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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Winston Yoder

By Mike Handley

Tony Yoder might prefer not to dwell on the day he white-knuckled his bow and torqued the shot at the biggest whitetail he's ever encountered. But every time he visits his brother, Winston, the memories come flooding back ... of seeing the monstrous buck, shooting at it, spending an entire day looking for it, and then seeing his arrow protruding from the dead animal's back two days later.

That arrow, however, was sort of a scarlet letter. Unlike his brother's, which was responsible for the buck's undoing, Tony's arrow was a monument to a botched shot, there for the entire world to see.

"That's why we call it the Big Deuce," says Winston, putting a positive spin on things. "Because it took two Yoders and two arrows to bring him down."

Tony's shot at the Illinois bruiser came on Monday, Nov. 5, the first evening of the brothers' planned 10-day hunt in Adams County. He was hunting from a ladder stand overlooking a food plot when the enormous buck strolled within range.

He and Winston found and followed a faint blood trail to the property's bedding area before deciding they'd have an easier time tracking in daylight.

"We looked all day Tuesday, to no avail. We didn't even hunt," Winston said.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Winston went to the same piece of leased ground before dawn, but about 400 yards from where his brother hunted two days earlier.

"Something just told me to go to this little 10-foot, hinky-dinky ladder," he said. "Nobody had hunted from it in two years, but I just had a feeling."

His chance at the deer came at 9:00. After the thwack, the deer spun around and gained 15 yards before running headlong into a cedar tree.

The 6 1/2-year-old buck weighed a respectable 252 pounds on the hoof -- a giant compared to the deer Winston hunts in his home state of South Carolina. Its BTR composite score is 194 4/8.

Be sure to read the rest of this story in RACK magazine this fall.

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