A buck for the ages

By Jim Shupe
For the Courier

Outfitter Bob O’Connell and I had been after this legendary buck for days. He was rarely seen, and bedded up in heavy cover for most of the day. Bob’s guides would get glimpses of him from time to time, but the reclusive buck was much too wary to move during daylight hours.

For two days I had been hunting over a water hole and game trails through heavy cover. Although I had seen some really good bucks, the one they called “Stickers” was in a class by himself. He was reported to have more than 60 points and an inside spread of more than 30 inches, which is pretty unheard of for a whitetail buck.

The morning of day three found my guide and I sitting over yet another game trail that meandered through a thicket of pine scrub and small brush. We watched a huge eight-point feed on acorns, and I was sorely tempted to take this buck, but visions of Stickers kept me focused on my quest for the elusive giant.

Back in camp after the morning hunt, we found out that one of Bob’s guides had seen Stickers bed down in some thick cover. Bob immediately decided to do a deer drive using himself and two of his guides. The plan was to bump the deer out of the heavy cover and force him to run across an open field.

My guide and I positioned ourselves on a tall two-man ladder stand on the edge of the field in a hedge row. I half-heartedly checked my scope power, made sure that my rifle was on safety, and practiced several shooting scenarios. Seconds later, I was shocked when Bob sent my guide a text message that the monster was on the move!

We were focused on the edge of the field when a buck appeared that looked like he had canoe paddles sticking out sideways from his head. The big deer was jittery and looked across the open field. He then decided to run the hedge row towards us rather than risk running across the open field. I turned down my scope power and time seemed to stand still as the monstrous buck trotted in our direction.

My guide grunted as the buck approached our stand, but Stickers continued to move away from us. As if on autopilot, I found his shoulder in my scope and squeezed the trigger. I was in disbelief when the mythical buck fell to the ground. My guide and I high-fived each other and we were as giddy as school boys as we celebrated in our success at this unlikely endeavor.

Bob and the other guides met us, and we walked up as a group to view the fallen giant. I was filled with a sense of awe and reverence upon approaching the buck. His tremendous spread and countless points sticking out in every direction were almost too much to absorb.

Bob and his guides counted all of the points three times before they reached a consensus at 65! His inside spread was more than 31 inches, and his outside spread was 38 inches. This was the buck of several lifetimes, and I was pretty much in shock the remainder of the day. For once in my life, a buck was much bigger than I ever expected, and I hope that all deer hunters get to experience this magical feeling at least once during their hunting careers.