Rack Magazine

Yahtzee!

Yahtzee!

By Ed Waite

Ohio hunter trades phone for crossbow when fate throws him five identical dice.

Three seasons after his aging grandfather shot his last whitetail, Doug Kisamore connected with his best from the same backyard blind.

“No one else ever hunted from my grandpa’s ground box blind,” Doug said. “We never knew when he might be inclined to go up there and sit.”

Grandpa walked uphill to the blind for the last time in 2013. Nobody visited it in 2014.

“During the late summer of 2015, my dad asked me to hang a trail camera up there to see if there was anything special in the area,” said the deer hunter from Atwater, Ohio.

Doug’s grandfather owned the property – a little more than 4 acres with a house, garage and a few outbuildings. An almost impenetrable thicket of trees and brush stretched for about 100 feet at the rear of the tract.

Soon after he set out a camera, Doug retrieved several photographs of a buck with great potential. It was photogenic and mostly nocturnal. It appeared in the light of day only three times – Oct. 31, Nov. 22 and late January 2016.

“Of course, I was never present any of those times,” Doug said.

 He hunted from his grandfather’s box stand in the evenings, if the wind was right. When he crawled into the blind Feb. 3 and began looking at pictures, he noticed the buck had dropped both antlers a few days earlier.

“I knew it was the one because, at some point in its life, it had broken both front legs. They were deformed and easy to distinguish,” he said.

 “I spent most of the next two days searching Grandpa’s property and the neighbor’s land, eventually finding both antlers lying side by side. With a reasonable inside spread, the rack would’ve measured about 155 inches.

 “I started putting out corn as soon as the 2016 spring turkey season ended,” he continued. “A few days later, the buck started showing up on camera a couple of times a week. When its antlers started growing pretty well, the deer was a frequent daytime visitor.”

Just prior to the 2016 archery season, however, the animal ceased visiting Doug’s corn, and it stayed gone for five weeks.

“I was worried,” Doug said.

“By the time the deer reappeared in late October, I had done a pretty good job of keeping its existence a secret. But someone somewhere also got a photo of the buck and posted it on the internet,” he sighed.

Almost immediately, the Kisamores noticed an increase in nighttime road traffic. Not only was poaching a concern, but people were stopping and asking for Grandpa’s permission to hunt.

 “By mid-November, I was getting pictures pretty frequently, especially as I kept the corn pile well supplied,” Doug said. “The buck made an appearance on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, while I was not there. I hunted all day Saturday ahead of a cold front, but saw nothing.

 “I woke up Sunday to 5 inches of fresh powdery snow, so once again I made my way to the blind. I sat all morning without seeing anything, which wasn’t uncommon. I had not actually seen a live deer all season from that spot.

“It wasn’t like I was hunting it every day,” he continued. “That might have been the sixth or eighth time I had taken up that position because the way the blind was situated. A perfect wind was mandatory.”

Doug was playing Yahtzee on his cell phone when he happened to glance up to see the familiar whitetail exiting the thick brush. It was 11:50.

 “Everything was covered with snow, so the buck was nearly invisible until it began to step clear,” he said. “I knew instantly it was The Boz, my nickname for him.”

Doug’s heart began racing.

“I had been watching that animal on camera for two years. Here he finally was, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to remain calm enough to take the shot,” he admitted.

Willing himself to keep his composure, Doug quietly picked up his crossbow, pointed it out the window, and then waited for the right moment.

“I watched the arrow penetrate The Boz’s side. He gave a little kick and ran off 15 or so yards before stopping. He just stood there looking around,” Doug said. “I could not reload the crossbow without considerable movement, so I waited.”

Doug couldn’t see blood, nor were entry or exit wounds visible.

“We were at an impasse,” he said. “What seemed like an hour later, though it probably was no more than 15 seconds, the buck toppled.

“That’s when my shakes started. I sat there in the blind for at least 20 minutes before I started to regain some semblance of calm.

“I approached the fallen animal in total awe. It was magnificent!

“I called my dad first to tell him I had shot The Boz. He was on the way to rifle hunt in West Virginia. I had warned him to stay close as this was going to be THE day, but he chose to leave anyway. He was four hours away when I called, but he turned around and came back.

“When curiosity got the better of me, I decided to backtrack and find where the buck had been bedding. The fresh snow made it easy because there were no other tracks.

“It took no time to find the deer’s bed less than 25 yards from where I’d walked that morning,” he said. “I’d gone right past him.”

 When Doug’s grandfather killed his last buck from the blind in 2013, his arrow passed through the deer and embedded in a tree. It was so thoroughly stuck, he broke it off and left it.

Doug’s bolt also embedded in a tree 2 two feet away.

“I chose to snap it off to honor him,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Ed Waite is a master scorer and regional director for Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records. A longtime contributor to Rack magazine, he has also published three volumes of big deer tales, “Wallhangers” I, II and III, which are available at book stores, on Amazon and through WallhangersUSA.com.

This article was published in the December 2017 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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