There’s a reason “location-location-location” has become a cliché among deer hunters.
Unless they happen to stumble through when the brushed-in pop-up blind is in place, most deer hunters would walk right on past Greg Reinhardt’s honey hole, forfeiting what the man from Alexandria, Ky., says is a sure shot at a deer.
He calls it the Killing Tree for a reason. It’s his go-to setup when Kentucky’s rifle season opens. He’d bowhunt it, too, but there aren’t any trees suitable for a climbing stand.
“Every single hunter in the world would probably pass up that spot if he didn’t have the experience we do with it,” Greg said. “It’s usually a 10 o’clock in the morning stand.
"When gun season comes around and the neighbors get to beating on the deer (on surrounding farms) about midmorning, here they'll come to our cedars.
“That’s really the luckiest spot my brother, Randy, and I have found there,” he added. “You’re almost guaranteed to take a deer.”
The spot is on a friend’s 250-acre farm that Greg and Randy have hunted for the past 15 years. The Killing Tree is at the very end of a long ridge, offering a nearly 250-yard view down a little finger ridge that leads toward a field.
Most of the property is thick with cover.
“The area you’re looking down is a path, a natural crossing through a thick growth of cedars and briars. I call it a sendero,” Greg said. “Our friend who owns the place bushhogs the field below it every year.
“The wind is perfect 95 percent of the time, blowing out of the southwest, right into your face. The remaining time, it’s a crosswind, which isn’t really bad,” Greg added.
In 2013, Greg’s 12-year-old son, Brandon, was drawn for the youth hunt at Land Between the Lakes, which coincided with the statewide early youth hunt weekend. They traveled there and hunted, but had no luck.
“When early muzzleloading season opened the following weekend, daylight found us at the Killing Tree,” Greg said. “We had a pop-up blind brushed in with cedars.
“After daybreak, we saw several deer. About 9:00, we saw a pretty nice little 8-pointer with two or three other deer down the sendero. The buck came in from about 250 yards.
“We had to watch the buck approach, so by the time it was in range, Brandon was nervous and breathing heavily,” he continued. “When he finally squeezed off the shot, the buck was at about 65 yards, and he hit it a little too far back.
“We found a bit of hair, but no blood. After a short tracking job, we came upon the deer lying down, eyes closed. As any experienced hunter knows, that’s a sign the deer is still alive.
“Sure enough, before Brandon could shoot again, it jumped up and ran,” Greg said. “We took a break for lunch, went back and searched some more that day and the next. We finally located the buck a couple of days later.”
That hunt and the subsequent tracking and searching taught the young man a lot.
“When modern gun season arrived Nov. 9, Randy and I headed out before daylight for our traditional brothers hunt. I went back to the Killing Tree, and he went to a spot we call the Double-stand Blind.
“I quietly slid into the brushed-in blind just as it was getting daylight,” he continued. “It was a gorgeous morning to be outdoors.
“We like to count shots, and there was no shortage of them as the morning progressed. I had deer moving around me from daylight until 8:00,” he said.
The Thursday prior to the opener, Greg spread some corn down the sendero.
“Off and on all morning, this little 8-pointer would run other deer off the corn,” he said. “At one point, I was on my phone for a while and looked up to see it wasn’t there anymore. The buck that had stepped out of the cedars in its place just about caused me to have a heart attack.
“I knew immediately it was a deer I wanted to shoot,” Greg said. “I wanted VERY MUCH to shoot it!”
The giant Bracken County buck was an amazing specimen, standing there with its head down, slightly quartering away from the hunter as the last bit of morning mist slowly lifted from the surrounding cedars.
Working hard to calm his nerves, Greg slowly raised his .300 Remington Ultra Mag, got the body of the big deer in his scope and squeezed off a round.
“The shot just buckled him,” Greg remembers.
“When I got up to the buck, I couldn’t believe the size. In addition to the giant 10-point rack, it was easily the heaviest deer I have ever taken. It field-dressed at more than 200 pounds.
“I’d like to say I knew the deer was there, but that’s just not the case,” he admitted.
Hunter: Greg Reinhardt
BTR Score: 186 5/8”
– Photos by Dale Weddle
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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