posted on October 06, 2013 07:58
By Mike Handley
When the 13-pointer stopped mugging for Ashley Bugg's trail camera in January 2012, the hunter from Corydon, Ky., assumed the deer he'd been watching for two seasons was pushing up daisies.
"In the last photograph I had of the buck, it looked to be in bad shape," Ashley said. "Its gut was all sunk in. I still kept checking the camera and hoping, but that was it."
Writing off the whitetail as being dead, however, proved to be 11 months premature.
With no more than half an hour of daylight remaining on Nov. 16, a doe passed through the area Ashley was watching. A buck strolled onstage 10 minutes later.
A glimpse of the rack's left side was all Ashley needed in the way of incentive. He picked up his rifle, aimed and squeezed the trigger, knowing only that the whitetail was much bigger than the 9-pointer he'd been hoping to see from a stand.
There was no bang, however. Not even a click, unless the pop of a jaw falling open counts.
Ashley had forgotten to disengage his gun's safety.
He managed to regroup and take a shot nonetheless, even though he was a bit rattled and the deer was farther along in its quest for a girlfriend.
After a night spent wondering if he'd blown his chance, Ashley recovered the buck the next day. And he was doubly thrilled as he approached the fallen giant.
"I knew immediately that it was the buck from my 2011 pictures, because the brow tines are so distinctive," he told Lisa Price, who's written the story that'll be published next year in RACK. "Beyond those, the antlers really packed on length and mass. It also grew three more points!"
The Henderson County 16-pointer has BTR composite score of 205 1/8 inches.