Rack Magazine

Rip Van Winkle Shoots Modern Day Legend

Rip Van Winkle Shoots Modern Day Legend

By Ed Waite

Thirty-six-year-old Brian Peters drives a dump truck for a living, hauling asphalt out of a plant in Byesville, Ohio. During the summer, he works long hours, usually seven-day weeks.

There is little time for anything beyond work until the weather turns cold and most highway paving stops, and then he gets behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer and hauls coal, stone and slag. Still, Brian is thankful for the shorter days and less work in the fall, before the furnaces’ bellies start grumbling.

Even with the sputtering economy, there was still plenty of highway resurfacing work to keep him hauling in late 2009. But Brian wasn’t so busy that he couldn’t devote an hour or two in the evenings to sitting in a box stand on his 16 and a half acres near Caldwell, Ohio.

He had more than his usual love of deer hunting to inspire him that season. He’d seen several nice bucks on his and the adjacent coal company’s lands, including a deer with a nickname.

“Tall Boy had been seen throughout the neighborhood for three years,” Brian said. “He was a very long-tined 10-pointer. One neighbor even took a picture of him inside his fenced garden plot, in broad daylight.”

Brian lusted after that deer and decided to settle for nothing less, except maybe a doe for the freezer.

He wasn’t able to hunt Monday, Nov. 15, but he was inside his box stand every evening thereafter. He saw a forkhorn on Tuesday; on Wednesday, a decent 6-pointer; and an 8-pointer on Thursday. All the bucks were interested in does. The 4x4, Brian knew, had traveled with Tall Boy earlier in the year.

The small-to-large progression of bucks from Tuesday through Thursday put an extra spring in Brian’s step as he headed to his vantage point on Friday. He even got off work earlier than usual.

“I got home by 2:30, but I was exhausted,” he said. “I almost took a nap, but I showered and made a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.

“It was probably 3:30 when I climbed the ladder and settled in for the evening,” he continued. “It was very warm.

I remember eating the sandwich, but little else because I soon fell asleep. Several times I nearly fell off the stool, but then, jarred awake, I’d sit up straight and look around some more.

“At some point, I heard noises and realized deer were close. Some does entered the clearing to feed, as usual, and I dozed off again,” he said.

When more rustling woke Brian, he glanced up and saw a big buck jump the neighbor’s fence and head into a thick stand of trees about 15 yards beyond and slightly downhill from the feeding does.

Rip Van Winkle Shoots Modern Day Legend“I didn’t get a good look at it,” he said. “I just knew it was a shooter buck, for sure. It raised its head and curled its lip, obviously checking to see if any of the does were hot. About all I could see at that point was the front of its head, some of the antlers and its backside.

“I had already made the decision to take any shot it presented, so I shouldered my crossbow,” Brian continued.

“The buck eventually turned back toward the fence. As soon as I had a clear lane at about 32 yards, I squeezed the trigger.”

The deer bucked in response, and then it fled.

“It ran off pretty quickly, making lots of noise, and was soon out of sight … but still making lots of noise,” Brian said. “And then, suddenly, everything was quiet. I never heard a crash.”

Brian knew he should give the buck some time, even though he’d never shot one with a crossbow. At least that’s what he’d heard and read. He also wanted to put his hands on it before dark, which was fast approaching.

Good sense won out, though, and he went home to stew in his own juices.

“I called my good friend and neighbor, Duane, to see if he and his wife could come over to help me track the deer,” Brian said. “While I was waiting for them, I decided to feed my horses and get that chore done for the evening, as I expected there was a long night ahead.

“When my neighbors arrived, we headed back into my woods to take up the trail. From the box stand, I went straight to the point of impact. We searched by flashlight for blood and my arrow, and we found both. The bolt was covered in blood, and there was a pretty good trail.

“I measured the distance back to the stand at 32 yards, about what I’d figured before I made the shot. We followed the drops right to the buck. For the record and my own curiosity, I later stepped it off at 83 yards from impact to where the deer fell.

“As soon as our flashlight beams illuminated the rack, there was no doubt that I’d shot Tall Boy. I fell to my knees and lifted the head to count and recount the points.”

At a casual glance, the buck is a 10-pointer — a clean and very impressive 5x5. But each antler also has a sixth scoreable point at the burr. The extra 2 3/8 inches of irregularity nudge the rack into the typical category, where it’s No. 7 among crossbow-taken entries.

“I was awestruck,” Brian said.
“My neighbor took cell phone photos and sent them to just about everyone on his contacts list as well to some of my friends. Afterward, we started dragging,” he added.

By the time they arrived at Brian’s house, less than 700 yards from where they started, several cars were already parked in the driveway. Many more gawkers followed, even as late as 11 p.m.

“After everybody left, we took Tall Boy down to hang in my neighbor’s garage. More people dropped by to see it there, too,” Brian said. “I don’t know how late it was when I finally got home, but even though I had been tired all day, I had trouble falling asleep.”

Hunter: Brian G. Peters
BTR Official Score: 174 7/8
BTR Composite Score: 194 1/8

This article was published in the October 2011 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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