If Darren Ambrose had been hunting with a compound instead of a longbow on Nov. 18, 2009, chances are he wouldn’t have had an opportunity for a do-over.
He was so bedazzled by the whitetail sporting a drop tine and 21 other points that he shot over its back from a mere 10 yards. Fortunately for him, the whisper of the longbow’s string wasn’t loud enough to break the lovesick buck’s concentration, and an 8-yard follow-up was easy-peasy.
The only reason Darren was afield that day is because he was scheduled to work during opening weekend of Oklahoma’s rifle season. Unwilling to surrender dibs on the giant deer he’d discovered three weeks earlier, the (then) 51-year-old tried to swap shifts with four different coworkers.
When nobody agreed, he decided to devote every waking hour to bowhunting the deer he’d nicknamed Big Boy. He had Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get the job done.
Darren watched the sunrise from a fairly new setup on the Wednesday before the rifle opener. He was 17 feet high in a narrow strip of timber between pastures. He’d seen the drop-tined buck and two of its compadres enter that funnel on a previous trip, which is what prompted him to take a closer look and hang a stand there.
“There was hardly any wind the morning of the 18th, and the temperature was in the low 30s,” he said. “The first (of seven) deer I saw was a small spike at about 7:15.
“Almost an hour after I saw that, I heard something behind me,” Darren continued. “I turned and saw a big doe coming. I hadn’t killed a deer yet that year, and I thought, I guess I’ll shoot her.
“She came right under my treestand. As I was getting into shooting position, she looked up in the tree at me, and I froze. After a minute or two, she calmed down and continued browsing,” he said.
When Darren dared take his eyes off the doe, he saw a flash of brown and looked to his right.
The buck of his dreams was a mere 15 yards away at the tree line, apparently on the doe’s backtrail, which meant it was going to come even closer.
Darren’s second shot was from 8 yards. He saw his carbon Easton’s fletching protruding from the buck’s side as it fled afterward.
“I have never been so shook up in my life,” he said. “I was shaking uncontrollably. It was so bad that when I called my wife, Melany, she laughed at me!”
I had the privilege of measuring Darren’s buck eight years after he shot it. Not surprisingly, the deer reshuffled the BTR’s longbow records, claiming the No. 1 spot for Oklahoma.
Its composite score is 210 4/8 inches. — Read Recent Blog!
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