Tennessee –-(Ammoland.com)- Fifty-year-old Tim Davis of Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, only had 300 acres to hunt in Maury, County, Tennessee. However, Davis and most of the landowners who adjoined his property agreed to let bucks that would score 120 or less walk. Although Davis had a small property to hunt, by cooperating with his neighbors, they were able to manage for trophy deer on 1,500-2,000 acres.
“The State of Tennessee has a two-buck limit,” Davis says. “So, when you only can harvest two bucks per season, you become very picky about the bucks you want to take.” This was one reason that Davis believed that most of the landowners with adjoining lands agreed to let bucks that would score 120-inches or less survive until the next season. “I've had the opportunity to take many bucks that will score 120 or less each season,” Davis reports. “However, I've been hunting deer most of my life. If I want venison to eat, I’ll harvest a doe. My longtime dream has been to one day have the opportunity to take a buck of a lifetime.”
The property Davis hunts is nothing special – a hay field, some acorn trees and grass in the hayfield. On December 6, 2015, Davis went to a fallen tree on the edge of the hay field grass that he used as a blind and a stand site. “Generally I’d see more deer in the afternoons than in the mornings, so I usually didn’t hunt this spot until late in the afternoon,” Davis explains. “On the way to my stand, I spooked a 2-1/2-year old, 8-point buck.”
Davis watched does filter out into the field on both sides of the fallen tree he was using as a stand. The deer still had plenty of green grass in the field to feed on, and the temperature was about 40 degrees. Davis had four different trail cameras set-up on this land. Although he'd seen several nice bucks, he didn’t have any pictures of the buck he finally harvested. “But historically, I'd taken my biggest bucks off this property during the first two weeks of December,” Davis explains. “After the rut was over by the end of November, possibly the more mature bucks expanded their home ranges to search for does coming in to estrus at the very end of the rut.”
After checking his trail-camera pictures, Davis knew a huge 9-point buck was on the land. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, 2015, during blackpowder season, Davis had an opportunity to take that buck. “When I saw the big 9 point, he was at 200-yards,” Davis recalls. “I didn’t want to risk the chance of wounding or missing him at that distance. So, I let him walk.”
Later in the season, Davis had that 9-point buck in even closer and bagged him. He scored 140-inches. Now Davis only had one tag left, and he was hoping to use that tag to take a super buck.
Davis had jumped another big 9-point buck and spotted him out on the field on another hunt. Although he didn’t have any trail camera pictures of the second 9-pointer, he judged that buck’s rack to be 145-150 inches and decided to hunt him on December 6, 2015. About 15 minutes before final shooting light, Davis spotted this buck of a lifetime about 200-yards out in the field. “On that day, I had a southeasterly wind, which was favorable,” Davis explains. “The wind always dictates to which stand site I’ll go.”
Davis had noticed some does off to his left, feeding in a downwind direction. Davis sprayed Tink’s 69, so that the wind would carry that attractant downwind of him. Turning around and looking to his right, Davis spotted a huge buck with his head down, feeding. When Davis got his binoculars up and saw the buck’s rack, he immediately thought, “Oh, my gosh.” He had no question in his mind that this buck was a shooter, with long G2s and long G3s. Davis guessed him to be about a 160-class buck. Davis quickly mounted his Thompson Center Icon .308 with a 3X9 Nikon scope and put the crosshairs right on the deer’s chest. At the report of the rifle, the buck took off running and vanished out of the field. Davis immediately called a friend, Jim Highsmith.
“I think I've just killed the biggest deer I've ever seen,” Davis told Highsmith. “I want to give my deer at least 20 or 30 minutes after the shot to go down, but darkness is almost here. What do you think I should do?” Highsmith suggested that Davis at least go over to the spot where the deer had been standing and see if he could find blood or hair to confirm that he did hit the deer.
“I went into panic mode when I couldn’t find a blood trail,” Davis remembers. “I thought surely I hadn’t missed the deer.” After the shot, adrenaline, fear and excitement pushed Davis farther into the woods. He was fairly certain he knew the direction the deer had traveled after leaving the field. “When I got about 50 yards from where I’d shot the deer, I began to smell that musky odor that a buck gives off when he's rutting,” Davis says. “I thought that either he had made a scrape or was down really close to me.” Davis walked another 10 yards and spotted big, white horns. The sight of that buck almost brought me to tears.” Davis says. “I’d been hunting a deer like that all my life and had let many of young bucks walk. Finally the buck of my dreams was in front of me, and I’d found him.”
BTR Score – Buckmasters’ Composite Score – Number of Inches: 185-7/8
Official Buckmasters’ Score: 168-2/8 (doesn’t include inside spread of main beams)
This is an excerpt from John E. Phillips newest book “Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucks”. Click here http://johninthewild.com/books/#deer to get more info about this deer hunting book and other deer hunting books by John E. Phillips.