Jones County Bow-Kill Scores 186 Inches
Wallace Reeves “forgotten” Jones County buck.
If there is any truth to the line about 10 percent of the hunters killing 90 percent of the big bucks, then Wallace Reeves is one of those in the top 10 percent. Wallace, who owns Wallace Printing Co. in Tucker, kills bucks—big bucks—consistently. Overall, he has killed 30 bucks, 8-point or better, with a bow. But his best buck was arrowed in November of 1973 in Jones County. It’s a story that has never been told.
While driving into his lease the week before the 1973 bow season, Wallace caught sight of a huge buck crossing the road in front of him.
“I had seen big bucks before, but this one was a monster, said Reeves.
Then, a week into bow season, the buck made the mistake of crossing the road again right in front of Wallace’s pickup and in the same place. Seeing that ol’ buck the second time must have rubbed Wallace wrong because it was then that he decided to hunt that particular deer. And that’s exactly what he did. He left his house on a Monday morning telling his wife that he didn’t know when he would be back, “just whenever I kill that deer.”
Wallace found the trail the deer was using to enter a pine thicket. Scattered about the area he also found numerous rubs and one big scrape on the edge of the thicket and waited.
And waited… and waited.
He hunted from that stand from sun-up to sundown Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning and saw no deer. His luck was about to change.
Thursday afternoon two does finally appeared, and they walked within 20 yards of his stand. They had almost ambled out of sight when they suddenly perked up, looked back and spooked. Within seconds, the steady sound of heavy footsteps coming out of the thicket drew Wallace’s attention.
“They sounded like a man’s footsteps,” Wallace said. “In fact, I actually thought it was a man for a minute or two.”
As he turned slowly toward the sound, he caught a glimpse of a deer’s hoof. Then as the deer lowered its head to pick an acorn from among the leaves, Wallace saw the antlers—huge, long tines. He picked his shot and buried an arrow in the big buck’s chest. The buck ran off about 70 yards before piling up. Reeves’ massive buck scored 186 non-typical inches. It had a 22-inch inside spread and sported 16 scoreable points, including a 14-inch drop tine on his left beam.
Taking big deer is not accidental by any means for Wallace. He is not a trophy-only hunter, and he has killed his share of does, but when he comes across a big buck, he’ll hunt it until he gets it.
Wallace has perfected his own unique style of bowhunting, and it doesn’t include a lot of bells and whistles. He doesn’t believe in heaven draw-weight bows, deer scents, leather-soled boots, climbing or permanent stands.
He uses a Precision compound bow set on a draw weight of just 43 pounds.
“I don’t know why folks think they need those heavyweight bows,” said Wallace. “It’s all in where you place the arrow.”
And place the arrow he can. Wallace was a seven-time state archery champion, four-time Southeastern champ and was runner up for the National Indoor championship in 1975. Wallace shoots pins and uses a tab.
The light draw weight also contributes to another of Wallace’s own techniques of bowhunting. As soon as he sees a deer, he draws his bow.
“This cuts down on the amount of movement that has to be made when the deer is within range,” he said.
To help hold the string back, he extends his thumb and locks it behind his neck.
If you were to glance at his bow, you would see something else that would strike you as unusual. Tied around the upper limbs of his bow are two separate pieces of nylon parachute cord. When he begins hunting, Wallace slides a cut branch down between the cord and the front of the bow limbs to form a sort of a fan of leaves out in front of himself. When he raises the bow to shoot, the branch raises up over his head and out of the way. The “moveable screen” helps to break his outline even more while he is getting ready for a shot.
The only scent Wallace uses is a cover scent, and he prefers fox urine. He doesn’t use any deer lure at all, but he does treat a deer’s sense of smell with the utmost caution. He believes in changing clothes every time he goes into the woods.
“I’ll take four changes of clothes if I go hunting all weekend. I think people make the mistake of wearing their hunting clothes all day around campfires, cigarette smoke and cooking food. I also take a shower before going into the woods. I use Ivory soap and an unscented deodorant.”
He concentrates heavily on getting rid of his human scent.
He is also a firm believer in wearing rubber boots, not just rubber-soled boots. To eliminate any odor of human waste, Wallace brings a plastic bottle and a plastic bag to the stand with him.
Another of his beliefs is to hunt low in the morning, in bottoms and thickets, and high in the afternoon on ridges and hilltops. He believes that your scent will drop in the morning and rise in the afternoon.
Hunting high means exactly that. Wallace hangs his stands anywhere from 25 to 30 feet high. But where he hangs these stands is the important thing. Wallace will search out good buck sign, like scrapes, rubs, trails and feeding areas, but he won’t place his stand over or near the sign. Instead, he’ll find the nearest thicket and set up on the edge facing the side nearest the food source or scrape.
The thicker the better is his philosophy on finding a place to hang his stand.
“Sometimes I’ll only have one clear shot, and that’ll be straight down,” he said.
His reasoning is that the does and young bucks will come out of the thick stuff early to feed or travel, but the big boys won’t venture out before dark. They will mill around the edge of the thick cover until it gets dark.
Something else that he does a little different from most folks is the time period that he scouts and hangs his stands. He does it early.
“I like to hang my stand in March or April,” he said. “And I don’t go back into the area until I plan to hunt it.”
According to Wallace, one of the biggest mistakes people make is hanging their stand the day before they plan to hunt, then climbing down after they sat there for a while to walk around looking for sign.
“All that should have been taken care of before they put up their stand,” said Wallace.
He doesn’t like portable climbing stands or permanent tree stands. He believes climbing stands are too dangerous and noisy and permanent stands are learned by deer too easily. In other words, once a deer has seen or smelled you in the area, they will become accustomed to looking up to check the stand as they travel through. And it only takes one look for a big one to decide he isn’t coming that way any more.
Mobility is the key. Wallace’s favorite type of stand to use is a Loc-On brand.
“They are sturdy, safe and comfortable,” he said.
He uses either pole climbers or screw-in steps to put his stand up.
Some folks might say Wallace Reeves goes a little far out for hunting deer. But if you could see the results, or I should say the rewards for all that extra trouble, you might want to give his method a shot. One, two or maybe even three big bucks could be luck, but Wallace has a system that works and works well. For the past 14 seasons, he has filled his deer tags with a bow—and it’s hard to argue with that kind of success!
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