Ohio native Thomas Clark struck gold on a small piece of land in Stark County, sending a bolt through a 200-inch giant with his grandfather's '94 Huntsman crossbow and a little luck.
Two years ago, the Clarks moved into a house on seven acres consisting mostly of overgrown hay fields and surrounded by 180 acres of standing corn or soybeans, depending on the year. Thomas was seeing deer regularly on the backside of the property, had a hunch a mature deer or two was lingering somewhere and decided to put a trail camera up to test his theory.
Three days later he received a nocturnal photo of a velvet-clad stud.
The trouble was Thomas finishes drywall for a construction company literally every day of the week (on top of having a wife and babies), so finding the time to go after this deer wasn't always in the cards.
"I started hunting as much as I could but couldn't get out too much because I work seven days a week. I came home one evening and told the ole lady I was going to go sit in the blind and she wanted to watch a movie," Thomas told Buckmasters. "So, we put a movie on and my wife thought she heard a tractor in one of the fields so I threw on my camo, grabbed my bow and ran down to the blind. I wasn't planning on going out that day but figured if the farmer was in the cornfield, he might push some deer out to me."
Thomas got situated in a two-man ground blind, with his crossbow at the ready, one hour before dark. After 6 p.m. the 10-pointer that usually hung around Thomas' target buck appeared and started browsing, and not far behind it was the Big Boy.
"It (Big Boy) disappeared for a moment, and that other deer was milling around in front of me. I saw a big tree shaking, waited a second and he came out at 35 yards looking straight at the blind and me," Thomas recalls. "He's standing there for about 10 minutes all skittish; I kept peaking out the blind to see if he'd look away, but he'd be staring dead at me. We were playing peak-a-boo it seemed until the sun went down just over the trees to where it cast a shadow and he couldn't see me sticking out."
The 30-year-old let a bolt fly, found his arrow broken in half with some blood, and recovered the buck 80 yards from the ground blind.
Thomas had no idea how big this boy actually was until he took the mount to Buckmasters master scorer Toby Hughes and had it measured in late 2022. Big Boy's rack features 26-inch beams and 10-inch P2s and P3s, scoring 202 6/8 for Buckmasters Trophy Records irregular category for crossbow.
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