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Tagged Out in Two Hours

Tagged Out in Two Hours

By Mike Handley

The day before Kentucky's 2015 rifle season opened, Alvin Hoover made himself a ground blind by stacking hay bales inside the tree line next to a field frequented by deer. The setup was only 500 yards from his Todd County home.

He chose a spot allowing the best view of the 160-yard-long field, meaning his longest shot would be 80 yards in any direction.

Alvin left his house at 4:45 on the morning of Nov. 14, and he was in his hiding place shortly after 5:00, well before daybreak. He saw three deer shapes in the field early and a couple more appeared after sunrise.

He threw in the towel about 10:30, but he returned to the blind two and a half hours later.

When a doe walked out at 2:10 and hung around for 20 minutes, Alvin couldn't resist taking advantage of the opportunity for freezer meat. Had the deer not tempted him for so long, he might have resisted the urge to dull his knife.

After tagging and field-dressing the doe, he returned to his hiding place.

When the last of the sun's warm light vanished, casting a bluish filter over the landscape, Alvin glanced at his wrist to see how many ticks remained on his hunt's clock. It was 4:26, time for his eyes to probe the shadows along the field's edge.

"When I looked up from my watch, my heart skipped a beat," he said. "There was this magnificent buck with nice high tines approximately 75 yards away. It was right at the edge of the woods, pretty much broadside to me.

"The buck stepped out, chased off a spike, and came within about 40 yards," he continued. "I didn't really have a good shot then, however, so I waited 'til it was at 55 yards, standing broadside and looking across the field."

After the .243 bullet pierced its bellows, the buck took a few steps and collapsed.

Alvin never imagined his 16-pointer would score higher than a couple of 20-plus-pointers that had been shot in the area. He originally guessed his, which is a lot more Typical, might tally 170 inches.

Wrong. Its composite score is almost 30 inches bigger than that.

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