A Velvet Bow Kill from the Ground


A Velvet Bow Kill from the Ground

Posted 2021-09-10T00:00:00Z

Jeffrey Stamper's opening-day Kentucky buck. Image by Jeffrey Stamper

Rack Report Details
Buck:159 inches
Time of Year:Sept. 4, 2021
Place:Fleming County, Kentucky
Weapon: PSE Evo   

Jeffrey Stamper has something of a love-hate relationship with trail cameras and a particular buck. Just before the season last year, the Fleming County, Kentucky, hunter had photos of a good buck, one he estimated would go 130 or higher, at his hunting spot. The deer was a regular during the summer months, but then disappeared just before season came in. The buck showed back up for a few days at the end of season, then left again.

Fast-forward to this summer, and Stamper was excited to see the same deer on camera in July. He was even more excited to see that the buck had blown up from last year, putting on another 20 to 30 inches of antler. Just like the summer before, the deer was there for about a week in July, then he was gone again.

Jeffrey Stamper's opening-day Kentucky velvet buck. Image by Jeffrey Stamper

Then things started to change. With the season set to open on Saturday, Sept. 4, Stamper checked his camera one last time on Friday. The buck had been back the day before, then again on Friday morning. With rain in the area bringing cooler temps, Stamper felt like opening day might give him his best shot at killing the deer.

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Stamper had been watching the buck all summer. Image by Jeffrey Stamper

The area the buck was using was in an open stand of pines. Last season, Stamper had tried to hunt the area from a stand, but the open timber just didn't offer enough cover and deer often picked him out. This year, I decided to try something different by putting out a ground blind early, so the deer had time to get used to it, Stamper says.

The afternoon of opening day found Stamper in his blind. With the cool temps, I knew deer would be moving, so I decided to head in early. There were six does already feeding on the corn pile when I got there, and they blew out as I walked in, he says.

Things were quiet after that. About 30 minutes before the end of shooting light, a lone doe came in from directly downwind. Despite his Ozonics unit, the doe winded Stamper and blew out, too, making a commotion as she left. I figured that was the end of my hunt for the evening, Stamper says, So I put my bow down and quietly started to gather my stuff.

As shooting light drew to a close, something, a noise or a movement, alerted Stamper to another deer coming down the same trail the doe was on. It was the buck, and he was coming straight to the corn. For whatever reason, the buck didn't wind me. He came straight in like he owned the place, Stamper says.

(Mount your cameras where you need them: EZ T-Post Bracket)

The hunter didn't have time to get nervous. From the time he first noticed the buck to the time he released the arrow was probably less than a minute. He walked right in and stopped at 16 yards, slightly quartering away. There was just enough light left in the blind to see my pin. I drew, aimed, and released the arrow before I could even think about it, he says.

The shot looked good and the buck bolted. Stamper lost sight of the deer as it crested a hill and went down the other side. He gave it a bit of time and got out to look for his arrow.

I found the arrow about 20 yards up the trail. It had a little bit of blood and a hunk of meat on it, Stamper says. I looked for blood on the trail the deer had taken but didn't see any. That's when I started to get nervous and decided to back out and call my dad and a buddy with a tracking dog for extra help.

Stamper's buck scored 159 inches, his biggest to date. Image by Jeffrey Stamper

Once everyone had convened, they started the tracking dog down the trail. They went 100 yards, then 150, with very little blood. Stamper started to get nervous. Finally, the blood trail got heavier and the trio found the deer piled up about 200 yards from the spot of the shot.

The shot was good; it went in about midway back on the side closest to me and exited the off shoulder and took out both lungs, but the deer just didn't bleed much. Without the dog, it would have been hard to find my buck in the dark. We would have probably had to leave it overnight, says Stamper.

The buck's velvet-covered rack measured out right at 160 inches, making it Stamper's largest buck to date.

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