Yet one more reason Ohio deer hunters should forsake trick-or-treatery for a sit in a deer stand.
While tilling a 5-acre cornfield in the spring of 2015, Brian Moore spotted his young neighbor approaching. As the boy drew closer, Brian realized he was carrying a deer antler.
Brian stopped the tractor to admire the shed antler, which his neighbor had found in his back yard. It was impressive, very likely half of what might’ve been a 160-inch rack.
He offered to purchase the antler, but the boy chose to keep it, since it was his first find. Brian looked for the other side, but didn’t find it. As far as he could tell, the wearer of his neighbor’s shed had never passed in front of his trail cameras.
He might’ve gotten his first look at the deer the following summer.
“My food plots were in and doing very well. I had the cornfield, several acres of buck forage oats and a big alfalfa field back toward the woods,” Brian said. “Everything was growing well and didn’t need my attention, which was a good thing because I was very busy with work that summer. I had also decided to run for the school board.
“There wasn’t much time to even check my trail cameras,” he added.
One evening in late June, Brian came home while there was still considerable daylight remaining. He told his wife he was going to run down to the farm and see what was happening.
When he arrived, quite a few deer were grazing in his alfalfa.
“As I was gazing across the field, I saw movement on the crest of a small rise and suddenly saw this huge buck raise its head,” he said. “It was undoubtedly the biggest buck I had ever seen in velvet, and it still had three more months to grow!”
Brian was so busy during the summer and early fall, the calendar flip to October caught him by surprise. His first trips afield were with his 15-year-old daughter, Molly.
“We saw some nice bucks and lots of deer in general,” he said. “One evening, we saw 23 deer from a double ladder stand.”
The wind direction and weather were perfect to hunt from the double ladder on Halloween, but Brian’s daughter was more interested in attending a party.
“I never ask my wife where I should hunt, but for some reason that evening I did,” he said. “She suggested I hunt the stand overlooking the oats and cornfield, so I headed to that sycamore. My back was to a deep creek.”
After a long dead period, six or seven does and yearlings moved into the alfalfa field and began feeding. Soon afterward, an 8-pointer entered from the far end. It charged toward the does and scared them all off just as a light rain began to fall.
The wind shifted slightly as well, but it was really too late in the day for Brian to move.
“Next, I heard the stalks rustle to my left, and the noise continued until a pair of big old does exited the corn and went to the oats about 35 yards in front of me,” he said. “Does were filtering back into the alfalfa field, too.
“Suddenly, this big buck comes out of the corn about 70 yards distant. It grunted so loudly that it sounded more like a roar, louder than any I’ve heard,” he said.
The two big does ran straight to the sycamore tree where Brian was seated. The buck stopped and began to lip curl for a full two minutes.
“I couldn’t stand up because the does were directly underneath me, so I just reached for my bow so I would be somewhat ready if he came on,” Brian said.
The buck then ran through the oats, but stopped short of the alfalfa. There were two younger does in the alfalfa not 20 yards from it. They were nervous and began to circle to the buck’s left, eventually ending up in the oats right in front of Brian. The buck never chased them, but it stood testing the air from 70 yards.
“By that time, I was as nervous as can be,” Brian said. “The buck was still grunting very loudly, and I was trying to stay calm.
“When the buck started for the two young does, they moved toward me. I was so sure it would follow that I came to full draw while it was still at 70 yards.
“When the buck was at 60, I placed my orange 30-yard pin on its chest and tried to stay calm. It was neither walking nor running. More like trotting,” he added.
When the buck passed a spot Brian knew was 40 yards, he grunted to stop it. And when the animal put on the brakes, the arrow was in the air.
Brian saw his illuminated blue nock disappear into the buck, lower than he’d aimed.
“I was mortified. I wondered how I could’ve been so far off the mark,” he said. “The buck spun sharply and went up the bank to its right. It ran out to about 62 yards, stopped and staggered.
“That deer spread its back legs wider than I have ever seen any deer do, like it was trying to keep upright. And the move was working,” Brian continued. “I was watching through my binoculars, begging it to fall right there, but it continued to stand.”
The deer was clearly fighting gravity, refusing to succumb.
Desperate, Brian grabbed his rangefinder to confirm the deer was too far for a second arrow. Yep, the distance was 62 yards.
“There was nothing I could do but watch and pray for a quick ending,” he said. “At the same time, I was second-guessing the shot, hoping I’d at least hit the liver.
“The buck finally turned slightly, and I could see his off (the exit) side for the first time,” he continued. “I saw blood flowing from the wound, possibly from a double-lung hit. I couldn’t understand how it was still standing.”
Brian watched the deer until darkness fell. At one point, he lowered his binoculars to rub his strained eyes, and the deer was gone when he looked through them again.
“I called my wife first, to assure her I was safe and had stuck a really big buck. I told her I was staying put for a while and not to worry,” he said.
“Next I texted my best friend, Bob Kidd, who was having dinner out with his wife. He wanted to come and search right then, but I told him to finish dinner, that I would call when I got back to the house.”
Brian ultimately chose to wait for morning. He collected his arrow, thanks to the glowing nock, and walked back to his truck.
The blood on the shaft helped convince him he’d find his deer.
The hours passed slowly.
“I didn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and kept my wife awake,” he said. “I was out of the house way before I could see, parked at the farm and waiting for enough light so I could take up the trail.”
Alas, Brian didn’t find it that morning.
His good friend, Donavan Workman, and Donavan’s son Gavin resumed the search that afternoon, beginning before Brian arrived. Since the rain had washed away any trace of blood, father and son simply separated and walked the property.
“I had just pulled to the edge of the field when my phone rang. It was Donavan. He said he’d found my deer,” Brian said. “I thought he was kidding, but he seemed sincere, so I asked him how big it was. What he said … you can’t print.
“I knew he had it then,” Brian laughed. “I asked him where he was, and he told me he was so close that he could hear me talking. He then hollered at me, and I joined them. The deer had plowed into some briars and honeysuckle 50 yards from where we’d stopped that morning.”
Brian reminded his daughter that she could’ve easily made the shot and taken that deer, if she’d been there.
“Her only response was, ‘Nope. The right person killed that deer!’” he said.
“Yes, I do a lot of things right, such as passing up small bucks and letting them mature,” he continued. “I play the wind, and keep the area clean. My killing this deer, however, was not only due to my efforts. God blessed me with a very rare situation, and he deserves the credit.”
Editor’s Note: Ed Waite is a master scorer and regional director for Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records. A longtime contributor to Rack magazine, he has also published three volumes of big deer tales, “Wallhangers” I, II and III, which are available at book stores, on Amazon and through WallhangersUSA.com.
This article was published in the Winter 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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