Brecken Kennedy hates déjà vu.
Dylin, his younger brother, loves it.
Even before Brecken read the text message from Dylin on Nov. 25, 2011, he knew what it was going to say. The same thing happened in 2010, when he’d hunted hard —every day for two weeks — only to have his brother step in and shoot a wallhanger from the stand Brecken had finally abandoned.
Invariably, the prize in the Kennedy brothers’ game of one-upsmanship is a glass-eyed deer mount.
Of course, if Brecken hadn’t told the family about the drop-tined buck he’d seen on the night of the 24th, the outcome might’ve been different in 2011. Otherwise, Dylin would’ve slept in the next morning.
But when it comes to deer hunting, there are few secrets among the Kennedys in North Manchester, Ind. The whole family — mom, dad and the boys’ sister, Jade — hunts, and none of them shoots little bucks.
The clan owns several acres in Wabash County, which means they have their choice of woodlots and swamps, most of which are surrounded by cornfields. And each has his or her own favorite stands.
“We’ve owned this land for as long as I can remember,” Dylin said. “Our stands are in the same spots each year.”
Brecken’s go-to setup in 2010 was at the edge of a swamp. That’s the one he hunted religiously, except for the day Dylin sat there and was overrun with bucks. Brecken hadn’t seen very many deer from the stand, but his brother had the choice of seven antlered deer.
The following year, Brecken saw the drop-tined buck and spilled the beans. He had to work the next day, a Wednesday, but Dylin was home from Manchester College.
“My brother had seen the big buck in a field right next to our Grandma’s driveway,” Dylin said. “The first things he noticed were a crab claw (which more resembles a tuning fork) and a drop tine.”
Matt, the boys’ father, had a tough time rousing Dylin the next morning, which is why Dylin reached the stand a few minutes later than usual.
Except for being warmer than expected, the morning was perfect. Sound carried a long way.
He chose a vantage point at the edge of the timber, overlooking a section of cut cornfield. Other than the drop-tined buck Brecken had spotted, which had also been photographed five miles away by a friend, none of the Kennedys had seen a mature deer to that point.
Soon after sunup, Brecken wondered how his brother was doing.
“He sent me a text at 8:00, asking if I’d seen anything,” Dylin remembered. “I thought about messing with him, but I didn’t.”
Moments after sending a negative reply, Dylin heard a couple of grunts. Eventually, he saw a large buck chasing a doe toward him.
“I didn’t know it was the same buck Brecken had seen; I just knew the right side was big enough,” he said.
Dylin, armed with his shotgun, was fully prepared to take the running shot. But before he could try it, both deer stopped in the field.
“The buck turned to look the other way, offering me a clean shot at about 60 yards,” he said. “I double-lunged it.
“I texted Brecken right away to let him know I’d shot the drop-tined buck,” he added. “He called me back immediately.
“He was so mad. I’m sure he hoped I was lying,” Dylin said.
After the call ended, Brecken managed to take off the rest of the day to join and help his brother.
Hunter: Dylin Kennedy
BTR Score: 195 5/8
– Photos Courtesy Dylin Kennedy
This article was published in the November 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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