Giant Drop-Tine Buck from Public Land

White-Tailed Deer


Giant Drop-Tine Buck from Public Land

Posted 2014-10-29T07:45:00Z  by  Michael Pendley

Rack Report Details
Time of Year:Mid-October
Place:Eastern Kentucky
Weapon: Muzzleloader  Muzzleloader 

Killing a mature buck is tough. Targeting one buck in particular and successfully hunting him is even tougher.

Doing that on public land in the mountains of eastern Kentucky approaches the realm of impossible. Yet that is exactly what Brian Carey and a group of buddies have done.

Each year, this group of college pals spend a week camping and hunting one particular piece of public land in eastern Kentucky. Over the years, they've learned a lot about the area, and the deer that live there. Last fall, a giant with a prominent drop-tine showed up on one of their trail cameras. That buck immediately went to the top of the hit list. Two brief glimpses were as close as they could get to the old buck the rest of the season.

Fast forward to this fall and this year's annual hunting trip coinciding with Kentucky's two-day muzzleloading season. Day one was fairly slow for Carey, highlighted by a few does wandering through the stand of hardwoods he was hunting.

Day two started out the same way. After an hour or so in one spot, Carey heard the unmistakable sound of a pack of hounds working their way closer to his area. Figuring he had nothing to lose, he made the decision to do a little scouting and still-hunt some open areas near where they had gotten the photos of the large buck the year before.

As Carey worked along and glassed the openings, he couldn't help but think of the big buck and wonder if it had made it through the winter. Another member of the group had scored while still-hunting open areas the day before and Carey's confidence was high as he slowly worked his way down a long open finger.

As he rounded a corner, a deer caught his eye. Standing a bit over 125 yards away, there was no doubt that the buck in front of him was a big one. While he could see the buck, no shot was available. Brian quickly dropped to his knees and quietly crawled 25 yards toward the deer.

When he could go no farther, he raised up to see if the deer was still in the same spot. It was, and was staring right at him. It was now or never.

Carey raised his CVA Optima and found the buck's shoulder in his scope. At the shot, smoke obscured all but a fleeting glance of the buck as it bounded away. The last thing Carey saw was the deer leaping over a clump of weeds and disappearing into the timber.

Carey sat down to reload and collect his thoughts. After giving the deer a bit of time, he headed over to the buck's location at the shot. There was no blood. He eased along the direction the buck had gone. The edge of the field dropped steeply down into a brushy creek bottom. With no sign of a hit, Carey was starting to get worried. He paused to look closely down to his right along the creek. Nothing. He then turned to go to the left and was met by the sight of a deer piled up in front of him. The buck had traveled about 30 yards.

As soon as I saw him, saw the drop-tine, I knew it was him. I couldn't believe it, the buck we had been after for two years, and I had killed him, Carey said.

Looking around, Carey realized the buck was less than 50 yards from the spot where they had obtained photos of him the year before. This was clearly the old buck's core area. Brian also realized there was no way he was going to get the 6-year-old beast out of the creek bottom by himself. He left the deer to go enlist the help of his buddies. Along the way, he ran into a fellow hunter and passed along the news that he had killed the big drop-tine.

By the time they returned to camp, word had spread and a crowd had gathered to see the deer everyone had been after.

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