photo of a deer killed by Billy Atkinsonphoto of a deer killed by Billy Atkinsonphoto of a deer killed by Billy Atkinson

Hunter: Billy Atkinson

Points: 11 (6L, 5R)

County: Franklin

Season: 2019-2020

Hunt Story

OK, here we go. It all started in July, this is when I began to look over my hunting land for any kind of deer signs. I am looking for a good place to hang my trail camera on a good food source and trails. I try to go and check cameras every three days. I had two good bucks and 4 or 5 other bucks and does. As time went on, one big buck and a small 8-point had moved on. I have hunted this area for about 8 years and have only killed 1 deer. I saw the big buck at the end of July and really started to take notice to his size body and rack. I was really excited to know that I had a big deer to hunt. I began to hunt the buck. I used a ladder stand and even then was afraid I was too close and would get busted. I sat in this stand a few times and before I ever saw the big buck. He was with a 7-point and always the last one to come out just a little be for dark. When the big buck came out he would always be on the ridge across from me about 70 yards in the woods. I saw him three times and the same thing the 7-point comes out then him and across on ridge from me. Well I decided that I was going to have to get closer to get a shot. I had tried grunting, scents, but he would only look up, then back to eating acorns. And I do see other deer before the bucks come out, sometimes six or more with them. But I keep telling myself that I was hunting an older big buck, and he didn't get this way being dumb, so I got a climbing stand and got about 30 yards from the feeding and trail he used. Well as you would know, I got busted by a doe and the 7-point. They didn't blow but looked at me then went back in the thicket. There were four other deer there, and they fed on. Well I let the place alone for about 4 to 5 days and thought he had left for good. I went back, got in the climber about 2.30 that day. It was sprinkling raining and getting cooler. At 5 p.m. on my right side was a 5-point and then there was the 7-point. They both are feeding all around me. They fed up on the ridge on my left this is wear the big buck comes out at but I thank maybe he is going to come out on my right ,like the 7pt did . well they feed on threw the woods. Now I think he has left the area. Then about 20 minutes until 7 I look on my left and there is a doe and a fawn feeding. I said ok he may be with her. She had spotted me but didn't spook, couldn't make me out, and she went back to feeding. Then she looked back. I knew then he was with her. I looked back on my left and saw horns. I was getting nervous, but I said calm down, you have hunted this buck too long to blow it now. He stepped out, then back under a tree limb feeding. Then he steps out in the open for a shot, as I pulled my bow back trying to be calm, but then I couldn't see through my peep, but I looked next to my peep and with both eyes open and could make the shot. When I shot it hit hard and I knew I had made a good shot. The buck ran about 50 yards and stopped on the other ridge. I saw him take a turn to the left, two steps out of sight. Well I am sitting there shaking so bad, I mean tore up man, never this bad before. I looked at my phone, it was 6.59 p.m. I thought I heard him crash, but I was not taking the risk of him jumping up and running off. I got down about 20 minutes later and found blood, then walked out. About two hours later, three of my friends and I went back to track the big buck. I had told them that we would go to the last place I saw him and that there was a log there. When we got to the log, I looked down the ridge and there I saw white. Oh my there he is. Man was I happy. This was a big deer I hunted long and hard for. He is a 10-point with split brow tine. We got to Hugh Bryant's house and weighed the buck at 206 pounds. Thanks, Billy Atkinson. Editor's Note: Billy's buck was officially measured at 130 7/8 net, a new Franklin County record as the best bow-kill ever for the county.
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