posted on June 27, 2011 10:04
By Mike Handley
It was as if the ground opened up and swallowed Kevin Fitch’s buck. One minute, it was on the receiving end of a shotgun slug (he hoped). The next, it was gone.
Not fall-down-dead gone. Not running-with-the-wind-and-leaving-a-blood-trail gone.
Just gone, leaving the hunter from Norwalk, Ohio, with Rodney Dangerfield eyes and a mouth full of bile.
Seconds earlier, Kevin had finally seen antlers atop one of the 20 or so deer zigzagging in the brush ahead of him. He didn’t have much of a window, but he thought the shot was doable.
“I was scanning heads, and, suddenly, I saw antlers. When they passed through an opening, followed by the head and neck of their wearer -- other than that, all I could see was the top of its back -- I slipped off the safety and squeezed the trigger,” he said. “After the shot, the buck simply vanished. It didn’t run off, and I didn’t actually see it fall.
“It just disappeared,” he added.
Turns out, the buck slipped into a big ice-filled hole left when a tree was toppled. Getting it out of there involved a second shot and a bit of wrestling (literally a head-lock), but Kevin managed with a little help.
He had no idea he was shooting at a 23-pointer with antlers that would rival the fallen tree’s root wad. It was Dec. 18, a last chance for Kevin and his son, Cody, to punch their tags by slugging a deer. Cody also shot a doe while his dad was playing in the root pond.
One of the largest bucks felled in Ohio in 2010, this Lorain County specimen has a composite score of 238 7/8 inches. A BTR score of 217 5/8 makes it No. 15 among Buckeye State shotgun harvests.
The full story, and it’s a good one, will appear in the October issue of RACK magazine, thanks to Ed Waite.