One year makes big difference for Big Sticker Buck
By Dusty Phillips
As a young boy, I chased the dream of harvesting a giant whitetail buck in my home state of Ohio. On November 30, 2010, that dream came true.
I'd watched one particular buck grow from the time it was a juvenile. At first, its rack was just like any other ordinary young buck. As the years passed, I continued to see this deer and noticed its rack development was greater than the other bucks in the herd.
When the buck reached five years of age, my trail cam photos revealed the addition of small, inch-long sticker points sprouting from both P-2s. We nicknamed it the Sticker Buck. I knew the stickers would only get larger if given another year to grow.
When the next season arrived, I hoped to capture this exceptional buck on my trail camera again to see if it was one I wanted to harvest.
On September 12, in a location I refer to as the Honey Hole, I was thrilled when the Sticker Buck reappeared in my trail camera photos.
When I saw how much the sticker points had grown over the summer, I was shocked. They were now 3 inches long! My friends and I thought it was appropriate to rename the giant the BIG Sticker Buck.
As the 2010 archery season rolled on, the Big Sticker Buck was on my hit list, and I had high hopes of getting a chance to harvest it.
Day after day I'd climb into my treestand to sit and wonder how hard my heart would pump if the buck actually appeared.
I finally saw Big Sticker Buck on November 13 as it walked across my neighbor's field. Unfortunately, all I could do was helplessly watch it pass by with the hope it would turn and come my way.
But, it continued walking until all I could see was that magnificent rack disappearing into the surrounding woods.
On November 30, the second day of Ohio gun season, my luck was about to change.
I had not been shotgun hunting since 2006 but, for some reason, I decided to head to the woods with my smoke stick.
As I quietly hiked to my stand, I reached the edge of a field and was about to enter the woods where my stand was located. I rounded one last corner, and there was the Big Sticker Buck standing in the open and staring straight at me!
Instinctively, I raised my Remington 887 shotgun, took a steady bead on its chest and pulled the trigger. BOOM!
I'd finally let lead fly at the buck I'd been watching for the past six years! I couldn't believe the Big Sticker Buck lay 100 yards in front of me.
Before approaching the downed deer, I watched carefully for movement to make sure the buck didn't get back up. Suddenly, a doe, which stood 25 yards ahead of the fallen buck, ran off.
I said aloud, "Thank you, sweetheart!"
It dawned on me that doe was the only reasonable explanation why my giant of a whitetail was caught on foot during daylight hours and out in the open.
Fellow hunters, take my advice. Chase your dreams. Sometimes, they do come true!