A Last-Minute Monster Buck

White-Tailed Deer


A Last-Minute Monster Buck

Posted 2017-02-08T16:30:00Z  by  Darron McDougal

An Bowhunter Scores Big During His Rut Vacation's Waning Moments

Rack Report Details
Buck:192 5/8
Time of Year:November 15, 2016
Place:Clermont County, Ohio
Weapon: Bow  Bowhunting 

Matt Walton's Ohio season began horribly, with two of his trail cameras being stolen. However, his season turned around November 15 when he arrowed this 192 5/8-inch Buckeye State bruiser. (Photo courtesy of Matt Walton)

Matt Walton was given permission to hunt private land in Ohio earlier this year. Walton nailed two does early in the season - his family thrives on venison - then held out for a mature buck, passing multiple deer he admittedly would've taken in the past.

Unfortunately, Walton didn't know what mature bucks were on the new farm since his two trail cameras were stolen. Still, he persevered.

I scheduled my rut vacation from Nov. 4 through November 15, Walton said. Through that time, I had trail-camera pictures of good bucks on another property, but since my trail cameras were stolen from the new farm, I just hunted locations I knew deer frequented. I hunted mornings and afternoons throughout the vacation, mostly on my other property. I saw very few deer and virtually no rutting activity, except for one evening when I had a shooter at 30 yards. He didn't stay around long, and he never offered a shot opportunity.

Walton was preparing to hang up his bow and get back to work, thinking his rut vacation was a bust. But, he squeezed in one last hunt.

A few things aligned around home that enabled me to hunt the afternoon of November 15, the final day of my rut vacation, Walton said. I told my fiancé that I would take the upcoming weekend of hunting off if I could hunt that afternoon. She conceded.

Walton showered, threw his gear into his truck, and headed for the new farm since it was closer to home than his other hunting area.

I sprayed down and headed into the woods with my climbing stand, Walton said. I'd hung a stand earlier in the season and hunted it a few times, and it seemed I always jumped deer on my way in. The landowner and I discussed that it would likely be best to stop as soon as I jumped deer, wait a few minutes, then climb up the nearest tree. And that's exactly what I did when a bunch of deer took off just ahead of me.

Soon after Walton was airborne, a neighboring landowner began riding around on a four-wheeler and making a ruckus.

He was doing doughnuts and having fun, Walton said. He didn't know I was hunting. I figured my hunt was over, but I sat tight anyway.

An hour later, Walton heard something moving in the distance.

I did some blind calling with my grunt call, Walton said. Nothing responded. I tried again later. I seemed to hear rustling each time I grunted. I grunted some more, put the call into my pocket, and a giant popped out down the powerline. I couldn't tell how big he was, but with the sun shining on his rack, I could tell he was really good.

The giant buck soon began trotting right toward Walton.

He was at 15 yards away as he entered a thicket, and I had only one 3-foot-by-3-foot window to shoot through, Walton said. He passed the window when I grunt-stopped him. At 10 yards, he was basically straight down. I knew I could get at least one lung. I threaded the arrow carefully and nailed both lungs.

The buck bolted, circled and was running down the power line when he toppled.

I was almost in tears, Walton recalled.

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