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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

06

Jesse Ferree

By Mike Handley

Burning one's last vacation day and shelling out for a nonresident hunting license and deer tag are small prices to pay for a much-needed change of scenery. But when a frustrated Jesse Ferree paid that price in 2012, he got more of the same.

The Indiana hunter, weary of hearing gunshots and seeing more hunters than deer where he hunts close to home, decided to extend his weekend by spending Monday on a friend's place across the Ohio border.

Jesse had no reason to believe his chances would be any better, since he'd never hunted the property and had only one trail camera photograph of a decent buck. But he didn't think it could be any worse than he'd experienced that week in Indiana.

On Sunday, Nov. 25, he called his friend in Ohio and told him he'd be at the farm the next day. Hearing that another man would probably be hunting within 150 yards of him didn't deter Jesse.

It was still dark when he settled into his stand on Monday. At daybreak, he started looking around at the unfamiliar territory and realized there was a truck parked within 30 yards of his tree, though on the adjacent ground. Its driver had to be hunting from a ground blind he spotted about 150 yards distant.

A little while later, he saw the other orange-clad hunter his friend had mentioned, this time on his side of the boundary. While Jesse was watching the guy, two bucks ran into the set-aside they were both facing.

"I slowly raised my binoculars and started to assess them," Jesse said. "One was a big 6-pointer, probably a 3 1/2-year-old. The other buck had at least five points on one side, and the other side was a mess.

"While I was trying to get a better look at its weird rack, I practically saw a hole open up in the deer, followed by a loud boom," he added.

Jesse wound up helping the other guy find and load his buck. He also saw the hunter on the neighboring property return for his truck to load a doe and his blind.

Frustrated at his entire season to that point, Jesse almost went home. But he decided to sit there a little longer.

Less than an hour later, he shot twice at this enormous buck as it was following a doe. Three and a half hours after that, while he was on the trail of it, his shotgun barked a third time.

"That was truly the worst and best day of hunting I've ever had," Jesse said.

The buck's BTR composite score is 184 inches, and it'll be showcased in Rack magazine this fall.

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