Big Buck 411 Blog

One Hour in November

One Hour in November

By Mike Handley

When Jacob Antley, his father Skipper and a buddy, Jake Gerhards, drove to southern Missouri last November, they'd planned on a long weekend of bowhunting. But they spent only one day afield.

Their hunt began on Friday, Nov. 13, the day before the state's regular firearms season opened. Regardless of the timing, they carried only their bows.

"The three of us were long gone from the camper before daylight, headed to our respective stands," Jacob told Ed Waite, who's writing the story for Rack magazine. He remembers it was the coldest day he'd seen that year.

The guys were hunting a 600-acre tract teeming with deer, and they jumped several en route to their stands in the dark.

Jacob was in his climber, 25 feet up a tree, by 6 a.m.  Within the hour, he was reaching for his bow with hopes the 150-incher he was watching might eventually come within range.

As soon as his bow was in hand, he spied a deer with a much bigger rack approaching from his right. Moments later, the two bucks saw each other and froze to take their rival's measure from about 40 yards.

"When the big one started moving toward the smaller buck, I grabbed my rangefinder and ranged a spot at 23 yards," Jacob said. "I quickly raised my bow and drew as the buck was quartering slightly away from me."

The arrow passed clean through the animal, and Jacob could see blood leaking from both sides as the deer fled. Knowing he'd connected with a monstrous whitetail was reason enough to stop breathing, but something else sucked the air out of the hunter's lungs as he watched his buck run.

"When I leaned way over to see where the deer was going, my stand let loose from the tree and dropped about 3 feet before snagging onto something," he said.

Jacob was standing on the ground by 7:00, happy to be upright. His fingers flew over the face of his phone. On top of the world, he sent text messages saying he'd double-lunged a 170-incher.

Later, after the three men pulled the dead buck free of the brambles, they realized Jacob had underestimated the size of the antlers by about 30 inches.

"It's the biggest buck I've ever seen on four feet," he smiled, which isn't hard to believe. The 18-pointer's BTR composite score is 202 6/8 inches.

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