyler Bashlor.
Tyler is attending South Georgia College, where he juggles classes and baseball. His grandparents live in Belmont County, Ohio, where the family gathers each year for Thanksgiving.
As much as Tyler and his dad, Steve, may salivate in anticipation of the Thanksgiving turkey, there’s another tradition that excites them more: the pre-season check of the trail camera.
“My dad went up a few days early in 2011, but he didn’t check the camera until I got there,” Tyler said. “There weren’t a lot of really good pictures, but there were three big 10-pointers among them.
“There was another buck that seemed to have a lot of mass, too, and I was amazed by it,” he added. “But with the angle of the pictures, it was hard to tell exactly how many points were there. In one shot, the buck was sideways with its head lowered. It was walking straight away in the other, but its head was down in that one as well.”
Although the photographs didn’t reveal the buck’s entire rack, they showed enough to captivate Tyler. Even though he hadn’t been bowhunting for long — and his only bow buck had been a 4-pointer back in Georgia — he hoped for a chance at the strange buck. (He’d also taken a Georgia 11-pointer with a rifle.)
“My dad starting taking me hunting as soon as I was old enough to go,” Tyler said. “All he does is bowhunt, and he was the reason I got into archery.”
Tyler saw one of the 10-pointers from the trail camera pictures during his first morning in a stand hung by his father. It was gliding through a thicket, and Tyler looked for a window through which he might thread an arrow.
He found such a hole — not much, but big enough — AFTER the deer vanished. If only he could rewind and replay that scene!
That’s why he returned to the stand, where he passed up several 130-class deer and numerous does.
“On Nov. 23, the day I killed the big one, it was the only deer I saw,” Tyler recalled. “I spotted it walking across a field about 250 yards away, and I first thought there was a tree behind it.”
The buck’s body and rack were gigantic.
“I stood up to get ready, just in case, and my knees were knocking,” he continued. “When the deer left the field and entered the woods, I lost sight of it. But I knew it was headed my way. Then, all of the sudden, it was only 25 yards from me!”
The buck was following the same trail the big 10-pointer had taken during Tyler’s first day in that stand. When the deer passed behind a tree, Tyler drew his Mathews Z-7.
The buck heard him.
“There it was … at 12 yards, looking right up at me,” he said. “I might’ve held my bow back for about five seconds, but it felt like it was all day.
“When the deer finally looked away and took a step, that was all I needed. It was right in the hole, and I shot. The buck ran out and stopped at 40 yards, leaving me wondering what had happened.”
The buck appeared calm. It looked in every direction before trotting off, by the looks of it unhurt.
“I couldn’t believe it. I thought for sure I’d missed,” Tyler said. “I was so upset.”
He called his dad, and the longtime bowhunter told him to stay put until he arrived. A few minutes later, however, Tyler spotted his arrow.
“I thought I could see blood,” he said. “My dad had told me to stay in the stand, but I couldn’t take it. I had to get down and look. When I reached the arrow, I found the start of a good blood trail.
“I called my dad again to let him know the blood trail was good,” Tyler said. “He was glad to hear that. Soon, he was there with a friend of ours, Hunter Davis, to take up the trail.
“When we found my buck, we were all just speechless. It looked like a baby elk lying there,” he added. “And his rack was so big, so much bigger than what I thought it was — on the trail pictures and even when I saw it coming across the field. I didn’t realize the size of the rack until we were all there and actually putting our hands on it.”
It took all three of them to drag the buck, which weighed about 265 (dressed).
Hunter: Tyler Bashlor
Official Score: 189 3/8
Composite Score: 206
— Photos courtesy of Tyler Bashlor This article was published in the October 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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