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#1 Bow Non-Typical 231 5/8″ Randy Coffey

On Tuesday, December 12, 2000, I decided to hunt Bankhead Wildlife Management Area from mid-morning until round 1 p.m. because of the full moon. I found a place that was torn up with big buck sign that I had not hunted before. So, I decided to give it a try. The temperature that morning was around 18º with a 20mph north wind. I still was able to stay up my tree until around 12:30 p.m. even though the deer weren’t moving. I decided to go home and eat lunch then dozed off on the couch. About 2:30 p.m. I woke up and noticed the wind had weakened a little so I thought I would try the evening hunt. The place I was going to hunt was a place my brother Gary and I had seen a really nice buck cross the road one night when we were on our way home from hunting. I had been hunting within a half mile of this area for the last three years and had taken an old doe five days earlier, because every time she came through she would pick me out somehow. I knew the buck was somewhere behind her and would not come out of the cutover with her being spooked. I got up my tree around 3 p.m. after putting out some Tinks #69 around the scrapes I was hunting. The ridge I was hunting lay between two cutovers and there was a waterfall at the bottom of the hollow. Around 4 p.m. I heard something to my right and looked up just in time to see the body of a big deer. I felt sure it was a buck, so I stood up and attached my release to my string. The deer was probably 90 yards away when I first saw it. The next time I saw the deer he came out from under a spruce tree on an old logging road. He stopped and shook his head from left to right, and all I remember thinking is what kind of rack is that. The buck started walking straight toward the scrapes I was hunting when suddenly he stopped and turned like he was going to cross the top of the waterfall, and that’s when I started thinking that this deer would never give me a shot. Suddenly he turned back onto the trail and started coming straight at me. When he got to the scrapes around 17 yards in front of me, he stopped, raised his tail and proceeded to mark his scrapes, then he turned his head kind of up and sideways to look right at me for about 45 seconds, then thankfully he let his tail down and looked at the scrapes, put his left foot out and pawed twice before the waterfall made a loud splash. He stopped pawing and turned to see what the noise was, and that gave me the chance to get drawn and release my arrow. I saw the green and white veins bury up into his shoulder and then disappear. The buck spun, threw his tail straight up and loped down the ridge just like he had came. When I could no longer see him, I sat down so hard I thought I had burst the seams out of my API stand. I listened and thought I heard him go down, but wasn’t sure because of the waterfall. I waited 10 or 15 minutes before slipping down out of my tree. I removed my stand then went over to look at my arrow, which was covered in bubbled blood. Instead of risking jumping the deer, I came home to get my brother Gary to help me look for the deer. He was eating supper so I told him I had tried to call Tony Myers, an experienced hunter, measurer and friend, but couldn’t get him and that I was going to ride to his house and see if he was home. I knew that I wanted all the experience I could get to find this one. Tony was home and agreed to help, so we went back over to my brother’s house, loaded up lights and lanterns and headed back to the spot. When we got to the scrapes I showed them where I had shot him and we started tracking. The first 40 yards was kind of disappointing, then the blood trail got better. A few more yards and we found a big splatter where he had opened up and Tony shined his light ahead of us and there he was. Of course, I already had the head up when they caught up to me. I looked up at Tony and he was standing there with his hand on his mouth and said, “Son, what have you done killed. Why, you’ve killed Bullwinkle.”