Today’s cool guest post from Kentucky bowhunter Alex Hamilton, who shot the biggest deer of his life earlier this season:
Mike: This was the third season I had been after this buck.
After first getting pictures of him in 2015, I was eager to get out and learn more about the buck’s travel pattern and core area. After tons of trail camera pictures and multiple sightings the deer vanished just weeks after the season opened, never to be seen again for the rest of that year and also the following season. Since the buck had vanished for almost a year and half, I assumed the worst. He had either been killed by another hunter or died from other reasons.
About the beginning of August I was out doing a little scouting one afternoon. On my way back to the house I passed a field with an absolute giant of deer standing right in the middle of it. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was by far the biggest deer I had ever seen in person! I was anxious to get permission from the landowner the next morning.
After giving me permission to hunt the landowner showed me a giant shed he had found during the spring. After looking at it and looking back through some old cam pictures I had I couldn’t believe my eyes—the shed was from the buck that had vanished 2 long years ago! I couldn’t wait for the next free day I had to get cameras out and strategize a stand placement to kill this buck.
With trail cameras out and a stand hung, I started getting regular pics and appearances of this buck again. It was all going so well and almost too good to be true. I was thinking, “This is going to be the easiest opening weekend kill ever!”
Two weeks before season, it happened again just like had 2 years earlier—all of a sudden he vanishes! My heart sank. I couldn’t believe that after I had it all figured out, he had disappeared again.
Opening weekend arrived with still no more sightings or pics of the buck. Only good thing I had going for me is that it was the coolest opening weekend in Kentucky I had ever been a part of. With highs in the low 70s and getting down in the 50s during the nights, it was absolutely perfect for early bow season.
With the first week of the season gone I had high hopes for another good buck, a wide 8-point, that had started showing up. I had every intention of shooting him if he walked in while I was in the stand. I headed out on September 9. After a few hours, and with about 30 minutes left till dark, I texted my buddy to see if he had seen much. As I raised my head back up, I noticed a large rack thrashing the thicket it front of me. I had no idea what deer it was at first since I couldn’t see the whole rack, but I knew it was really good buck and I got things ready for the shot.
As I pulled back and got ready to shoot, the buck took a step out of the brush and looked in my direction. That was the moment I realized it was him! I got the pin set on the vitals and hit the release. It was a perfect shot. The Vanishing Buck made a complete circle around me and died 20 yards from the stand.–Alex
What a great story and yet another example of how a mature whitetail buck can be so canny and unpredictable, here one minute and gone the next. Way to go Alex!–M.H.