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Kentucky Bowhunter Fills Tag on Opening Day 3 Years in a Row

White-Tailed Deer


Kentucky Bowhunter Fills Tag on Opening Day 3 Years in a Row

Posted 2023-12-14  by  Josh Honeycutt

Weston Sloan’s big velvet buck is the third consecutive one he’s taken on opening day of the Bluegrass bow season

Rack Report Details
Buck:158 inches
Time of Year:September 2, 2023
Place:Northeastern Kentucky
Weapon: Compound bow 
Image: ImageBy_Weston_Sloan_rack_4

Weston Sloan made it three for three (in three consecutive years) during the 2023 Kentucky bow season opener. Image courtesy of Weston Sloan

Weston Sloan believes his 2023 Kentucky buck was 5 ½ years old. And for his slice of heaven in northeastern Kentucky, that’s a pretty old deer. Although not completely certain, he thinks it’s the same big-bodied, wide-antlered 8-pointer he passed last season — a decision he’s thankful for now.

Sloan has leased the farm he hunts for about three years. The area consists of mountains, rolling bean fields, small draws, and fingers of timber. And he’s found the X on that property.

“I’ve been fortunate to harvest a mature deer over 150 on the opening night of archery season three years in a row,” Sloan said. “I’ve only spent three to four hours in the stand on opening evening each year and been able to harvest the shooter I was targeting.”

Image: ImageBy_Weston_Sloan_rack_2

Obviously, the pre-season anticipation was high. Image courtesy of Weston Sloan

This season was no different. September 2 brought warm temperatures but fortunately, the wind direction was good. Around 3 p.m., Sloan settled into the stand. The mosquitoes were eating him up, but he stayed strong in hopes the big deer would stick to its pre-season pattern.

Waiting it out, he scanned the area. Timber towered to the rear. To his left, a creek bottom weaved through the landscape. To his right, a bean field blew in the wind. In front was a homemade gravity feeder with thick greenbrier beyond. The immediate location served as a great pinch point and staging area.

As the hunt started, numerous deer filtered in and out of view. Six does and fawns fed through. Then, a spike buck. After that, a 2-year-old 8-pointer. Some turkeys even meandered in the distance. A squirrel darted around, too.

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Sloan’s 2022 Bluegrass buck was a dandy. Image courtesy of Weston Sloan

Then, he spotted the unmistakable, 20-inch-wide, 10-point rack of his target buck. “He stood on the point to my left after circling that direction while coming off the mountain behind me,” Sloan said. “He was trying to get downwind, but I was above him, and he couldn’t wind me. After what seemed like forever, he finally decided to commit and started working his way in. Of course, he stayed in the tallest, nastiest greenbriers.”

Eventually, the buck walked on in. Just as it did, Sloan felt the wind shift. He had to shoot now, or risk being winded. Sloan drew back, anchored, and took the broadside, 33-yard shot. The deer ran out of sight.

“We were all on cloud nine and super stoked,” Sloan said. “I got back to camp and showed everyone the footage. He couldn’t have made it far.”

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His 2021 Kentucky deer was a great one, too. Image courtesy of Weston Sloan

After giving it some time, Sloan started blood-trailing the deer. He and his hunting partner, Tanner Edenfield, began searched for sign. It was everywhere. About 200 yards later, he recovered the buck.

“I’ve been very blessed to harvest over 20 Pope & Young whitetails with a bow,” Sloan said. “Each year, I find myself pushing a little harder and a little further. There’s nothing in this world besides God, family, and a few close friends. But must I say, I live, eat, sleep, and breath bowhunting mature whitetails in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.”

This one scored nearly 160 inches.


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