For Emily Schaad, the iron was hot on Oct. 10, 2020, and boy did she strike!
The Stockport, Ohio, huntress had been hoping to get a shot at a camera-shy buck she’d nicknamed Freak since 2018, but it was a hide-and-seek master.
“His rack was all weird back then. I believe he was hit by a vehicle, maybe in 2017,” she told Ed Waite, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine. “His rack was a terrible mess on one side, and he’d broken the other beam off at the P2. “He was a junk deer, and I expected he’d always be one,” she added.
She saw the deer during the summer of 2019, but it apparently spent the entire hunting season on property she could not access.
A week after bow season ended, after it had shed one side – the freaky part – of its rack, it finally wandered past a trail camera.
Before spring had ended, she’d gained access to the deer’s sanctuary, the formerly off-limits, upper part of the Morgan County farm.
She ran 10 cameras that summer, trying to pattern the buck, but it was well into bow season before she retrieved any pictures.
“The first week of October, I checked the camera on a mock scrape near an alfalfa field. Almost immediately, I had pictures of him, and his rack was normal on both sides (except for long and forked brow tines). He was indeed the biggest buck I had ever seen. I almost became sick just looking at the photos.”
On Oct. 10, Emily retrieved three daytime photos of the buck at a fence crossing. She returned with her stand, climbing sticks and bow that afternoon. She was in place by 4:30, shortly before it began raining.
“When the rain stopped at 6:10, it became incredibly quiet,” she added. “I was texting when I heard a noise, looked up and saw the body of a large deer coming my way. I saw part of a rack sticking out from each side of a tree. Right then, I knew it was Freak,” she said.
The deer came to within 18 yards of the hickory she’d climbed, which was close enough. It was 78 yards away when it took its last breath.
At 190 6/8 inches, the 13-pointer is the largest Semi-irregular ever recorded from the county.
— Read Recent Blog! This One was a 160 without the Junk! Jakob Begley knew the deer was special, but the trail cam images had not done justice to the 24-point rack festooned with stickers and burr points.