posted on August 29, 2011 08:49
By Mike Handley
Ryan Bearden was disgusted and ready to go someplace else, maybe even back to his warm motel room.
Though 2010 was the Alabamian’s third year to drive to Ohio, he’d hunted this Highland County farm only once before that cold Dec. 18. All he really knew about the place was that 40 of the 200 or so acres were wooded.
When he struck out that 18-degree morning, he skirted a cornfield – plodding through 6 to 8 inches of snow -- and walked 20 yards into the adjoining woodlot. He jacked himself up a tree, sat down and watched the paint dry on a winter landscape devoid of color and deer, painfully aware that the wind was carrying his scent straight into the property’s only cover.
The 24-year-old had been fighting the urge to relocate for half an hour when, at 9:00, he spotted two bucks running along the edge of the field. Both were 8-pointers, and he was about to shoot the larger when he saw a third buck coming down the same lane.
The two 4x4s cut into the woods about 75 yards from Ryan, but the much bigger one bringing up the rear came a little bit closer.
Ryan had carried only three slugs with him that morning, and he sent all three at the big buck. He was stunned when the deer didn’t fall, but he needn’t have worried. It managed only another 40 yards before collapsing.
The mainframe 5x4 rack and its six irregular points tally 193 5/8 inches on the BTR scale – more than 215, if inside spread is included.
The full story behind Ryan’s hunt will appear in RACK magazine.