By Amanda Bybee
-- One of the favorite things my husband and I like to do is to drive around our farm on a four-wheeler and look for deer in the evening. Brett and I spend all summer getting ready for the deer season, which is like a holiday at our house. We set up trail cameras and hope we can catch a big buck in action.
In June 2006, my father-in-law, Jack, was combining fescue seed and jumped a big 8-point buck. He came home telling us how long the main beams were. Then in August, we got some pictures of the deer on a trail camera and gasped when those images came up on the TV screen. My sister-in-law, Traci, nicknamed the deer "Skyscraper" because the rack came so far off his head.
The first weekend of the Missouri bow season, Brett saw Skyscraper at about 80 yards, but that was the last he was seen that year.
Much to our surprise, Skyscraper appeared on our trail camera again the following summer. We began to see him and several other deer in an alfalfa plot, even though much of the alfalfa had died the previous spring. Around the end of August, the deer stopped coming to the field, so Jack brush-hogged it. With a couple of good rains, the alfalfa began to regrow, and the deer started coming back to it. We saw several does and bucks, but no Skyscraper.
Two weeks later, my husband spotted him about 100 yards off a gravel road. Brett came home sick thinking that Skyscraper would get killed by a road hunter and we would never see him again.
I couldn’t wait for September to arrive, and finally it was time to hunt. It was only my second year to bowhunt, and I had yet to arrow a deer, but I finally felt pretty confident shooting out to 30 yards.
After spraying me down with Scent Killer, Brett set me on the edge of the alfalfa field where some does and pretty good bucks had been hanging out. I climbed into the stand and ranged some objects with a rangefinder. I practiced standing up without making the stand squeak, and pulled back my bow a couple times. Time passed, and I watched a lone gobbler peck around the lane at about 40 yards. A little later, a family of raccoons wandered along the edge of the woods. I knew it was getting close to "that time".
You know that time when everything kind of quiets down, the sun is just beginning to descend, and it glows from behind the tree line. I heard a hoot owl call and I just sat enjoying nature when I saw a deer jump the fence at the back of the lane about 300 yards from me.
I watched with my binoculars as another little deer jumped the fence. I could see that the first was a little basket-rack 8-point, and the second was a forkhorn. I kept watching as a third deer jumped the fence. This one was different. I could tell he was a shooter. My heart immediately began to pound.
The deer continued to walk straight toward me. Although their approach only took about five minutes, it seemed like an eternity. I don’t even think I was breathing.
When I thought they weren’t looking, I carefully stood up. I raised my bow and saw the glow of my Truglo sights. The buck was standing at 23 yards, so I found my 20-yard sight pin. I drew back, and thought I was going to fall out of the tree, but I tried to stay calm. I just pretended he was one of the bucks on the electronic screen that I had shot so many times after church on Sundays with my husband. When I was ready, I let the arrow fly.
I hit him good, and he cut back like a horse rounding a barrel, sprinting into the woods. The other two deer trotted down the lane, then turned and watched me for a few minutes before disappearing.
I marked the last spot I saw the buck and listened for a few seconds until I heard the loud sounds of leaves. I’d heard that sound often on hunting videos, and knew that was him, crashing in the woods.
I could hardly breathe. I picked up my cell phone and dialed my husband, who was sitting only about 300 yards away on the other side of the woods. I told him I’d just shot a nice 8-point. He began spitting out words faster than I could respond. Is he a mounter, is it skyscraper, did you hit him good, where did he run and stay put until I get there. The only thing I could respond with was that he was a nice 8-point, and I know I hit him good, and I think I heard him crash. I didn’t climb down from the stand until I saw Brett come running out of the woods.
We decided to wait a while before looking for the buck, so we went back to the house. Two hours later, Brett, Jack, and I grabbed the flashlights and took off in the farm truck.
We went to the spot where I last saw the buck, but didn’t find a single drop of blood.
We split up and just started looking. About 10 minutes later I heard the words I was waiting to hear: "Here he is!" Jack said, and I came running. As I got closer, I could see his huge rack shining in the light and I knew it was Skyscraper. I never dreamed he was that big when I pulled back my arrow. I saw my entry hole and it was just where I had aimed. The arrow didn’t pass all the way through and that’s why there was no blood to trail.
I shined the flash light back toward the tree stand I realized he only ran about 50 yards. The buck green-scored 161 3/8, which is huge for a southwest Missouri 8-point. His main beams are 28 5/8 inches long, and his inside spread is 21 3/4 inches. I was ecstatic and couldn’t stop staying "Oh my gosh!"
After celebrating for a while, I started feeling bad because Brett had been hunting Skyscraper for so long. He was quick to reassure me how proud he was of me for making a good shot and for getting such a large deer with a bow.
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