Cherokee County Bowhunt For “High Rise” Captured On Video

New No. 9 bow buck in Cherokee captured on a self-filmed hunt with Keep Stompin' Outdoors.

Tyler Croft | August 22, 2023


As a young ’un, I remember watching my grandfather and wanting to be everything he was. He was a good man. He had a true passion, one that drove him far more than the outdoors. He had faith in the Lord and through his passion, he was able to provide for our family. It was his passing that set forth the journey I’m on, the legacy for him that I carry. I never had the opportunity to sit in a tree with him, but with every tree I climb, I feel as if he’s right there with me.

The story for High Rise started early in the 2022-23 hunting season. Gaining permission to a new property is what really got the ball rolling. As pictures started to come in, I knew we had something special, a monster 8-pointer that I longed to wrap my tag around. With season approaching, we locked in on his core areas. He was the dominant buck, with a massive herd of does. He stayed busy.

September finally came, and we went in for the first sit. Unknowingly, we got deep in his bedroom. Nestled within two white oaks with heavy cover, we waited. It only took a few minutes and we had deer moving in all directions. While deer were moving through, I started counting them as they fed by. I lost count after 40 deer, being all does. I had hoped that High Rise would show himself.

We caught commotion coming from the ridge top. It was him. As he raked an overhanging limb, we watched in disbelief. He worked down the ridge trailing his does just out of bow range. With dusk advancing, we decided to back out and assemble a strategy for the next hunt.

Throughout September and into October, we continued to run cameras and provide everything the buck would need to hopefully hold him tight to the property. With the rut drawing near, he started to be extremely consistent on a mock scrape located 30 yards from a tree stand location I previously hung early in the pre-season. Hunting this spot with a buddy, we decided to flip a quarter to let fate decide it for us. I let him flip, and I called  heads. As fate chose me, I headed home to gather my equipment and hit the woods.

I arrived on the property shortly after 4 p.m. While I was walking in, I spotted a doe within bow range of the tree I needed to climb, which was about the same time I noticed I forgot my safety harness back at the truck. Something in my gut told me to make myself known by turning back slowly and rustling the leaves on my way out so she would notice me. A short way back to the truck, I looked back and she was gone. The plan worked. She didn’t blow or alert the other deer.

I knew I had a very short window to grab my harness and get to the tree as quick and quiet as possible. Climbing the tree, I notice the doe feeding on acorns just out of range. With a perfect wind directly in my face, I had high hopes the deer would eventually work their way back through to feed.

Five o’clock comes and a number of does start to work my way. As they feed, a young buck comes out from the creek bottom and starts to push the does around. He makes his way to the scrape and urinates down his back legs while rubbing his hocks together before working down the ridge and out of sight.

Around 5:30, I heard a loud crashing coming from deep in the creek bottom. I looked and all I saw was a trail of does being pushed from a large-racked buck. I thought almost instantly it had to be High Rise. I waited patiently and began to pray.

As 6 p.m. nears, the does started to trickle back in to the north of me, the exact area the buck had pushed them earlier. Thirty minutes passed and I eventually have five does feeding within 20 yards from my stand. The doe farthest out from me went on high alert, looking behind her and acting as if she saw something. It was to my surprise that High Rise was working slowly and confidently toward a scrape. On his way, he turned toward the does with his neck out, lip curled and stops to rubs his antlers in the branches above him. Four of the five does pushed off almost immediately, but one stayed feeding, and he headed straight for her. As the last doe turned to work away from High Rise, she crossed a logging road 15 yards from me. Hot on her trail, High Rise followed her exact crossing at 15 yards.

I was able to draw my bow and stop him as he stood there perfectly broadside in the middle of the trail, head high looking for the noise I just made. At full draw, I slowed my breathing and aimed small. As I released, I watched my arrow hit true, a perfect heart shot. He didn’t even know he was hit. As he crashed toward the creek, the opposite direction of the does, I thought I saw where he went down. I was in disbelief. I smoked him.

The entire hunt was filmed on my YouTube channel, Keep Stompin Outdoors.

I immediately called my family and friends to tell them what happened. I sat there until dark, thanking God for the many things I’m grateful for and trying not to shake out the tree.

I gained my composure and climbed down. Deciding to give it some time, I backed out and informed the homeowner of my harvest. A few hours later, we went in to track the deer. From the shot location, we found my arrow. It was a full pass through, and we instantly got on the blood trail.

Within 60 yards at the base of the creek bottom, there he laid, the biggest deer of my life. I ran to put hands on him and continued to thank the Lord for his many blessings. My first Pope and Young, a hunt I will never forget and a story I hope will always be told.

God Bless.

Tyler Croft has the No. 9 best-ever bow buck from Cherokee County. High Rise scored 132 4/8 inches.


Cherokee County Best Bow Bucks Of All-Time

1178 2/8 (NT)Chad McCook2007CherokeeBowView 
2172 2/8 (NT)Jeromy Loftin2015CherokeeBowView 
3142 5/8 Jacob Castleberry2022CherokeeBowView 
4142 Scott Cochran2020CherokeeBowView 
5141 2/8 Matt Wilson2021CherokeeBowView 
6139 5/8 Rick Ortwein2019CherokeeBow
7139 2/8 Rick Strickland2013CherokeeBow
8137 4/8 Blake Hamby2016CherokeeBowView 
9133 1/8 Blake Hamby2020CherokeeBowView 
10132 4/8 Tyler Croft2022CherokeeBowView 

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  1. Andrew Curtis on August 22, 2023 at 1:46 pm

    I love the connection to your grandfather and your Christian faith. Excellent job! I hope you keep writing (and filming)!

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