posted on April 02, 2012 06:42
By Mike Handley
Ray Vaughan didn't really want to close his eyes on the night of Nov. 22, which would've meant not staring at the severed head inside his 27-foot-long home away from home.
He wanted to ogle it, to see the vacant eyes, the faint blood spatter, and especially the enormous antlers. He'd shot the buck that evening, and it took all the willpower the grandfather of 12 possessed not to drive immediately and hand it over to a taxidermist.
Ray settled for waiting until the following morning to do that, but only because he could keep the head and cape behind the camper's locked door, away from the jaws of dogs and varmints and the hands of thieving passers-by.
"I didn't want to lose track of the thing, so I spent the night with it," he laughed. "I didn't sleep with him, but we got real close."
Ray is one of a dozen guys who share a 1,500-acre lease in Clarke County, Miss., about 13 miles west of Butler, Ala.
On Nov. 22, a Monday, Ray went to a redheaded step-child of a food plot the other members had ignored. The grass patch was as thin as new whiskers because of the summertime drought, but there was enough to attract deer.
Ray was about to shoot a wonky 5x3 when he glimpsed a much bigger buck and switched targets. He didn't have time to notice just how big the second buck was before squeezing his new .45-70's trigger.
The 17-pointer's BTR score is 182 7/8 inches (199 4/8 with the spread). The complete story will appear in Rack magazine next fall.