Twenty-year-old Brett Petitt had all but thrown in the towel on his 2022-23 deer season. In every encounter he had with a mature deer, it either wouldn't come within bow range or, if it did, he missed.
In fact, in December, he loosed three arrows in a 90-second span, completely missing a confused 10-pointer.
"I thought I hit him, but he jumped into a barbed-wire fence and got tangled up," Brett told Buckmasters. "My adrenaline was going crazy and I shot two more arrows but didn't get the yardage right. I whiffed both of them. He got out of that fence and ran away. I Nocked another one, and by that time he was gone. I was shook up like crazy."
To say the least, this Tennessean was beside himself. Brett decided he'd end his season on a high note by harvesting a mature doe with his bow. Twelve sits later, he still hadn't made that happen.
On Jan. 7, 2023, the second-to-last day of Tennessee's hunting season, Brett was up earlier than usual to avoid bumping deer on the way to his treestand. Nearly 10 yards from his lock-on, yesterday's All-Star Special from Waffle House was screaming at him, and Brett was forced to answer the bell. It wasn't ideal, but he figured he was already there, so he got in his stand.
Three does came through the 2-acre block of woods at first light. They caught a whiff of stink and fled the scene. As the does cut and ran for better air quality, Brett looked across a bean field and saw a huge rack barreling after them.
"For some reason, he bee-lined and came right up behind my treestand, maybe 2 yards from where I had my emergency. But thank God for a northeast wind!" Brett recalled. "His nose was down, I stopped him and he looked right up at me. This time I knew it was a good shot. He quartered just a hair toward me and I tried to punch it through his shoulder but hit a little back, clipping the lung but mostly liver."
Brett said they have trail cameras spread throughout the 25-acre property and see does and bucks regularly, but this 15-point phantom buck, nicknamed "Moose," avoided all paparazzi.
Brett's Sumner County Stud measured 198 3/8 inches for Buckmasters Trophy Records, and is the largest semi-irregular whitetail taken with a compound bow in Tennessee, eclipsing the former #1, a Moore County buck from 1988. It's also the sixth-largest compound-felled buck (all categories) in the state.
Buckmasters scorer Hunter Schmittou measured Moose in January. Seven of the rack's eight circumference measurements posted 5 4/8 inches or more!
"I hunted super hard this year, at least five or six sits per week, and was super exhausted, but I just kept going back. I take no credit for that deer; I give all the glory to God."
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