By Travis Harness
During the 2009 hunting season on my family farm in Tennessee, I shot an 11-point whitetail that grossed 149 4/8.
The 2009 hunting season was the fourth year I had pursued this deer. I saw him while scouting one day, and it almost gave me a heart attack when I noticed the amazing rack on his head. I’m not used to seeing big bucks on our farm.
At that time, the buck had two drop tines and a large kicker almost like a dagger off his main beam. He was extremely tall.
The following hunting season, my grandfather got a shot at the buck. He hit it in the leg, but the deer survived. The bad news was it turned him almost completely nocturnal. He also lost the drop tines and dagger the following year, and one side of his rack was bigger than the other. The injury also gave him a very distinguishable track, so we began to call him Crooked Foot.
I hunted that buck very hard the next two years to no avail. We never find any of his sheds, but his crooked track told us he was still there.
Finally, on Dec. 6 of the 2009 season, I was hunting my dad’s food plot with my wife when a doe came up behind me under a persimmon tree. A few seconds later, out of nowhere, Crooked Foot came through the field on a fast trot.
My heart was racing, so I tried to steady myself to take aim. I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger.
At the crack of the gun, the deer wheeled and bolted. My wife yelled, “You got him!”
After the longest five minutes of my life, we went to investigate and found hair and blood. We didn’t follow the blood trail very far before he jumped up and ran.
My wife and I went home called my dad to tell him the news. After about an hour and a half of waiting, I couldn’t take it any more, so we went back and picked up the blood trail.
It was easy tracking for about 200 yards before the blood just stopped. We were in an ivy thicket, so I got on top of a rock to try to see down into the vegetation. I immediately saw my buck lying in the snow.
I jumped off the rock and grabbed the rack out of the snow and yelled for my wife. After Dad caught up to us and the high-fives were over, we took him home to show everybody and take pictures.