A buck in the hand is worth two on the right.
Because they had to work during opening weekend of Kentucky’s 2013 modern gun season, Leslie Hull and her boyfriend (now husband) Devin weren’t able to hunt until the following Tuesday, Nov. 12.
That cold afternoon, the Maysville couple went to a Mason County farm about 2:00 and took up a position in a row of trees between snow-dusted cornfields, a natural travel corridor for cover-loving whitetails. The north fork of the Licking River was to their backs.
“After being there about 30 minutes, we were cold and decided to move,” Leslie said. “Devin had told me that if we saw a buck, it didn’t matter how big it was, to shoot it. I was hoping we would see one while walking around.”
They covered ground slowly. Devin had rattling antlers and planned to try drawing a big buck out of the surrounding cover.
When they picked a spot from which to rattle and were moving toward it, a huge wide-racked buck suddenly jumped up and sped away from them. Devin thought they’d probably missed their only chance at a big deer, but they kept on walking.
By 4:00, an hour and a half after they’d begun easing through the woods, Leslie and Devin had probably covered between 400 and 500 yards.
While they were easing down an old logging road, Devin saw a buck off to the right. At almost the same time, Leslie saw another one and some does come up out of a dry creek bed to the left.
The choice was easy, and it was hers.
“Devin was focused on the deer on the right, but I was looking at the big buck that had come up on the left,” she said. “The does ran off, but the buck stopped broadside about 130 yards away, behind two trees. But there was a 2- to 3-foot gap between those trees where I could see the vitals.
“I was going to have to shoot offhand and was trying to lock in, but the barrel was moving around,” she remembered. “Devin was behind me, saying ‘Shoot, shoot,’ and I told him to be quiet.
“I finally got the scope centered on the vitals between the two trees and shot,” she said.
Leslie’s buck has matching 13-inch drop tines. It ran about 80 yards before collapsing.
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This article was published in the October 2014 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.