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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


By Mike Handley

Tom RossHis confidence buoyed by floodwaters pushing deer onto his side of the levee and the discovery of several great sheds in the little 40-acre pasture he hunts, Tom Ross decided to push all his chips to the center of deer hunting’s poker table in 2010.

He’s never walked the 560 yards from his front door to his ladder stand more often than he did last year, starting with the opening of Arkansas’ bow season and ending on the rainy day he almost folded his cards.

“I found 11 sheds in that little field the previous spring,” Tom said. “Several were impressive, but one antler was really outstanding.”

To sweeten the pot, the nearby White and Mississippi rivers flooded that fall, and Tom knew his chances at a decent buck -- maybe even the former wearer of that big shed -- would never be better.

“I hunted hard during bow season, when the floodwaters were at their peak,” he said. “I went 16 days straight and saw plenty of deer, including this buck, but it was too far.”

When the gun season opened, Tom kept hunting from his bow setup, at least whenever the wind allowed. But the big buck he’d seen early never showed.

After a week of hunting every day, Tom was growing tired of the game.

“I’d burnt my entire season waiting on that buck,” he said. “I was ready to sell my guns and quit. I had nothing to show for a whole lot of work.”

Tom saw the rain on Nov. 23 as the perfect reason to stay indoors and take a break from babysitting his neighbor’s little pasture. But he couldn’t do it.

“I was in the stand at daylight, despite the rain,” he said. “It finally quit about 9:00, and I decided to give the hunt another hour, to give the buck one last chance. If it didn’t show, the guns were up for sale.”

Before those 60 minutes elapsed, he happened to glance down and saw the deer at an easy 75 yards. When he walked up on it several minutes later, he was so shaken by its size that he vomited.

At the most recent Arkansas Big Buck Classic, it placed sixth overall. It was also the largest Arkansas buck registered at Simmons Sporting Goods’ Big Buck Contest in Bastrop, La., where Tom’s name was eventually drawn for a $10,000 shopping spree.

At 173 4/8 inches (the composite score is 194 6/8), the Monroe County 14-pointer is No. 4 among Arkansas Typicals in the BTR’s centerfire rifle category. The rest of the story, written by Jill Easton, will appear in RACK magazine.

Jimmy Riley Jeff Weber BTR J.D. Harmon

Post Rating


# Tom
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 11:51 AM
Wow - great story and lesson, being to stick it out and good things happen. Great job on a super Buck !!
Brian Landreth
# Brian Landreth
Thursday, November 10, 2011 10:58 AM
That is a tremendous deer! I have seen it and the pictures don't do it justice. If anybody ever deserved to to kill this buck it was Tom. Year after year he has given honest congratulations to everyone that killed a nice deer. He went several years without finding a good buck. But he was always genuine in his praise when someone would get a nice deer. I am glad he finally got the buck of a lifetime. He also demonstrated to the neighbors that letting the little bucks go will pay off. Good job Tom!!
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Friday, July 13, 2012 2:44 AM
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# Jake
Sunday, August 26, 2012 9:53 AM
I'll never forget my first deer. It was the second day of rifle season I had woke up really tired after I fell out of bed during the night. I hadn't had much sleep as me and my dad drove our truck to our blind. When we got there I got in the blind and sat down while my dad went off to throw some bait. When he came back we got settled and sat about 15 minutes. That's when my lack of sleep set in I just had to sleep but when I tried I was to cold. So I layed on the ground curled up with the heater. Shortly after I fell asleep my dad shook me awake saying he just saw movement about 300 yards off so I sat up and looked around contently I took out my call and bleated twice then about 150 yards off I see a deer step out I put up my gun right away and see horns I then told my dad it's a buck. I watched him until he came in the bait about 80 yards off that's when I squeezed the trigger on my .270. We saw him run but not drop so we went to track him there wasn't much blood walking to him but that's because there was no exit wound. The deer ended up being a 6 pointer weighing 150 pounds. I shot him at age 11 and I ended up winning buck pool champ at my camp and I also won cribbage champ!!!

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