By Mike Handley
Although Greg Sims was carrying his lucky squirrel tail that day, it was his proficiency at rattling that should be credited for luring this buck to the arrow.
Photo Courtesy of: Greg Sims
The buck wore a white picket fence.
It might've been a quarter-mile beyond bow range, but Greg Sims was willing to sell his soul to gain the giant whitetail's attention. Certainly aware of the caliber of deer to be found in Iowa (his attempts to draw a tag in 2003 and '04 were for naught), the 36-year-old insurance agent from Arkansas was convinced he was looking at a new world-record Typical.
Grunt call useless at that range, Greg smashed his rattlin' antlers together in a last-ditch attempt to stop the behemoth strolling across the distant pasture.
Despite the wrist-jarring effort, the deer never heard him.
This was his second trip to Iowa in 2005, a return visit to take advantage of the rut. His timing was perfect.
In three days of hunting, Greg saw plenty of bucks with racks in the 130s and 140s chasing does. But it wasn't until day four, Nov. 5, that he saw an animal that caused his jaw to drop.
"I climbed into the stand 30 minutes before daylight," he said. "As dawn broke, I started seeing deer in almost every direction. This was constant until almost 7:00, and then it slowed to nothing. I was about half asleep when I caught movement about 500 yards away in a pasture. I grabbed my binoculars and could not believe my eyes.
"I knew I was looking at what might well be the new world-record Typical," he says matter-of-factly. "It was alone and going the other way - too far for me to get its attention."
When Greg spied the massive deer, he decided to use everything at his disposal to lure the animal to within bow range. But he didn't get the chance to do much.
As soon as he hit his rattlin' antlers (which didn't phase the distant buck), his cell phone vibrated. A buddy was calling from Kansas to tell Greg that he'd taken a big 8-pointer - a deer they'd come to know well through trail camera photographs.
While the friends spoke, Mr. Picket Fence got farther and farther away. Greg knew it was hopeless.
The telephone conversation was cut short, however, when another surly buck burst out of a draw in front of Greg, looking for the fight it had heard.
"I hung up," Greg grinned.
Though not as impressive as the buck Greg had initially tried to turn, this rascal certainly was no slouch. It veered downwind of Greg's position, trying to get a whiff of the competition. When it couldn't satisfy its curiosity, it turned back northwest and began walking away.
"Every time the deer started to go that way, I grunted and it turned back," Greg said. "It finally wound up at 50 yards, behind a thornbush. It seemed to look through me for about 13 minutes. The whole time, one ear might've twitched just once.
"I thought I was going to have a heart attack," he continued. "I could literally feel my heart beating in my head."
When the buck finally turned and walked away, Greg resorted to a "snort-wheeze," which brought it back to the thornbush.
"That really ticked the deer off," he said. "It turned a complete circle and started my way again, all frizzed up."
Knowing that he'd have to do something to persuade the deer to commit, Greg snuck an arm behind him and groped for the rattlin' antlers, which were dangling from his bow-hanger. After barely tickling them, he smiled as the buck in front of him came 10 yards closer.
When it cleared a bush at 42 steps, the arrow made contact. As the buck sped away, Greg bleated loudly - as is his custom - and the animal stopped to look back one last time. After a minute or so of staring hard in Greg's direction, the magnificent whitetail slowly turned, took a few steps and fish-tailed to the ground.
When the buck fell, a drop tine acted as a kickstand - supporting the rack.
"I'd give a million bucks to have those 30 minutes on video," Greg says. "That was the most awesome experience I've ever had. I can't understand why everyone doesn't bowhunt."
Greg wasted little time calling his buddy back in Kansas.
"Man, I've got an even better story than yours!"
Official Score: 180 5/8"
Composite Score: 201 4/8"
-- Reprinted from the July 2007 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine