Kyle Robertson’s rushed quarter-mile hike was a lot faster going than coming.
Kyle Robertson now knows what all the fuss is about.
His best friend, James Boley, already knew, which is why Kyle took up hunting a couple of years ago.
“Before that, I’d hunted a little bit, but nothing serious,” said the 23-year-old. “James did a lot of it, and he got me started.”
In 2013, Kyle added bowhunting to his list of favorite pastimes. He was stoked at the prospect of arrowing a fantastic buck that had been photographed by his trail camera. Even before retrieving the photo, he knew the property he hunts in Kentucky has the potential to grow big deer.
“Todd County has a good combination of crops, cover and hardwoods, and I have permission to hunt probably 1,000 acres of private farmland that’s broken up into smaller tracts,” he said.
“I put out trail cameras in July, experimenting with several attractants like corn and minerals. Toward the end of the month or during the first part of August, I started getting trail cam pictures of a huge buck in velvet — still growing, but it already had a wide rack with great mass and lots of abnormal points,” he added.
Kyle had a goal.
“I probably had 20 to 25 pictures of that buck in velvet,” he said. “But I never did get a photo of the deer in daylight. It was completely nocturnal.”
About 14 days before Kentucky’s bow season opened, the big deer disappeared, and it stayed gone for the first three or four weeks. Kyle hunted several different locations, but he never saw the buck at the top of his wish list.
One day in late September, however, the hunter checked one of his cameras and discovered photos of the buck, the first sans velvet. It was every bit as impressive as he remembered.
The buck continued posing for the cameras throughout the month of October, but never during the day.
“I got him mostly between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.,” Kyle said. “He’d throw me for a loop every once in a while and come in at 8 p.m., right after dark.”
Kyle was hunting a 250-acre tract, but he was focusing on the 30 acres the big deer frequented. That area included a small, north-south hollow with a creek bed and hardwoods on either side. A picked cornfield was west of it, and a soybean field and a strip of bush-hogged CRP was to the east.
Kyle had set up a pop-up blind where the CRP joined the hollow north of the bean field. This was the area where the buck had reappeared after being absent for most of September.
He had another blind and camera on the side flanking the cornfield.
“The Sunday before gun season, I put up a hang-on stand — just kind of a thrown together project. That gave me three choices.
“The Friday morning before gun season came in, I bowhunted from the hang-on stand. After the sun came up around 7:00, I watched five turkeys for a while. Then I saw a small buck chasing two does. And a little later on, I saw four yearlings.
“At 7:45, I got down from the stand because I had farm work to do at 8:00,” he said.
The next day, opening day of firearms season, Kyle was running late. He grabbed his 7mm Mag and headed out for the stand from which he’d bowhunted the previous morning.
“I parked and had to walk 400 to 500 yards,” he said. “It was almost daylight when I got into the stand. It was about 35 degrees, and there wasn’t a lot of wind. The sun started coming up, and there were just gobs of hen turkeys in the trees around me. They were cutting and carrying on, and I couldn’t hear anything because of them. There must have been 40 birds.
“When they finally pitched down and moved on, it got quiet,” he added.
“After a short while, a yearling came from behind me on the uphill side at 15 yards. When it was gone, it was quiet again for 10 or 15 minutes. Then I heard a crash and spied movement out about 125-150 yards.
“At first, I thought it was this other buck I had been watching and that it was going to walk down into the hollow. But it turned and started walking my way. I realized immediately that it was the big deer, just strolling along, getting closer with every step.
“When it was in front of me, it stopped. While it was looking the other way, I got my gun up and shot. The deer hit the ground. The whole scenario took less than two minutes,” he said. “I didn’t have time to get nervous.
“As I was sitting there looking at the deer, I thought: That’s him. That’s definitely him.
I called James and said, “He’s down!”
An awkward silence followed, and then James said, “Why are you acting so strange?”
“I’m not sure it’s him,” I replied. “Let me get down out of the stand and see.”
As Kyle approached the downed buck, it became obvious that it was indeed the deer he’d hoped it would be.
Hunter: Kyle Robertson
BTR Score: 208 3/8
– Photos courtesy Kyle Robertson
This article was published in the Winter 2014 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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