A Big Buck Surprise

White-Tailed Deer


A Big Buck Surprise

Posted 2015-11-23T11:55:00Z  by  Michael Pendley

Rack Report Details
Buck:179 6/8"
Time of Year:November 5, 2015
Place:Webster County, Kentucky
Weapon: Mathews Creed  Bowhunting 

Derrick Campbell's Webster County giant

Like most of us, Derrick Campbell dreamed of owning his own hunting property. Five years ago, he made that dream come true when he purchased a farm in Webster County, Kentucky. Through hard work and sweat equity, Campbell is turning his farm into a big buck hotspot.

This season was shaping up to be special. Trail camera photographs revealed three different bucks that Derrick figured would score around 150. He thought that any of the three would work, and he set about to make it happen.

Even though he put in a lot of hours early in the season, Campbell had yet to lay eyes on one of his target bucks. He wasn't concerned, though. The past three years on the farm had turned up nice bucks during the rut.

Even though the warm weather had kept the daytime buck movement to a minimum, things were picking up. The Saturday before, Campbell had seen a total of 10 different bucks chasing does. He was excited to get back in the stand and see what was moving.

On Friday, November 5, after getting off from his third shift job at 5:30 a.m., Derrick hurried home for a short nap before heading to his stand for the remainder of the day. As per his normal routine, Campbell showered with Scent-A-Way soap before leaving the house. Upon arriving at the farm, he sprayed down with odor-eliminating spray before starting into the woods.

At 11:55, Derrick settled into his stand and prepared for the afternoon hunt. His confidence was high; his last three bucks had been taken around the middle of the day in early November.

After letting everything quiet down for a half hour, Campbell rattled and grunted in an attempt to call in one of his target bucks. He went through the same routine twice more over the next hour.

At 2:15, the first deer of the day made its way down the hill. It was a spike, and he was on a trail that took him close to Campbell's stand. All of a sudden, the spike threw up his head and stared up the ridge from the hunter. Derrick turned his attention in the direction of the spike's stare and saw a doe trotting his direction about 150 yards from his stand location.

Watching the trail the doe had used through his binoculars, Derrick finally picked out a bit of antler tine working his way through the cover. Soon that bit of tine turned into several more, and Campbell realized that he was looking at a true monster buck.

Quickly dropping his binoculars and grabbing his bow from the hanger, Derrick turned his attention back to the doe. She was on a trail that took her 45 yards from his stand. Derrick quickly dialed his one-pin sight to 45 yards and waited for the buck to follow.

As the buck drew closer, Campbell became more and more excited at its size. Instead of following the same trail the doe had taken, the buck came even closer to the hunter's perch. Derrick quickly realized that he needed to redial his sight to 30 yards.

Campbell's buck scored 179 6/8 inches.When the buck stopped, he was 32 yards away from the hunter. Campbell drew his bow and settled his pin behind the buck's shoulder. When I released the arrow, it was like everything went into slow motion, said Campbell. I watched the arrow hit and disappear into the deer, I saw blood spatter from the entrance.

At the shot, the buck stumbled a bit and bulldozed his way down the ridge and out of sight. Derrick sat still for 10 minutes, replaying the shot in his mind and trying to contain the trembling that had overcome him at the shot. After calming down, he phoned a buddy to let him know what had just occurred. Campbell then climbed down out of his stand and headed back to his truck to wait for his friend to arrive.

An hour had passed by the time the duo headed back into the woods. Upon arriving at the sight of the shot, both men could see a massive blood trail. You really didn't even have to look for it, said Campbell. You just sort of walked along at a normal pace beside it.

The buck went a total of 50 yards from the spot of the shot. Unlike the ground shrinkage that often occurs when a hunter finally locates his or her buck, this was a case of ground swelling.

We thought the buck was big, but the closer we got to it, the bigger it got," Derrick said.

Derrick's buck was a complete surprise. Despite months of trail camera usage and time in the stand, he had never laid eyes on this particular deer. His deer just goes to show that you never know what can happen in the November deer woods.

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