photo of a deer killed by AJ Bagbyphoto of a deer killed by AJ Bagbyphoto of a deer killed by AJ Bagby

Hunter: AJ Bagby

Points: 12 (6L, 6R)

County: Jenkins

Season: 2023-2024

Hunt Story

The deer on our Jenkins County property have been feeding heavy on cotton leaves every evening throughout the summer. My plan was to hunt the edges of the field during bow season to try and catch a big buck while still in his summer feeding pattern. However, our cotton field was sprayed with defoliant about 3 weeks ago killing all the cotton leaves. This forced the deer to change their pattern and primary food source. So I changed locations as well and started hunting funnels between drains and bedding areas. The wind was blowing out of the Southeast around 6 mph on the evening of Monday October 9th. I wanted to hunt a stand in a transition area between planted pines, however a Southeast wind would hit me directly in the back. My dad told me to pick a different stand due to the bad wind. But I decided to spray down and get as scent free as possible to hunt the transition stand location even on a bad wind. I saw 8 to 9 does and fawns prior to my encounter with the big 12-point buck. The deer were on their feet and moving well early due to the colder weather we were experiencing. At 6:15 p.m. I spotted some horns in the dog fennel approaching my stand from the North. The buck worked several scrapes and started skirting my stand heading West. The buck was cruising looking for does. He checked a doe and then started pushing her directly towards my stand. The doe ran across one of my shooting lanes and into the pine thicket. I had to yell at the buck so he would stop in the shooting lane. He was at 32 yards and quartering towards me. I let out a half breath and tried to stop shaking so I could squeeze the trigger. I had to place the crossbow bolt in the front right shoulder in order to punch through into his lungs due to the angle of the shot. I felt like the shot was perfect as I could see the Lumenok lit up bright red in the bucks shoulder as the swirled and ran away. I waited about 30 minutes for my Dad and Brother to get to my stand. As we started tracking the buck we couldn't find any blood at the shot site. My dad finally found a spec of blood about 20 yards away in the direction the deer ran. Due to the crossbow bolt not passing through, there wasn't an exit hole and the buck wasn't bleeding much. The blood trail was hard to follow as we were tracking small specs of blood about every 5 to 10 feet. The buck broke off the crossbow bolt after about 75 yards and then the blood trail began to increase. We ended up tracking the buck about 150 yards. As we walked up on him we were all high-fiving, hugging and screaming! He was huge and it was the biggest buck I've ever shot at and I am still pumped up about getting him!
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