Tyler LaMond Takes a Freak 150-Inch 8-Pointer with 13-Inch Inside Spread
|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||November 8, 2022|
|Place:||Powhatan County, Virginia|
Tyler LaMond has a system for killing big deer. The full-time fireman also owns a busy tree trimming service, and that means spare time is a rare thing. LaMond has figured out how to maximize his time in the stand and had already put his plan to work earlier in the season with a big archery buck.
I guess you can say it's a system, LaMond says of his typical hunt style. I look for small parcels of property, say 10-90 acres, that border larger pieces of timber or ag land. Then I go in and plant food plots and put out cameras. I'll plant late beans and fence them off until right before season. Then I'll open them up and draw deer off the neighboring properties. It's a lot of time and labor, but it works, LaMond explained.
In a typical year, I like to have 12-13 of these properties in a 200 or so mile radius of my house. I've got this old beat up Honda Civic that I can throw my gear in and hit the road to hunt. That old car has hauled more big deer in the trunk than most pickups, LaMond said.
Trail cameras play an important role in LaMond's hunting style. I'll watch the cameras for all the properties. Then I'll hunt the first shooter buck to show up until I get him, or until another larger buck shows on another property. I won't hunt on a bad wind, no matter how regular the deer is on camera. Virginia deer gets lots of pressure and I try to keep the places I hunt as unpressured as possible, LaMond said.
His method worked for the early October archery season with a 140-class 9-pointer, but now, with muzzleloader season open, LaMond didn't have a buck on camera he wanted to go after. We had this new piece of property that we hadn't spent a ton of time on. It was about 90 acres, big for us, and had a real nice river bottom funnel on it, LaMond said.
The property bordered a large farm with lots of cropland. Even though he hadn't gotten any shooters on camera from the property, LaMond knew it looked too good not to hold a big deer or two. Last year I watched a giant 8-pointer skirt around the edge of my cameras to enter an ag field. If I hadn't seen him with my own eyes, I would have never known he was there based on trail camera evidence, so I knew there could be bucks on the property we weren't seeing, LaMond said.
Around a week into November, a big cold front pushed through the area. LaMond knew that mature bucks would be on their feet with the changing weather pattern. His cameras confirmed his suspicion. All morning on the 8th, my cameras were going crazy. I knew I needed to be in a tree, but I had a big tree trimming job lined up for my crew that day, LaMond said.
As the morning's work drug by, LaMond constantly found himself checking his cameras. Finally, just after lunch, he gave the crew his instructions for the remainder of the day and ran home to get ready to hunt.
Even though they didn't have any good bucks on camera for the new 90 acres, LaMond and his hunting buddy decided to go there for the afternoon hunt because it was close by. I had some stand sites set up, but based on wind and suspected travel routes, I decided to take my climber down into the river bottom and set up there for the afternoon, LaMond said.
Once he was in the tree, LaMond checked his phone for the time. It was early by his standards, about 1:30 in the afternoon. LaMond checked his phone a few times to take care of work details. Just before 3:00, he noticed a deer moving through thick cover about 130 yards away.
As LaMond watched the deer, it drew closer and closer, but never gave the him a good view of its head. LaMond lifted his binoculars and studied the deer's body. It had the appearance of a mature buck. LaMond watched as the deer drew nearer. At 60 yards, the buck passed through enough of an opening that LaMond got a glimpse of its rack. I thought it was a mature buck at that point and decided I was going to take the shot if I got one. I still didn't know exactly how big it was, just that it looked like it was at least 4.5 years old, LaMond said.
The days leading up to muzzleloader season had been busy. LaMond had taken his muzzleloader out to check the zero, but something had been wrong. He couldn't get his previously accurate rifle to group. I didn't have time to figure it out, LaMond said. Then my dad told me to come borrow his because it was sighted in and ready to go.
LaMond lifted the borrowed rifle to his shoulder. By this point, the buck was at 40 yards and LaMond still couldn't get a good look at its rack because of the thick cover. He scanned down the trail the buck was following and noticed a small opening about 10 yards ahead.
I put the crosshairs on the opening, and when the buck's shoulder passed through, I pulled the trigger, LaMond said.
The combination of billowing smoke and thick cover kept LaMond from being able to see the buck's reaction to the shot. The buck bolted straight for the hunter and stopped just 25 yards away. LaMond frantically began to reload his rifle. He watched as the buck staggered, then fell. Even though the deer was close, LaMond didn't see the expected curve of a main beam sticking up from the tall grass where it lay. He started to question himself on whether he had just shot a mature buck.
After giving the buck some time, curiosity took over. LaMond climbed down and approached the downed deer. When I saw him laying there, it honestly took my breath away, LaMond said. The buck was a giant 8 with long tines and one kicker. Even though LaMond knew he would score well, he was surprised at the narrow frame. The buck would eventually tape out at 150 4/8 inches with just 13 1/2 inches of inside spread. The rack had one kicker off the left G2 and was otherwise clean and symmetrical.
Word soon spread about the buck. Even though LaMond had never seen the deer, others in the area knew him well. "Within an hour of posting pictures on social media, I got messages from at least six people that had photos of the buck on their trail cameras. It was almost a miracle the buck was still around," he said. "A father told me he and his son had the buck just out of shotgun range during the recent youth season. Another hunter had the buck in bow range on a farm two and a half miles from where I killed him. He came to full draw on the deer but never got a clear shot angle and had to let back down and watch him walk away."