Ohio's No. 3 Typical by Blackpowder
By Ed B. Waite Jr.
Kenny Pickard has been very successful at using a trail cam to monitor the bucks in his area. He captured this image of an Irregular he arrowed in 2004, as well as the 2006 buck that landed the No. 3 spot in Ohio's blackpowder typical category. Photo Courtesy of: Kenny Pickard
Working second and third shifts as an aircraft mechanic, Kenny Pickard has plenty of time to indulge his passion for deer hunting. And the man from Wilmington, Ohio, did a lot of it in 2006, all because of some photographs he collected from a trail camera.
"I had eight pictures of this huge Typical, starting in August when it was in full velvet. The other seven photos all came in October, so I knew it was staying close," he said. "I had been real quiet about this buck. It was even more impressive than an almost 190-inch Irregular I arrowed back in 2004. I didn't even tell Chad, my good friend.
"I worried that if word got out, someone might try to poach it," he continued.
But one day after the bow season had opened, Chad's wife, Nickie, saw the deer and told her husband about it.
"Chad came to me and made me 'fess up," Kenny laughed. "That's when the photos came out. Chad and I have been buddies since childhood, growing up on adjacent farms. He couldn't believe that I'd kept the secret for so long."
Kenny hunted the deer passionately throughout the early bow season, but he never got close enough to it. Then, one evening, the huge buck exited the bedding area with a smaller 9-pointer in tow. The duo headed for a nearby bean field. And when they were about 75 yards out, Kenny tried rattling.
"The 9-pointer came right to the bottom of my stand, but the other one stood its ground," Kenny said. "The old buck seemed to know that it was the biggest deer in the woods and didn't have to prove it."
Kenny was back in the saddle on the first day of gun season. He heard a lot of shooting, but none of it close.
Kenny poses with his Clinton County 12-pointer (a mainframe 5x5 with a couple of stickers on the right).
Photo Courtesy of: Kenny Pickard
Before daylight the following Tuesday, Kenny was 25 feet aloft in a rickety treestand he'd built a long time ago, gripping his scoped .50-caliber Remington inline. The wind was light and blowing out of the southwest - perfect for that stand, which overlooked a thin strip of woods between two very thick bedding areas.
"Just after daylight, four deer entered the bean field from the bedding area to my west, which is where I suspected the big buck was holed up. As the deer came toward me, I recognized one as being the big one. It, a 6- and a 4-pointer were following a hot doe," Kenny said.
"The big one was far more interested in keeping the two smaller bucks from stealing the doe than anything else. It kept herding them away from her," he added.
Kenny knew that with the direction of the wind, it would be only a matter of minutes before the doe would be downwind, scent him and ruin his chances. So, with the deer too far out to notice, he chose a more proactive strategy.
"I got out of the tree as fast I could," he explained. "Then, half crouched, I ran due south - away from the doe - to the edge of another field. I had more than 100 yards of thick woods between me and the deer, so I made good time. I followed a fence line to the east corner, and then turned north, following a manmade waterway to the upper corner of the woods."
All in all, Kenny covered about 400 yards in order to get ahead of the moving deer.
The hunter was still breathing hard from the exertion when the doe appeared at 25 yards. Forty yards behind her was the trio of bucks. As soon as he acquired the big buck in his scope, he squeezed the trigger.
"The fleeing buck was carrying one leg high, so I knew I'd hit it," Kenny said. "But I still reloaded as fast as I could, just in case another shot was needed."
"I watched it run a half circle out to perhaps 150 yards before turning back toward me. As it was going up the rising slope of the cornfield, it slowed down and just collapsed," he continued.
As soon as he'd reloaded, Kenny was surprised when he turned and saw the doe - still standing 25 yards away and gaping. The 6-pointer had vanished, but the forkhorn was oblivious, still more interested in the doe than the muzzleloader's blast.
While standing over the buck, Kenny telephoned Chad at work, something he never does.
"You got him, didn't you?" Chad answered.
The next call was to Kenny's dad, who arrived in short order to help load it. His mom came, too.
Hunter: Kenny Pickard
Official Score: 175 7/8"
Composite Score: 197 4/8"
-- Reprinted from the August 2007 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine