2020 Kentucky Buck


Active Member
I still mostly just follow along and read here. I gain a lot of motivation and ideas from you folks, so thanks to each of you for that!

It's been five or six years since I took a buck on our Kentucky property. The emphasis is always on the kids' hunting, and they do well enough that I don't feel a strong pull to fill a tag there. My kids are nearly grown now so other interests and plans reduce the number of outings they get these days. I had some chores to do on the property and a little work inside the cabin that I wanted to finish before we focus on hunting this fall. Not much time and it didn't work for any of the family to come along, but I squeezed in a weekend trip myself the weekend of 9/12. Since archery was open, I took my gear along to at least log a couple of hours of quiet time in camo.

Trail cameras said virtually all of the buck movement shifted from an hour before dark to 3:00 am right around September 1. Nothing unusual there, and I was expecting that. I did do some thinning/TSI of a small area above our largest beanfield two winters ago, and this summer the bucks began bedding there. I avoided that area until Saturday evening. The beans were still green and there was a band of thunderstorms approaching. I had been toying with the idea of hunting from the ground along the beanfield near that bedding area, and I had the right wind direction for it. I tiptoed along the field edge, tucked into the edge of the woods just uphill from a small cedar, and sat still. It was hot, mosquitoes were eating me a small bite at a time, and my back and legs were soon complaining. But I was determined to sit still since deer could literally pop out at 10 yards without warning.

With the approaching weather, light started fading very early. Shooting time wasn't to officially end until 8:15 but when 7:30 rolled around I was already losing light. Just about then I caught movement to my right, and saw antlers bobbing above the beans. Big Fork stepped a few yards further from the woodline, and proceeded to thrash the beans with his antlers. Velvet was hanging and he was obviously irritated by it. He was at 40 yards, and not positioned where I could shoot. He stayed there for more than 10 minutes, totally engrossed in what he was doing, and only occasionally stopping to look around.

This buck has been living on and around our farm the past three years. He's only 3.5, but his long tines and uniqueness had me considering hunting him as we watched him grow this summer. We get some pictures every year of 4.5 or older deer, but don't often encounter them in the flesh. In August I saw this buck in the beans with a bachelor group that included a good 3.5 year old ten point. Standing together, Big Fork was far more impressive than that nice 10. I decided then that I probably couldn't pass him up if I got the chance this year.

So as Big Fork thrashed beans, I slowly adjusted my position until I could shoot without twisting my body. He still needed to take a couple of steps to clear a thin twig in front of me, and to turn broadside. He did, and was at 38 yards when I took the shot.

He's my biggest archery deer to date. Pictures are from the next morning.
20200913_093409 resize.jpg
20200913_093213 resize.jpg