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A Buck Named Big Boy

FortneyBy Christopher Fortney

-- I was beginning to think it could never happen to me. I heard stories and saw the pictures that went with them, and I couldn’t help feeling jealous of all my friends who had taken big bucks.

I purchased a Stealth Cam trail camera and put it in a spot where I was baiting so I could figure out the right settings and get used to using it. The first couple months, I got pictures of does and a few small bucks. Even that was enough to make me excited. Then one day in early October, I brought in my card to see what I had, and there he was: Big Boy! I couldn’t believe it.

In one of the pictures, he had something wrapped around one side of his antlers. To this day I have no idea what it was, but the photos got my attention. My heart began to pound as I felt a rush of excitement mingled with the fear of not getting him. One thing was certain: I was motivated.

I kept a close eye on the area, and the buck disappeared for about three weeks. I was heartbroken. I thought something had happened to him. Much to my surprise, he showed back up, this time without the stuff around his antlers.

FortneyI started hunting him the first day of bow season and never let up. I didn’t see Big Boy, but I didn’t give up, either. On Sat., Nov. 26, I got up well before dawn and headed to my stand. I saw a few does but no bucks. I sat there until about noon and decided to get down for a bite to eat. I got back in the stand at about 4 that afternoon.

Then, at about 5:45, Big Boy came running in to my setup with a small 4-pointer. My heart was pounding so hard that I was sure everything in the woods for a mile around would hear it. I found that holding my breath was better than breathing so loud. I had the shakes like I have never had in my life and thought I was going to drop my bow as I searched for an opening through which to shoot.

Finally, I got the bow ready and pulled back. Big Boy looked my way, and I thought I was busted for sure. I held my breath, and I think my heart stopped for the brief few seconds that seemed like forever. Finally, the buck put his head back down and I found my 30 yard pin and touched the release. The arrow looked like it went right under him!

FortneyThe disappointment brought tears to my eyes, and I sat there for a long while, kicking myself for blowing my chance. I climbed out of the stand, weak knees and all, and drug my feet on the way to get the arrow. I picked it up, and saw that blood coated the fletching. That weak-knee, heart-pounding rush hit me again, but this time three times harder!

I knew not to get excited and push the buck, so I went home to tell my fiance. I don’t know who was more pumped up, me, Jessica, or my girls. We had all been watching the photos and praying I would get Big Boy. After we calmed down and talked, we decided to wait until morning to begin tracking. Of course, we didn’t sleep at all. Break of dawn, we were on the hunt.

FortneyTracking was slow at first, but the spots of blood became pools. We had only gone about 40 yards before Jessica said, "Hey, look ahead of you!" There was Big Boy. I dropped to my knees and am not ashamed to say that tears came to my eyes. I rubbed the antlers and fur like it was a child that had been lost for a long time. We went home and took photographs before going to check him in. Then it was my turn to do some story telling.

Big Boy is in the process of being mounted right now. The rack has eight points and was only 15 inches wide, but he is a monster to me. The biggest joy I got out of the whole thing was seeing the excitement in my family. I never realized how much they wished this for me until then. I am truly blessed and want to thank your show as well for all of the tips you give us. You help hunters out more than you know.

Christopher Fortney
Elkins, W.V.

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