Buckmasters Magazine

Making It Count

Making It Count

By Kristopher Havelka

Missouri teenager makes the most of his last season as a youth hunter.

I’ve been hunting with my dad since I was 8 years old and fishing for as long as I can remember.

I have been fortunate enough to take a doe and a nice 6-pointer during previous youth hunts, and I harvested my first turkey a few years ago during the youth turkey hunt. The 2007 season was my last year to hunt as a youth in Missouri.

My dad and I have a treestand set up in a spot with great deer sign; it’s also where I got a doe earlier that year with my bow. Dad and I had not seen any bucks from the stand, and we didn’t put out our game camera, so we really didn’t know what to expect. We usually don’t have luck hunting in the mornings from that stand, so Dad and I decided to skip the Oct. 27 morning opener of the youth hunt. But come evening, we loaded up our gear, sprayed down with a scent eliminator and headed to the woods next to our house in Crawford County.

We sat for a while before a small 5-pointer came within shooting range. I decided to let him go because I was hoping to see something bigger. Then, about an hour before dark, we heard something — a nice buck! As it came closer, we could see that it was big — probably bigger than any deer Dad had hanging on the walls at home.

The buck came walking in with no idea we were there. He got to about 15 yards, and I was shaking so badly that I was having trouble holding my gun still. Dad told me to take a deep breath and shoot when I was ready. I am so glad he was with me.

Even though I was shaking, I was able to calm down long enough to align the sights behind the buck’s shoulder. When I fired my .30-30 lever action, I thought I put a good shot on him. I asked Dad if he thought I hit the buck, and he said it looked like I did. We didn’t want to push him, so we stayed in the stand for what seemed like forever. After about 45 minutes, we got down and headed for the house.

We thought we would need help tracking the buck in the thick woods, so we called my uncle and cousin and asked if they would come over to help. After about 30 minutes, my uncle showed up with two of his friends, and we headed back into the woods.

As it turned out, I had made a good shot. The buck only ran about 60 yards, so it didn’t take long to find him. It wasn’t until I walked up to him that I realized I had taken a buck with a large body and an incredible set of antlers. It was the biggest buck that any of us have ever seen, other than on TV.

Dad was so proud and excited that he told me he wouldn’t make me field-dress the mammoth buck. All of us were so thrilled that we could hardly wait to get it to the house to examine the massive rack.

As we were on the way back to the house, my cousin was walking toward us. He shined his flashlight on the giant buck and said, “Holy cow, I thought you were kidding when you called. That deer is a monster.” This non-typical has a 12- point mainframe, two lobster-claw-shaped points on the back of the base, and seven stickers around the front of the base. It field-dressed at 210 pounds.

My cousin drove me around to show off my trophy buck, and everyone was impressed. I had never been so popular. My phone was ringing off the hook with all kinds of people, even people I didn’t know. The next morning when I woke up, I thought it was all a dream. I had to take a look at the rack again to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.

The buck’s antlers grossed 214 2/8 inches. It was 19 7/8 inches wide. My buck also had 21 scorable points. The length of the right P-2 is 14 3/8 inches, and the length of the left P-2 is 14 2/8 inches.

My family was excited for me to harvest such an impressive deer. I doubt if I’ll ever be lucky enough to see another deer like this one, but I definitely will not stop hunting. I look forward to the fun I’ll have while trying to take an even bigger one.

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This article was published in the August 2008 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.

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