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Zach Bags Mr. Big

Zach Barker

Grandson hits homerun with crossbow

By Ronald Gleason (Zach's Grandfather)

When Zach Barker, my 12-year old grandson, asked me if I would take him deer hunting because he'd been playing fall baseball for weeks and had yet to go hunting, I was ready. The next day after school, we purchased Zach's Ohio hunting license and deer tag.

We set up in a ground blind in a strip of woods on a field edge. We were there about a half hour when Zach whispered that he saw a deer.

A doe crossed the field, stopped about 25 yards out and began to feed. She acted nervous and kept looking over her shoulder. When Zach whispered that he saw a buck, I looked out and saw a small 6-point buck coming toward the doe, and right behind him was Mr. Big.

Zach BarkerWe had several trail cam pictures taken the two previous years of a huge buck we called Mr. Big, but this was the first time I saw him with my own eyes.

The bucks stopped about 65 yards to our right and stared at the nervous doe. She whirled and ran to our right, into the next woods with both bucks in hot pursuit.

I whispered to Zach that they were probably gone and we wouldn't see them again. I was wrong. 

Only a few minutes had passed when Zach whispered that he saw a doe coming our way. It must have been the doe we saw earlier because Mr. Big followed her into the field. It stopped to our right, out of range for Zach's crossbow.

The doe stopped in front of us but the buck just stared in her direction. Three more does came from behind us and joined the one in front.

The buck would stare at them, and then look our way. This went on for several minutes. I don't know if it was unsure about the blind or sensed something, but finally it headed toward the does.

Zach BarkerI lost sight of Mr. Big as it got closer. Several limbs and leaves blocked my view from the small corner window I using as it closed the distance. I heard Zach breathing heavily, and he whispered that he could now shoot. I asked him if he was sure. He said yes.

When Zach shot I heard a loud thump, so I knew he had hit it. The buck ran the direction it originally came from. The does ran a short distance and stopped.

We didn't want to spook them so we sat in the blind until dark. I sent a text to my wife telling her Zach had shot the big one, and for her and my oldest son to bring flashlights to help us look.

When they arrived we found Zach's Red Hot bolt covered in blood. The field had some high weeds, so we would find a few drops of blood and then lose the trail. We would zigzag back and forth until we picked up the blood trail, only to lose it again.

I was debating waiting until morning light to resume the search, when I walked a little farther and shone my light in the next strip of woods. I saw something the color of a deer, and took two more steps when I saw a big rack.

The celebration began!

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