Bilateral Arm Amputee Kills a Monster Buck From a Climbing Stand
|Rack Report Details|
|Buck:||155 inches green|
|Time of Year:||Nov. 4, 2021|
|Place:||Butler County, Kentucky|
Jason Koger has always been a passionate deer hunter. But that passion was in danger when, in March of 2008, Koger was out riding his ATV around his farm to check for storm damage. In the low light, Koger didn't notice the downed power lines across the road. When his ATV made contact with the live lines, the Owensboro, Kentucky, hunter took 7200 volts through his arms.
When he woke up from a three-day coma, he learned that he had been flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where doctors had been forced to amputate both of his arms to save his life. One of the first things I thought about when I woke up was that I'd never be able to hunt again, said Koger.
There was no danger of that. A little over a month after his accident, the pull of turkey season led Koger to rig his shotgun so that he could hold and fire it with his prosthetic arms.
Koger was overjoyed to find that he could continue hunting as he had always done. Being out in nature, seeing what God has created, that's what gives me the drive to do what I want to do, he said.
That drive to hunt led Koger to take a massive 185-inch buck with a crossbow from a shooting house in January 2019. Hunting pushes me, Koger said. I started hunting from the ground with a rifle, then from blinds and elevated shooting houses with a crossbow, then, eventually, I climbed a ladder stand.
This year, Koger was chasing another big buck on his Butler County, Kentucky, farm. He first saw the buck on his cameras in early October, but never in daylight and never in person. In late October, Koger got photos of the buck three to four days in a row near one of his ladder stands. I climbed up in the stand right before Halloween and actually had the buck come in to 40 yards. I just wasn't happy with the shot I had, so I let him walk, he said.
After that day, the buck disappeared again. It was almost two weeks later when he showed back up at the opposite end of Koger's long, narrow farm. He was between half and three-quarters of a mile from where I had seen him the first time, Koger said.
Koger didn't have a ladder stand in the area, but a good friend had left his climber hanging in the tree after a successful hunt a few days earlier. I called my buddy and told him to leave his stand there, that I was going to try to use it to go after this buck, Koger said.
His first attempt at using a climbing stand with prosthetic arms didn't go smoothly. I was a little uneasy. I hadn't used a climbing stand since 2008. I wasn't sure how I was even going to be able to get my crossbow up if I was even able to climb, Koger said. He made it about 10 feet up the tree and decided to try it from there.
That first evening, I saw does and small bucks, even being that low in the tree. It gave me the confidence to try it again, he said.
After the previous day's success, Koger decided to try it again the next evening. This time, he made it 15 to 20 feet high and felt comfortable.
I had a pull rope attached to my crossbow. After getting everything situated, I reached down and wrapped the rope around one of my hooks. I pulled the rope up to my mouth, then bit down to hold it in place. I stepped on the rope, let go with my mouth, and reached down for another wrap. I kept doing this until my crossbow was just about in reach, Koger said. Then my foot slipped. My bow started falling. Just before it hit the ground, I managed to step on the rope to stop the fall. My crossbow was just inches above the ground. I started all over and finally got my bow up and ready.
It was a slow evening, then finally Koger saw the buck he was after. The big deer made it into range, but it was just too dark for a shot. For a second time, Koger watched the buck walk away.
Koger repeated the process the next evening. Around 3 p.m., a pair of does came down the trail the buck had used the night before. They acted nervous and kept looking back up the trail. Five minutes later, Koger saw antlers. It was his buck. The deer was 60 to 70 yards away and heading his way. Koger readied his crossbow.
Just before the buck stepped into range, one of the does bolted, taking the buck with her. The buck chased the doe out of sight in the heavy cover. A few minutes later, Koger heard leaves rustling as the doe came back into sight. The buck was still right behind her. Finally, the buck got into range and offered Koger a good shot. He leveled his crossbow and squeezed the trigger. The shot looked good and he was almost positive he heard the big buck crash. He gave it another half hour, then called his buddy and started climbing down. Once his buddy arrived, the two started down the trail. The blood was heavy, and the hunters found the buck just 40 yards down the trail.
Koger's buck featured an 8-point main frame, but the most outstanding feature of the rack was the double split brows that measured over 12 inches in length. Koger's buck green-scored 155 inches.
God has blessed me with having the faith to live like I did before the accident, Koger said, and being outdoors is a huge part of that life.
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