posted on October 03, 2011 06:50
By Mike Handley
Jonathan Dennis learned two things in December: that "failing to take a state record to a taxidermist" might be a crime in Grenada County, Miss., and that a shoulder mount ain't cheap.
While Jonathan knew the buck he smoked last year was bigger than any he'd taken previously, he had no idea of its true stature until a neighbor, who happens to be a sheriff's deputy, saw it.
"When I showed it to Jeffrey, I thought he was going to fall down," Jonathan laughed. "He actually got in my truck with me and MADE me take the deer to a taxidermist.
"I've never been a fan of scoring or taxidermy, even though I always save my racks," he added. "I have a storage box full of them. I've killed at least a dozen 150-class deer, but I've never had any mounted."
But seriously, he doesn't mind paying for what he calls a big dose of luck.
Jonathan usually hunts out of treestands. But faced with no climbable trees in a place he so dearly wanted to hunt -- beside a trail used that very morning by a buck he was certain was responsible for some extraordinary rubs -- he had no qualms getting down on his belly like a reptile.
When he discovered the network of rubs and where several trails converged nearby, he found the perfect tree for his climber. But when he scaled and hunted from it, he saw only small bucks and a few does, day after day.
After a week of not seeing the buck responsible for ravaging the trees, or even a respectable one, he decided to look for another spot on Dec. 14.
"Not wanting to spook any deer, I headed out about 10 a.m.," he said. "I had to walk across a big open field. It's about a mile across, but there's a hill - not a big hump, but enough to hide behind and check out the slope to the trees."
When he peered over the crest, Jonathan saw a bunch of does and an enormous buck almost 300 yards distant. He tried to slip off to one side and close the gap, but the deer had all disappeared the next time he chanced a look.
Jonathan left for lunch at that point and returned about 3:00, easing into the woods where he'd last seen the buck.
"I got downwind of a really trampled deer trail and just plopped down," he said. "I had been lying there about an hour and a half when a string of does came through, and the buck was right behind them."
The 100-yard prone shot was a piece of cake.
With an official score of 167 4/8 (188 with the spread), the 14-pointer is No. 1 among Magnolia State Typicals felled by blackpowder. The complete story by Lisa Price will appear in the December issue of RACK magazine.