Before closing on their new Kentucky home and land last September, Jimmy and Scarlett Tapp put out trail cameras. A day later, they began amassing photos of a giant whitetail they began calling Stickers, for obvious reasons.
The landowner had retrieved images of the deer the previous season as well, when it was carrying 50 or 60 fewer inches.
“I didn’t think that was possible,” Jimmy told Lisa Price, who’s writing his story for Rack magazine. “I’d never seen a buck like that.”
Since the Tapps had never hunted the area, they were reluctant to traipse too far into its interior. They monitored only the edges, but that yielded more than 1,000 photos of Stickers in 55 straight days.
It’s easy to understand why the glorious animal was at the top of their wish list.
Jimmy, Scarlett and their son, Justin, were careful not to put too much pressure on the buck. They hunted only when conditions were right.
“We were just focused on hunting that deer without messing it up,” he said.
One of those perfect-condition days was Nov. 5, a little more than a month after they secured the deed. The whole family went afield that afternoon.
Jimmy found himself in deer central, thanks to a hot doe. By 5:10, he’d seen 28 whitetails.
“I let a 160 go that was chasing the doe right in front of me,” he said.
The last two arrivals were a doe and Stickers. The doe walked right beside his tree, followed by her grunting suitor. Stickers actually walked into Jimmy’s pull-up rope.
“My heart just went berserk,” he said, adding he was watching the deer through the grate of his treestand’s platform.
The crossbow bolt nearly nailed the animal to the ground, though it stood back up and walked off while Jimmy watched incredulously.
The family recovered the deer the next morning with the help of a tracking dog.
Its BTR score is 216 7/8 inches.
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