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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Matt Ford

By Mike Handley

A 24-year-old welder from Abingdon, Ill., made short work of dispatching a deer on Nov. 4, but it took the avid bowhunter more than two hours to realize it.

Matt Ford might've pursued the deer earlier, but his stepfather, who was hunting nearby, hadn't carried a cell phone to the woods. Rather than ruin his host's afternoon hunt, Matt remained in his stand, cursing his luck.

Prematurely, I might add.

The hunt began with a 250-yard walk through a Knox County cornfield to reach a narrow draw where Matt had seen some massive rubs. As soon as he was aloft about 3:40, he heard what sounded like antlers hitting saplings.

Moments later, he saw a buck approaching from about 70 yards distant. The left side of its rack was clipping trees and brush.

Matt loosed an arrow when he thought the deer was at 25 yards, but he'd misjudged the distance. It was actually 35, and the arrow sailed underneath the buck.

Fortunately for Matt, who wasted no time in nocking a second arrow, the buck heard the first one hit behind it and actually came down into the draw and closer. When it stopped again, it was at 15 yards.

When Matt released a second time, the buck was standing between two trees and looking at him. The only target was its neck, an iffy shot that he took anyway.

The arrow angled perfectly into one lung and the heart, though the young hunter didn't know it at the time because the shaft came out when the buck wheeled back toward the cornfield. Its retreat was more of a fast walk than a flat-out run, and Matt saw it licking itself near the top of the hill before it disappeared.

Matt needn't have worried about his shot. The 20-pointer went only 80 yards before taking its final nap.

"I still can't believe it," Matt says. "I thought my (previous best) 145-inch 8-pointer was big until I got this one. I never thought I would see a deer this size, let alone kill one."

Matt's buck hasn't been taped yet for the BTR, but it has been green-scored at 219 (spread included). The rest of the story will appear in RACK magazine next fall.

Mike Slayton Kendall Haygood Travis Stapleton Bryan Hamilton Cody Gwinner BTR

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