My Veterans Day weekend started off on Friday morning hunting a large creek bottom in Knox County. I heard a huge crash through the woods which resulted in a doe at 15 yards and a giant nontypical standing 32 yards broadside. As I tried to strategically plant my draw opportunity, as I just reached my let off point the doe nailed me and both retreated into the woods.
With all hopes and negative thoughts in my head (such as I want to go home and never hunt again), I left the timber and went home for lunch around 11:30 a.m. I returned to the woods with my Knight and Hale grunt call and 120 class buck decoy. I moved to a stand with a bean field to the south and hard woods to the north right on a fence line. I had the decoy at 30 yards upwind with his tale at half mass and ears back. I entered the new stand at 1 p.m. Friday. I had no activity until 4 p.m. when a nice young buck passed, spotting the decoy and running. At 4:25 I saw two monsters coming across the bean field, upwind heading directly for my decoy. One extremely wide and the other a tall-tined 9 point.
Walking in a single file line as they spotted the decoy the wider and bigger buck step to the front and gave out two snort wheezes. As he got within 10 feet of my decoy he got the swelled neck, and started to do the classic “buck side step”. He then proceeded to knock into my decoy from the side, not presenting a shot this whole time, after he realized the decoy was plastic he did a 180 degree spin and took two hard leaps when I whistled and he stopped at 13 yards, quartering hard away, I drew and shot him right behind the shoulder. He ran 30 yards and stopped giving out two snorts as if he had spotted a harming creature. Then he gave a big lick towards his wound. I thought I had missed him when he began to spread his back legs and fell in the bean field 60 yards from my stand. After field dressing I had put a double lung on the big guy.
It was a good thing I had my safety harness on because I could not stop shaking. I recovered the 178 3/8 monster in the bean field, which made it very convenient. He had a 25 3/8 inside spread. I had not seen this deer all summer or on any game cameras. I could not believe this caliber buck had presented itself on our 250 acre farm. I am blessed to take this one in a lifetime buck. My mother, sister, father and uncle helped with the recovery and loading of the deer. He was 4 1/2 years old and only field dressed at 198 pounds. He was shot with a pse set at 70 pounds and with a thunderhead broadhead. I am blessed to have an opportunity at a buck of this caliber, in the “Land of the Giants.”