Sometimes, the best plan is having no plan.
That sums up Trenton Doyle's success in Missouri last fall, when the 30-year-old gas pipeline welder from Lamar decided to give his little brother the best vantage point while he ventured into uncharted territory.
Trenton had only recently gained hunting rights to the property owned by his wife's family.
"My wife's great aunt owned the land, and she had a policy of one hunter at a time," he said. "Sadly, the man who'd had permission died before the 2020 rifle season started, so I asked again and got a yes. I was excited because I'd heard it was a prime spot."
He'd been on the Jasper County tract only once, eight years earlier, when he joined his father-in-law to check fences. Only a third of it is wooded.
The day after the 2020 rifle opener, Trenton took his younger brother, Dallas, to the property around 2 p.m. Knowing little brother's time to hunt would be limited that season, he told him to watch a pond his uncle had recommended.
"I wanted Dallas to shoot a buck that day because that might have been his only chance, due to his work schedule," he told Gita Smith, who's writing the story for Rack magazine. "I knew I would be coming back lots of times."
Trenton left his brother at the pond before heading to a stand he'd noticed along their route. He stayed in it for only 15 minutes before deciding to put more distance between himself and the tract's cows.
While scouting for a new place to sit, he came across a lot of rubs in the vicinity of a 12-foot-high, double ladder stand. He'd barely settled in when a buck appeared a mere 40 yards from his tree.
As the deer was walking away from him, Trenton picked up his new Ruger .243 and grunted at the animal.
"The noise stopped it for a moment, but then it resumed walking. It paused for only a second, again, when I gave another grunt, more aggressively," he said. "Knowing I HAD to stop that buck, I snort-wheezed. That made it turn around and start circling me."
The buck was only 40 yards away when Trenton squeezed the trigger. The deer took off running, but it fell within sight.
At 206 1/8 inches, the 16-pointer - a mainframe 4x5 - is the largest whitetail ever recorded from Jasper County. The right antler includes 34 3/8 inches of irregular growth.
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