And on the seventh day, he rested and looked at the strange deer he’d shot.
Kentucky Bend lies east of the Mississippi. It also lies west of the mighty river. It’s a perfect example of the old adage, “You can’t get there from here.”
Ol’ Man River twists and then turns almost back on itself, cutting off a section of land from the rest of the state. To get there from anywhere else in Kentucky by car, one must drive through Tennessee.
The Bend could easily be the bucolic setting for a William Faulkner novel, or for a story about a man, his grandson and a deer with an unusual set of antlers.
Some might call Danny Scott the patriarch of Kentucky Bend, a little bit like Phil Robertson without the long hair and beard.
“We have a group called the Loggy Bayou Hunt Club,” Danny said. “It’s made up of several generations of our family, along with a few friends. Together, we own and control about 5,000 acres of the northernmost part of the Bend. That’s about a fourth of the Fulton County, Kentucky, land that lies between the bends in the Mississippi.
“Our land is across the water from New Madrid, Missouri,” Danny continued. “The town is about a mile away. In the mornings, before the woods wake up, you can hear (civilization) sounds from across the river.
“It’s not unusual to hear dogs barking or kids playing over on the other side. The sound carries a long way in the stillness.
“Our property is undeveloped except for a hunting cabin that family and friends use. Without any electricity to the area, we depend on a solar-powered generator for our needs there,” he said.
When the fog from the big river slowly lifts from the countryside on the second Saturday in November, there’s no other place the deer hunters in the Scott family would rather be.
Prior to the 2013 season, the Loggy Bayou Hunt Club members had a pretty impressive array of deer antlers on the walls. Most of those racks were of the garden variety or had typical mainframes with a few sticker points.
The buck that showed up on Danny Scott’s trail camera during the summer of 2013 was nothing like any of them.
“We usually put trail cameras out around the 10th of July,” Danny said. “You can’t tell much about what the deer’s pattern is going to be before that.”
Among the first photos retrieved that year was a picture of the craziest looking buck any of the hunters in the club had ever seen. The deer had a narrow frame and points sticking in every direction.
“Some deer in the Bend are real travelers,” Danny said. “But this one seemed to be running only about a 400-acre area. His favorite place was a little 3- or 4-acre plot we call the clover patch.
“We call it that regardless of what’s planted in it any particular year,” he continued. “This deer was showing up in the clover patch both day and night.”
Danny and his grandson, Ben Turner, decided to take turns staking out the area during the modern gun season. Danny had tried using a bow and arrow in the past, but he’d decided a stick and string weren’t his cup of tea.
Ben was going to hunt the area when he was not attending classes at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Danny would hunt when Ben was away at school.
In addition to the clover patch stand, the guys had two others. One was in the corner of a cut soybean field. The other was about 500 yards from there.
So as not to disturb the area before opening day of the modern firearms season, the family opted to not hunt during the early muzzleloading season.
Ben was the first to sit for the deer when rifles were legal.
“About 5:00 on the first Sunday, I glanced to my right to scan the field and caught sight of something near the corner stand 500 yards away,” he said. “When I looked at it through binoculars, I could tell it was the big buck we were hunting, standing right under the stand. If I had been in that tree, I could have spit on it.”
That was the first time anyone in the family had seen the big whitetail in the flesh.
Ben trudged back to his vehicle that night knowing he had to be in school for the next five days. His grandfather was about to get his first crack at the buck.
Danny hunted the next five days, Monday through Friday, shifting stands according to the wind. He never saw the deer, but a trail camera revealed it visited a scrape 75 yards from him about 30 minutes before sunset on Wednesday.
Ben returned for the second weekend. He hunted two stands in two days, but didn’t see the buck with the gnarly antlers.
On Monday afternoon, his sixth day afield, Danny hunted the clover patch where the big buck had first stood in front of a camera.
“I climbed into the permanent ladder stand about 1:30,” he said. “As the afternoon wore on, I saw some small bucks and does. They came into the food plot before moving on to the bigger cut bean field.
“With about 15 minutes of shooting light remaining, I saw another deer coming from the opposite direction about 110 yards to my left. It was crossing the bean field with its head down. When it raised its head, I whispered, ‘Oh my goodness. That’s him!’”
Danny has learned many things while deer hunting over the years, and one is that you don’t hesitate when a shot like that presents itself. He raised his .270, steadied the crosshairs on the big buck and squeezed the trigger.
“When I shot, he took off across the field and ran into the woods,” Danny said. “I thought I’d hit him good. Unless something went wrong, he wasn’t going far.
“I walked over to where he went out of sight, and there he was, about 20 feet into the woods. Man, I could hardly believe the rack. As many pictures as we had of him, there were still more points than we had ever been able to count,” he added.
Hunter: Danny Scott
BTR Score: 197 4/8"
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This article was published in the February 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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