Testosterone Can Be a Buck’s Undoing.
Gazes locked with the biggest buck he’d ever seen, Tim Gosser froze in place, his rifle halfway between the shooting rail of his ladder stand and his shoulder. During those five minutes, the borrowed firearm went from weighing 7 to 70 pounds.
The unbelievably big 10-pointer was so close that Tim could almost count its eyelashes. The beefy whitetail had come out on top when hunter met hunted two years earlier, and Tim was in no hurry to see that happen again.
The deer definitely suspected something was amiss. Short of snapping the rifle to his shoulder, which would result in a fleeting shot at the buck’s posterior, all Tim could do was hope his shaking knees didn’t betray his presence.
Strangely, the buck fever-inspired palsy is precisely why the man from Liberty, Ky., wishes he’d taken up hunting long before he finally decided to give it a whirl in the year 2000.
“I started deer hunting a little late in life, about 11 years ago,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was missing. I really enjoy it. Love it, actually. I’ve now hunted with both muzzleloader and rifle, and I plan on taking up bowhunting in 2013.
“My brother hunts with a bow, and he’s been trying to get me to join him,” Tim added.
Because he lives in Casey County, where deer are plentiful and big ones not uncommon, Tim has enjoyed a lot of success during his first decade as a hunter. But it wasn’t until 2009 that he saw his first jaw-dropper.
Two of them.
At the same time.
“I really like to hunt in heavy cover,” he said. “Back during the ’09 season, I was set up in some thick stuff when I saw two huge bucks coming at me. Both had their noses to the ground.
“One had a rack that was all twisted and deformed. The other was a big 10-pointer with a cow-like body. They pulled up at about 100 yards from me,” he continued.
“They were both good ones, and when one entered a shooting lane, I shot,” Tim said. “Evidently, I completely missed it because I searched all day for sign of the deer or a hit, and I never found a trace.”
He has no idea which buck was in his crosshairs that day.
After encountering the two big deer, Tim’s attitude toward hunting changed. He became more amenable to holding out for a wallhanger.
Although he dreamed of seeing either one of those bucks, especially the big 10-pointer, the following season, he crossed paths with neither.
In 2011, he was eager to hunt the same 600-acre farm where he saw the impressive duo.
“The place has corn, alfalfa and white oaks, so it has lots of food sources,” the hunter said.
Three friends, Steven Wilson, Eric Wilson and Coy Turner, joined Tim at the farm on Nov. 13. Tim chose to sit in a ladder stand set up in a brushy 10 acres that had been logged, where visibility was limited except for 100 yards of an old logging road.
“The rest of it, you could hardly crawl through,” he said.
Such a close-quarters place isn’t exactly a rifle hunter’s usual choice, and Tim’s buddies ribbed him about it.
“Everybody was laughing at me because I was going to hunt down there, but, hey, it’s a good spot,” Tim said.
“Plus, I’d found some deer beds right up behind the stand.”
The friends met for breakfast at Tim’s cousin’s house.
“Johnnie (Wilson) likes to fix a big breakfast during deer season, so we had gravy and biscuits with eggs, bacon and tenderloin,” Tim said. “Afterward, we all took off to the farm, split up and rode four-wheelers to our stands.”
As it turned out, breakfast at Johnnie’s was the highlight of the day, since nobody saw a deer.
Their routine was the same on Sunday morning.
“I got in my stand about 6:00, about half an hour before daylight,” Tim said. “The day started out pretty windy, blowing probably 20 mph.”
About 9:30, Tim missed what should’ve been a gimme shot at a small 10-pointer. Convinced his gun was to blame, he got down, drove to a relative’s house and borrowed a semiauto .30-06 with a 3x9 scope. He made it back to his stand around 10:30.
“Before I climbed the ladder, I poured some dominant buck lure on a wick and hung it about 15 yards from my stand,” he said. “The wind was still whipping things around pretty badly.
“All of a sudden, I saw this deer coming about 40 yards down the old logging road. At first, I didn’t think it was the big deer, but then I saw the long curved rack and huge body.
“This buck had legs as thick as a cow’s. I felt it was definitely the big deer I had seen two years earlier, and that’s when my knees started shaking.
“It was just casually walking along, moving low-hanging branches out of the way with its antlers,” Tim continued. “It was heading directly toward the scented wick.”
The big 10-pointer did indeed go to the wick; stuck its nose to it, and got a big whiff. Tim, meanwhile, chose that moment to ease his rifle to his shoulder.
The buck sensed him, however, and the staring contest began.
“The two-seater ladder stand was about 15 feet high, and I was sitting down,” Tim said. “I don’t think the deer saw any movement, just more or less suspected something was wrong and didn’t know exactly what I was.
“Finally, it slowly turned back around and looked away. When it did that, I brought my gun up and got the scope on the deer,” he added. “When it turned back broadside, I took the shot.”
At the rifle’s report, the buck staggered back a step and collapsed. Its heart had been cleaved.
“When I got down and over there, I couldn’t believe the size of the buck,” he said. “It was so heavy (250 pounds, field-dressed) that I couldn’t get it on the four-wheeler, so I left to get help.”
When Tim returned, young Coy had already found and loaded the buck for him.
“That’s a 19-year-old for you,” Tim grinned.
Hunter: Tim Gosser
BTR Score: 181 3/8
– Photos by Dale Weddle
This article was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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