posted on March 12, 2012 06:36
By Mike Handley
Deer hunters with unfilled tags and two days left to fill them aren't especially eager to see the great state of Kansas in their rearview mirrors. But when Jay Hickey realized southwest Arkansas was about to be hit by a rare southerly breeze, he couldn't click his heels and head home fast enough.
Not even the allure of a beefy and heavy antlered Kansas buck could keep his mind off a whitetail roaming his own ground, a deer so unique and big that he'd sworn the few people who knew about it to secrecy. He'd devoted 27 outings to that whitetail, and he thought a south wind might just be his ticket to the dance.
Jay's first glimpse of the extraordinary buck was via trail-camera photograph in November 2010. He hunted it diligently, but he never saw the mostly nocturnal animal on the hoof.
He continued his quest with both bow and muzzleloader in 2011, right up until the day he left to hunt the rut with an outfitter friend in Kansas.
The long drive home early that morning had given Jay heavy eyelids, but they snapped open when a doe exited the thicket he was watching, mainly because a much bigger deer was about 20 yards behind her.
It took some bleating to lure the doe close and a loud "MAAAHHH" to stop the buck before the brambles swallowed it, but Jay finally saw the Holy Grail in his crosshairs on the 28th day.
He, his brother Jimmy and a dear friend, Dr. Brian Bowen, recovered it the following morning.
Dates to Remember
March 16-18: Check out Circle M Auctions' 11th Annual Whitetail Classic Sport Show and Antler Auction in Dubuque, Iowa's Grand River Center. The show attracts truckloads of antlers and serious collectors.