Call it kismet.
Had Kenny Corwin arrived at his hunting spot a few minutes earlier or later last December, there would be one more 20-gauge shotshell in his box of slugs and quite a few more dollars in his bank account right now.
In fact, the only thing that didn’t work out for the Ohio deer hunter in 2011 was that his kids weren’t with him when Lady Luck smiled, which means he didn’t get to share the moment. It also meant there was no video footage of the buck that tied his tongue in knots when he called his father after shooting it.
It was his father who had shown him the giant whitetail well into the 2011 season. Kenny was getting ready for an afternoon hunt when Steve Corwin called to tell him a super buck was lying out in a field near their farm.
“I stopped what I was doing and drove the 10 miles down to where Dad and a buddy were watching this buck in a picked bean field,” Kenny said. “Sixty yards from the buck was a doe lying beside a fencerow.”
Although the animals were 400 yards from the gawkers, the men could tell the buck was enormous even without the aid of binoculars. With glasses, they could tell its tall rack was pushing 200 inches and close to 2 feet wide.
“It was the biggest buck I’d ever seen alive,” Kenny said. “It looked to be an 11-pointer, and it was within a quarter-mile of a farm I had permission to hunt. I couldn’t help but think it might be bedding in a patch of woods on that farm.”
Of course, it couldve been wishful thinking, too.
The shotgun opener was just around the corner, and Kenny could think of little else besides the deer he nicknamed Maximus, after his favorite character in the movie “Gladiator.”
“Twice during gun season, the wind was right for me to sneak into the patch of woods, but I never saw the buck. There was no reason for him to move very far with all the standing corn, water and green briars.
“During one of those trips, I saw a very impressive 12-pointer that I’d have taken, if given the chance,” he continued. “I knew there was going to be three more months for me to bowhunt Maximus. Up to that point, I knew nobody else had taken him, because such a deer’s demise would’ve been big news in our community.”
On Sunday, the last day of gun season, the local farmers hit the fields with their combines to harvest the corn, which had been too wet to harvest until then. Every hunter was out to see what might get pushed out of the standing stalks.
It looked like a pumpkin festival with all the orange surrounding the fields.
“A lot of hunters were out there,” Kenny said. “A bunch of deer were flushed out, too, but no shots were fired. Nobody saw Maximus, or at least they didn’t admit it.
“I bowhunted him three more times in early December, but it was tough getting into the woods because there was no longer any corn to cover my entry. It’s a very long walk out in the open,” he said.
Kenny began riding his four-wheeler most of the way around the field’s perimeter, and then he walked the last few hundred yards to his stand.
Ohio’s second gun season was Dec. 17 and 18.
“The first day was a Saturday. My son had basketball practice that morning, and I had to be there to assist, but I was home before noon,” Kenny said. “As I changed into my hunting clothes, I told my wife I was going to run out, kill this big buck and return in a little while. She knew I was obsessed with getting a shot at this buck.
“It was well past noon when I got to the farm and unloaded the four-wheeler. I started across the field and was going in from a different direction due to the wind,” he continued. “When I parked, I noticed a gut pile and was very concerned that someone else had taken Maximus. I found out later that it had belonged to the 12-pointer I saw earlier in the season.
“As I started walking into the wind, I had about 300 yards of open corn stubble to cross to reach the edge of the trees. Around the perimeter is a border of tall Quail Unlimited grass.
“As I was walking up, something looked out of place,” he added. “I stopped and thought I could see several long tines sticking above the grass, like a buck’s rack,” he said.
When Kenny raised his shotgun to peer at the fat grass blades through his scope, he realized he was looking at the buck of his dreams. Maximus was coming out of the thicket, following the same path Kenny had planned to take to his stand.
The deer had to have walked beneath his stand.
“If I’d been a few minutes earlier, I might have spooked him; a half-hour later, I would never have seen him. It was as if we were destined to meet,” he said.
“So there I was, in the middle of an 80-acre field of cut corn, and he was headed my way at a steady walk,” Kenny continued. “I quickly removed my backpack, placed it on the ground and laid down flat behind it to get what cover I could and also to use it as a gun rest. He didn’t see me because he was still in the tall grass.”
When Maximus stepped out of the weeds, so did a small 8-pointer. The deer were moving slowly, but definitely getting closer.
“I was hunting with a T/C Encore 20 gauge, sighted-in at 200 yards. But as long as he was getting closer, I saw no need to squeeze the trigger,” Kenny said. “I was settled on the deer and tracking his every step.
“Surprisingly, I was dead calm. I even checked in front of the barrel to make sure I was not going to shoot a corn stalk,” he added.
When the buck was about 175 yards from Kenny, it stopped and stared in the hunter’s direction, possibly at the strange dirt clod staring back at it.
“I put the crosshairs right on the shoulder, a tad high, and touched off the round,” he said. “I hit him in the neck-shoulder area within an inch of where I was aiming. His head went straight up, and he dropped on the spot!
“Suddenly, I wasn’t calm anymore,” Kenny grinned. “I went completely nuts, shaking like crazy. I called my dad, and he said he would be right there. He later said I’d told him at least five times in the first minute that I’d killed the big one.
“From the minute I first saw this buck, he was on my mind constantly, whether I was hunting or not. I even dreamed about him. Whenever I was off work and the wind was right, I was plotting to tag this buck.
“Destiny brought us together in that stubble,” he said.
Hunter: Kenny Corwin — Photos Courtesy of Kenny Corwin
BTR Official Score: 183 4/8
BTR Composite Score: 207 2/8
This article was published in the Winter 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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