posted on May 23, 2011 08:29
By Mike Handley
Only once have I seen more than three bucks hot on the trail of the same doe, and I mean kissing-each-other’s-hooves close.
I was bowhunting a tract in Mississippi that had been intensely managed for 20 years or more, when eight deer – seven bucks and one completely tuckered doe – filed past my stand.
To have a buck-to-doe ratio like that, you’d think any piece of ground would have to be managed to the hilt. And even then, you’d probably have to throw a high fence around it in order to keep your neighbors’ does off your land and your own immature bucks from leaving.
Daniel “DJ” Elder might be hard to convince. He doesn’t sound like a candidate for a high-fence hunt, and he’s probably not in the market for chain-link.
The hunter from Whitehall, Ohio, was hunting public ground in Perry County last October when a hot doe led a train of 14 bucks across the ridge he and his 13-year-old daughter, Savanna, were watching. The first 13 were beyond his crossbow’s range, but the very last and biggest one felt the bite of a broadhead.
DJ’s buck measures 172 6/8 inches as a Typical. A nearly 19-inch spread gives the rack a composite score of 191 5/8.
Shooting such a monstrous public land whitetail is reason enough to cherish that day. Seeing so many bucks – while hunting from the ground, no less – makes it even more special. But the tale doesn’t end there.
After DJ’s 15-pointer ran off to die, yet another buck came up the same ridge. That 4x4 became Savanna’s first deer.
Ed Waite’s story of the Elders’ unforgettable hunt will appear in the September issue of Rack magazine.