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#SKRESuccess a 190

#SKRESuccess a 190" Whitetail

My hunt on October 6th 2023 was the end of a story that began three years ago. An unfavorable wind left me with out a tree stand to hunt during sweet November but I thought I could go sit on the ground and see what happens. Little did I know this would be my first encounter with HOBO (then 3 years old) and from there on a day wouldn’t pass that I didn’t think about this deer… After my first encounter and multiple trail camera pictures of the deer I could only fathom what he would turn into. 

That season came to a close and just like every other year the work never stopped stands were hung and cameras were set with anticipation of if HOBO would show back up on camera. I spent most of my time this season pursuing another buck and thinking that HOBO was 4 at the time I didn’t want to see him because I didn’t know if I could resist the temptation of shooting a 150 inch deer at 4 years old. My main goal for the season was to find his sheds I walked and walked but was not able to find them…

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Now it’s 2022 and just like he has every year prior (at least to my knowledge) he returns back to his summer range almost a mile away and other people are now getting pictures of the mid 160 class 5 year old and I am anxious waiting for him to return to his fall range on our property. But this season I only get to hunt a total of eight days for myself as my wife was pregnant with our second daughter but in those eight days I had one encounter with this deer. Later that season after I had tagged out on another buck me and my wife went out for the last day of rifle season where to her surprise and my expectation we had another encounter with HOBO at 200 yards but no opportunity presented it self… Seeing this incredible buck twice and keeping tabs on him with trail cameras I picked his sheds up on December 27th 2022, not knowing he had been wounded by a hunter on a neighboring property… 

Now it’s 2023 and over the last three years of documenting every trail camera photo and encounter I’ve come to the conclusion that I may have a chance at this deer early season versus late season. I got my first picture of him on July 1st and was blown away that he was already as big as he was the year prior. To my surprise as the summer progressed I got almost nothing but day light pictures of HOBO which made me realize he was living in the area and him now being six years old maybe he had shrank down his once wide home range. So now the work starts a new stand is hung where he has been a regular on camera the last two years and it’s the location I picked up his 5 year old sheds. 

Hunting the deer of my lifetime I wanted every advantage I could get. Early muzzle loader season comes and goes and I don’t see HOBO and I haven’t had a trail camera picture of him for thirty two days…but on September 22nd he shows back up an hour after sunset. I hunt a few more times but don’t want to over pressure the area knowing he is close by. Fast forward to the first week of October where we get the first cold front of the season and I was in able to make it out… the next day my wife asked if I could stay home with the girls (thinking to my self sure I’ll give up a day in early October for maybe a day I have to be in the stand in November) thankfully no pictures of HOBO that night. 

Now it’s October 6th 2023, I get off work and grab my daughters from daycare and my wife gets home right around 6:00 pm I nearly talk myself out of hunting but I decide to look at a journal I’ve kept over the last two season where I documented every photo I got of this buck (what direction he came from, the wind, pressure etc…) and decide I better just go it had been 7 days since I had a picture of him and the time before that was 6 days so being two days after this massive cold front and all the information I had I decided to go hunt even if all I was going to get was 30-45 minutes. 

I get to my stand and bump a small buck, it was one of the most beautiful evenings I’ve ever got to hunt. The weather was perfect not to hit not to cold and the deer were moving. After bumping that small buck six does came out then left… then three different does came out from across the field… but something was off they started running right at me then stopped on a dime and looked off to my left so I figured I’d better see what they were looking at. To my surprise it was HOBO 45 yards away and closing… I grab my bow and draw knowing that if I’m not drawn by the time he gets there i won’t have a chance at this now 190 inch buck. I’m at full draw for what seems like an eternity… my entire body starts shake and he looks up at me and knows something isn’t right and gets ready to run. I take my shot, and watch blood spray from the entry as he runs away 30 yards, 100 yards, 200 yards I watch him as long as I can and don’t see him go down… 

I call everyone who knows about this giant deer and let them know I shot him but decided to give him plenty of time so we wait until 11:00 pm before we take up the trail, there’s blood on impact and as he ran through the neighbors cut corn the blood never stopped 100 yards in and theres corn stubble painted from top to bottom the trail getting better and better 200 yards in and we find a puddle filled with bubbles, 300 yards we find my broken arrow and blood stops…. We look and see he doubled back in this cut corn field but no HOBO so we stop and stand there trying to figure out where he could have gone. 

Standing there confused at the end of a blood trail every deer hunter dreams of I turn around and look up another 20 yards and to my amazement there he was… laying right where I lost sight of him. I stand there in amazement admiring this 190 inch giant deer that had consumed me over the last three years, overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts I can’t believe it’s over all the work and time had finally paid off. 

 

Jeremiah Crawford - Released Outdoors

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