I admit I’m paid to come up with myriad ways to describe whitetails. Referring to a storied animal as a buck or a deer 27 times in one article is a surefire way to put a reader to sleep.
To keep your attention, I generally alternate between the two, or I might substitute nouns like whitetail, giant, 20-pointer, 10x10 or behemoth. If I’m lucky, a hunter gives me one more reference point in a nickname, and I’ve heard some doozies, among them Buckzilla, Browzilla, Hooks, Stickers, Hercules and Twin Towers.
Greg Hamer of Bellevue, Ohio, is more of a meat-and-potatoes deer hunter than a wordsmith. The 61-year-old simply referred to his Moby Dick as Rack, a deer he hunted diligently for four seasons in Huron County.
That quest came to an end on Nov. 4, 2020.
“That morning, I saw Rack go into a cornfield, nose to the ground, following a doe trail like a beagle seeking a rabbit,” he told John Phillips, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine. “I assumed it would spend all day in the corn.”
Fortunately for him, Greg was wrong.
According to trail camera images, the distinctive whitetail was frequenting two 100-acre fields favored by does and crossing a tractor bridge to go from one to the other. Greg gained permission to hunt the ditch crossing and built a natural blind within bow range.
He also created a mock scrape near the ditch by using a stiff-tined rake to clear the ground before hanging a scent dripper over the bare earth.
On the fateful afternoon, Greg took his crossbow to his blind at 3:00. A couple of hours later, he spotted an enormous whitetail – way bigger than his previous best, a 140-incher – approaching.
“I put my crossbow on my tripod when the deer was 50 yards away, and then looked at it through the scope, “he said. “As the buck got closer, I could tell it was Rack.”
When his dream buck was about 10 yards away, Greg aimed behind the animal’s shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Double-lunged, Rack ran 50 yards and collapsed at the edge of the field, where tractors turn around.
Greg had to practically pinch himself.
The 16-pointer scores 234 6/8 inches, a quarter (58 6/8 inches) of which is mass. The irregular inches contribute another 42 3/8 inches to the deer’s remarkable tally.
Yep, I’d call that a rack!
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