ONE OF A KIND

BUCK: A 160-CLASS 8-POINT HUNTER: RON­NIE STRONG, RAIL­ROAD OP­ER­A­TOR LO­CA­TION: CEN­TRAL ILLINOIS DATE OF KILL: DEC. 16, 2016

Field and Stream - - GIANT -

THE CAM­PAIGN

I usu­ally don’t let a buck get un­der my skin, but in 2015 a big 8-point bent the rules for me. He was an ab­so­lute bully. He fought or chased off ev­ery buck he en­coun­tered. If a doe wasn’t ready to breed, he’d gore her in the butt. He was such a train wreck, I de­cided I’d go af­ter him.

On my first sit, he came to within 15 yards. I was at full draw when he turned his head—and his main beam was bro­ken at the G2. I gave him a pass for the year.

The next fall, start­ing in the mid­dle of Novem­ber, the buck was on ev­ery cam­era on the farm, un­afraid to move in day­light, but never do­ing the same thing twice. He’d be on one end of the farm one day, the other the next. I don’t name bucks, and I’m usu­ally happy to kill the first 51⁄2-year-old buck I see. But this deer was dif­fer­ent. I hunted him like a man pos­sessed. In a nor­mal sea­son I gain weight; that year I lost 25 pounds. I was sick from sit­ting in the cold and wind, and my bud­dies were laugh­ing at my ob­ses­sion.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, when tem­per­a­tures are re­ally cold, deer pre­fer corn over green food. But this crazy buck was just the op­po­site. On a De­cem­ber af­ter­noon in a cold, freez­ing driz­zle, I forced my­self to sit a green food source—and sure enough that’s where he showed up, on his feet an hour be­fore dusk. When I shot him, he looked right up at me, stood there for sev­eral min­utes, then tipped over dead. —S.B.

King of the Hill A tall 9-pointer sur­veys his do­main. Above: Strong, with his bully buck.

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