Huntress arrows a giant Southern buck while deer hunting along the Gulf of Mexico
|Rack Report Details|
|Buck:||186 inches (green gross score)|
|Time of Year:||Dec. 21, 2020|
|Place:||Kleberg County, Texas|
|Weapon:||Bow (Elite Kure) Bowhunting|
Georgia-Kate McFerrin, daughter of Mike and Bonnie McFerrin, is a lifelong deer hunter. She was raised in the outdoors, and it's a part of everyday life for this family. All of them contribute to "The Legends of the Fall" hunting show.
I'm 21 years old and have spent my entire life on the ranch, Georgia-Kate says. I shot my first deer with a bow at the age of 8.
Since then, she's killed a lot of deer, and some of them whopper bucks. Generally, when the McFerrins kill a deer, they have a past with it. That wasn't the case for Georgia-Kate's giant 2020 Texas whitetail.
We had no history with this buck, had never seen him on our trail cams, and had no prior encounters, she says.
It isn't a big surprise, really. They hunt in Kleberg County, Texas, an area chock-full of good deer. While they run cameras extensively, and generally know of the bucks they end up tagging, it's not unheard of to see a new buck pass through.
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That is exactly what happened on Dec. 21, a day that actually started out slow. Georgia-Kate and her father, Mike, walked to a historically great spot that had been quiet for a few days. This was the third straight sit there, but the location is proven, and she had faith in it.
That morning there was dense fog and cold temperatures. The terrain didn't help with visibility, either. She was surrounded by thick mesquite and tall grass. But this is the type of habitat Texas deer love, and she expected deer to filter back through the cover from a nearby ag field.
Early in the hunt, a couple does and some javelinas pushed through. As they were close to the Gulf, steady winds carried the scent of salty seawater. She took that in — and reflected on past hunts — while waiting for deer movement to pick up.
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With the rut in full swing, Mike decided to rattle, which is especially effective in the Lone Star State. South Texas is famous for this tactical approach. So, he unleashed an intense sequence of rattling and hoped it'd bust loose some big-buck movement.
It did. In true Texas form, a stud materialized in the mesquite. They didn't recognize the deer, but immediately registered it as a mature one. It carried a heavy-built rack atop its massive, muscular body. This was no youngling.
My dad was filming me and rattling, Georgia-Kate says. When the buck came in, he was drooling and looking for a fight.
With the Elite Kure in hand, she was happy to oblige. The buck quickly made it within range. All she needed was an ethical, broadside shot opportunity. She got it.
My dad told me to aim small, miss small, she says. That's a great tip when archery hunting, especially in the heat of the moment.
The buck eventually turned. McFerrin drew back, anchored, and settled her 30-yard pin on the vitals. She released the arrow, and three fletching vanes guided it home. The broadhead centered both lungs.
The giant took off and quickly ran out of sight. Knowing it was a lethal hit, they gave the buck a little time, then took up the blood trail. The ground was soaked, making for an easy track.
He left a pretty heavy blood trail, which made for a quick recovery, Georgia-Kate says. My buck ran 80 to 100 yards after I shot him.
Upon finding the deer, they realized just how big and old the buck was and guesstimated it at 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 years old. Scoring 186 inches, it is Georgia-Kate's biggest buck to date.
I am so happy I got to share this memory with my dad, she says. This buck means a lot to me. Not only because he's my largest buck to date but it was so exciting to not have had any history with him and to be so surprised when he came. Everyone in camp congratulated me and made comments about how much mass he had and that he was a beautiful buck.
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