Rack Magazine

Like Clockwork, Almost

Like Clockwork, Almost

By Mike Handley

Aubrey Man’s First Deer by Bow Shatters Texas Record!

Robert and Jerry Taylor don’t need deer telemetry data to convince them that whitetails are creatures of habit. For four years, they merely had to look at the calendar to know approximately when a freakishly big buck was going to wander onto their little piece of Grayson County, Texas.

The 30-plus-pointer first appeared in trail camera photographs following Thanksgiving in 2009. It mugged for the lens often, always at night, for close to three weeks before disappearing.

Robert, a 50-year-old homebuilder from Aubrey, believes the buck was 4 1/2 years old back then. Jerry even got a poke at it, but missed.

“He hates when I tell that,” Robert grins.

The cycle repeated — sans misses — in 2010, 2011 and 2012. But it won’t happen this year.

The buck was a bit late arriving last season. It didn’t show up until Dec. 11, after Jerry had already tagged a great double-beamed 9-pointer.

“That kind of opened the door for me getting this deer,” said Robert, who missed being in his stand only a couple of the next 18 days.

A day or two after they got the first photo of the buck, it walked underneath the bodock (osage) tree in which Robert was waiting. His perch was a homemade, 4x4-foot platform about 15 feet off the ground, complete with folding chair.

“It’s just a hillbilly stand,” he laughed. “But it works really well. The deer never even look up at it, as long as you’re quiet. Of course, I’m always careful about scent, too, and they’ve never smelled me.”

The stars didn’t align, however, because a limb was in the way. After that tense moment, the buck joined a doe in the green field, well out of range, for the rest of the evening.

Robert had to wait until after dark before getting down in order to avoid spooking them, which would not be the first time he’d do it. He would’ve done anything to keep from educating the local does, since they were about to be the chief draw to his 4.7-acre parcel north of Lake Ray Roberts.

Like Clockwork, Almost“There’s just too many eyes out there, always watching,” he said.

“As soon as I got down, I just knew I’d never get another chance at it,” he added. “That buck was really, really smart. I thought: Man, I messed up!”

That bad feeling didn’t improve when he later saw the buck under the neighbor’s feeder.

After climbing that bodock for seven straight days, sometimes getting up as early as 4:30 a.m. so he could watch the sunrise from it, he decided to take a break.

“Our church was having Christmas caroling, so I took off (from hunting) to ride in the truck with them,” he said. “My son called me that night to tell me I’d messed up. He’d gone out and was glassing our field through binoculars. He watched that buck underneath my tree for more than an hour.

“I was kicking myself,” Robert said. “In all that time, I missed two days being out there. And that’s when the buck showed.”

When Robert resumed his folding-chair vigils, he saw the deer several more times, but it was always between 40 and 50 yards distant. “That might’ve been okay for some folks, but that’s just out of my range,” he said.

He thought a lot about range after that. One reason he knew his limit is that he’d taken a long shot at a hog in November, missed it, and was amazed at how quickly his arrow bit the dirt in front of the animal.

With that in the back of his mind and fresh visions of the buck at 50 yards, he decided to change his setup.

To extend his range, he bought lighter arrows, traded his 125-grain broadheads for 100-grainers, and then re-sighted his bow.

“I figured if 45 yards was what the buck was going to give me, that’s what I needed to be able to do,” he said.

On a crisp and clear Dec. 29, the buck appeared close to 5:00, jumped the fence onto the field, and hit the farthest feeder. After snuffling up a few corn kernels, it went onto the food plot. Meanwhile, a nice 5x5 and some does were feeding closer to Robert.

Ultimately, the big buck just couldn’t stay away from the other deer and strolled to within 15 yards.

When Robert loosed his arrow, deer scattered in every direction. He waited about 30 minutes, and then called his wife, Lourie, to ask her to bring a second flashlight.

The buck had traveled only 100 yards down its usual exit route.

Like Clockwork, AlmostEven though he’d drooled over photographs and even seen the buck in the flesh a half-dozen times, Robert didn’t realize just how substantial it was until it was green-scored by a couple of Pope and Young measurers. When they’d finished, the tally read close to 250 inches, which meant it was a contender as a new state P&Y record — on par with a similar East Texas buck arrowed early in 2012.

He never really thought he’d wind up with a deer of this caliber in what amounts to his back yard. That’s why he and his son usually join a lease near Childress, closer to the Panhandle, because that’s where they expect to get a shot at big bucks.

Plus, he never dreamed that his first-ever bowkill would be big enough to shatter the state record.

“I’ve owned a bow for 30 years, but I never really took it seriously. I guess I’m really hooked on bowhunting now,” he said.

Hunter: Robert Taylor
BTR Score: 284 4/8
Compound Bow

– Photos Courtesy Robert Taylor

This article was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

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