posted on November 04, 2012 08:49
By Mike Handley
Finding the best among numerous introductions for a big deer story can be difficult. Such is a writer's life.
Option No. 1: It's not supposed to be a good year for deer, or at least that's what front-porch philosophers are saying. Too little water, not enough food, and blue tongue (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) have wreaked havoc with deer populations in much of the country.
You can write this one off, they say.
But the news never reached Browder, Ky., where Thad Cartwright and his dad, Todd, live and hunt.
Option No. 2: Had Thad Cartwright swatted a mosquito with a little more malice, a little more oomph, on Sept. 3, his would not be the buck on the cover of the July 2013 issue of Rack magazine. Nor would that fabulous whitetail be the leading contender for Buckmasters' next Golden Laurel Citation.
Option No. 3: While bowhunters in most states were still shooting field points, tweaking their bow setups and trying to decide whether or not to replace or upgrade their gear, Thad Cartwright was in a tree, hoping to let the air out of buck with a familiar face.
The do it early in Kentucky, good Lord willing.
And He was.
Option No. 4: The Muhlenberg County buck that Thad Cartwright arrowed three days into Kentucky's 2012 season is a world record among bow-taken deer in velvet. It might not be the biggest velvet buck ever recorded, but it's the largest ever toppled by an arrow.
The 273 2/8-inch 50-pointer plays second fiddle only to fellow Kentuckian Troy Wilson's gargantuan whitetail from 2001, which tallies 303 4/8 inches -- the world-record blackpowder (velvet) buck in the BTR.
In the end, we chose to let Thad tell his own story, in his own words. He shares how he and his dad obtained hundreds of trail cam photos of the buck they nicknamed Bulletproof, how he shot over the giant whitetail in 2011, and how he didn't in 2012.
It's an incredible animal, a cool story, and Thad is both gracious and grateful.
If you'd like to see a mini version of this buck's BTR scoresheet, click HERE and search the BTR database. You can read Thad's story when we commence the 2013 publishing season next summer.