Yesterday I took this picture of Wayne Mills and the incredible buck he shot in Rappahannock County, Virginia, in October 2016.
I had seen pictures of this deer, but to see it in person was amazing. Main-frame 12-point with split brow tines…21 score-able points and stickers for character. Net 172 6/8 non-typical. Number 4 all-time in Virginia according to the latest Pope and Young book.
We spend a good 2 hours filming a video segment with Wayne and this giant, and you’ll see and hear the story on a new episode of BIG DEER TV this fall. Here’s the written version in Wayne’s words, which first appeared on the blog in November 2016:
I was given permission on a new place and began scouting it in early October.
The set up was classic. There was a good bedding area in a deep ravine, consisting of multiflora rose, honeysuckle and cedar trees with a small stream running through it. There are pasture fields on both sides of this bedding area, which is about 100-200 yards wide and 300-400 yards long. Downhill from the bedding area there is a strip of hardwoods 60-80 yards wide, running perpendicular to the ravine with another pasture beyond.
When I scouted it, I noticed white oaks and several persimmon trees loaded with fruit. The oaks were heavy with acorns. I set my stand 20 yards off an outside corner of one of the pastures in an area with heavy trails crossing about 25 yards away.
The heat wave we had been having kept me out of the woods for a week after I hung the stand. I also knew that the wind had to be from the North to hunt this setup. On Friday, October 21st we had a front moving in and forecast for winds to swing from the SW to the North after the front came through.
I got in the stand about 2:00 and waited for the shift in the wind. By 3:30 the wind had started blowing from the North. About 4:30 ruckus from birds alerted me to a gray fox moving along the field edge. At 5:15 the birds alerted me again, and I looked toward the ruckus to see a deer moving through the brush about 40 yards away, coming out of the bedding area.
I saw a rack. At first look, it looked unusual. I saw that it had good mass and spread and attached my release to my bowstring and no longer looked at his rack. As the deer moved down the trail it stopped and looked to its left. I saw a doe feeding under some oaks. My thought was “oh no, don’t go that way.” The buck continued moving along the same trail and passed 17 paces from my stand, offering a broadside shot.
I drew when he stepped behind a tree and shot as he reappeared. It was a steep angle, and I hit the deer high in the shoulder. He went right now, and expired right there. When I got to him I was awestruck…obviously buck of a lifetime.—Wayne Mills
Postscript: The buck weighed 195 pounds field-dressed. “I weigh 150, so getting him out of that ravine was a chore,” Wayne said. “After I wrestled him out of the ravine to a field, I got a tractor and loaded him into my truck.”