posted on August 25, 2013 09:06
By Mike Handley
Anyone who's used a sleeve or glove to frantically wipe a fogged-up scope while a buck is changing zip codes can sympathize with the hunter who was on the other side of a creek from Danny Smith last year.
Danny's not one to smile upon another's misfortune, but he'll shed no tears over his neighbor's missed opportunity on opening day of Kentucky's 2012 rifle season. Because when the deer made it to his side of the creek, there was no going back.
A huge fan of trail cameras, the (unfogged) hunter from Monticello, Ky., knew that an enormous Typical was traipsing in and out of his property in Wayne County. He collected the first nighttime photograph of it in 2011.
The buck mugged for the lens several times at night, but only once during the day. The season ended, but the deer survived and grew an even bigger rack.
Danny got 20 seconds of video footage of it in November, a week before rifle season opened, and the tall rack left him weak-kneed.
He saw the sunrise from a newly relocated stand when the opening bell sounded. At 9:30, about the time a leg cramp was causing him to consider going home, Danny heard a deer in the nearby creek. Half an hour later, he saw the buck with the familiar rack.
"When you see something like that coming through the woods, there's no doubt," he laughed, holding his hands about two feet apart.
Danny wasted no time in leveling the crosshairs over the buck's vitals and squeezing the trigger. It was only 40 yards from him, which is also where it fell.
"It took about 100 feet of rope, a four-wheeler with a winch and three of us to get the deer off that hillside," Danny said. "Afterward, I learned that another hunter on the other side of the creek had seen this deer. He would've taken a shot at it, but his scope was fogged."
Danny's gain is No. 5 among Kentucky's rifle-felled Typicals. It's also the largest recorded from Wayne County since 1998. Half of this stud's uprights are at least 12 inches long, which help it to a BTR composite score of 193 6/8 inches!
Master scorer Dale Weddle measured the deer. His story of the hunt will be in RACK magazine this fall.