photo of a deer killed by Chase Ledgerphoto of a deer killed by Chase Ledgerphoto of a deer killed by Chase Ledger

Hunter: Chase Ledger

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Sumter

Season: 2023-2024

Hunt Story

This buck actually has a very cool and rare story. After harvesting my biggest buck in early October at my home farm I decided to put a camera at my grandfather's farm that I had never hunted. Within about two days I received a blurry picture of a buck with a large frame. About two days later I finally got a clear picture of him. The "tall tine 8". He was a clean 8 and one of the biggest 8 I had ever seen. My first sit for this buck was at the end of October. I put my saddle stand overlooking two bottoms, one where I assumed this buck lived. I hunted probably 15 times without encountering this deer but I was still getting pictures of him almost every day. My first encounter with this deer was the morning of November 19 and this is when the weird stuff starts to happen. Right at first light I hear some rustling behind me. I rotated in my saddle in hopes that the tall tine 8 had stepped out of his bedroom and was making his way towards me, but it was not him. It was something I had never seen before, a black fox. I was sure this would ruin my hunt for the morning but not 10 minutes later I finally laid eyes on my target buck. He stepped out of his bedroom to make a rub exactly where the black fox had walked and he went right back to bed without entering into bow range. After about an hour I saw him again tending to a doe which he had cornered up in a thicket. He would come out and run a buck off and run right back into the thicket. It was this morning that I truly learned who this buck was. He was the king of these woods. I would continue to hunt this buck almost every chance I could when the weather and wind was optimal and it wasn't until Tuesday December 5 I would see him again. It was a very cold morning and windy too. I had not seen anything until about 8:30 when I heard some grunting to my left. I slowly turned my head and there he was standing behind a tree at 20 yards but he was stiff as a board, not moving, and looking at something past me. I was curious if it was me he was seeing but when I heard footsteps behind me I was sure it was something else. As I slowly turned my head I finally saw what he was staring at. The black fox. The black fox and the tall tine 8 dueled in a staring match for about 30 seconds until they both jumped at the same time and ran their separate ways. I was almost sure that was going to be my last shot at this deer. The black fox had won round 2 which warranted the buck to inherit a new name, "The black fox buck." I hunted that next morning and afternoon with no success. I skipped the morning hunt of December 7 and got in early that afternoon around 2:30 so I wouldn't spook any does into his bedroom. The hours of 2,3, and 4 passed and I started to think it was another unsuccessful hunt until I heard faint footsteps behind at about 5:20. I positioned myself in the saddle so I could get a good look at what was approaching and there he was. The black fox buck had stepped out of his bedroom and was standing 30 yards from me. I grabbed my Mathews bow and prepared for him to make his way towards me with no black fox in sight. The black fox buck paused at 25 yards to look around and I feel like the black fox might have missed their arranged time to meet this day. He slowly makes his way towards me as I draw my bow back. In between me and my target buck are three teenage oak trees which are hindering my ability to make an ethical shot on the buck. I was in full draw until he finally stepped out from behind the trees at 10 yards. I get my peep sight lined up with the housing of my sight and calm my breathing. He has now taken two steps closer to me and is now quartering away. I aim for a high lung entry and an opposite shoulder exit. He finally stops and I release my arrow and it finds its mark. The buck runs back to where he had lived all season, his bedroom. He only makes it 45 yards before tumbling over. I called my grandfather to tell him of what had just happened and we decided to give the buck a little time just to be sure. I return to his house and pick him up and we make our way to recover the deer. As I approached the buck the sign of his reign was apparent. He had gore holes in his neck and behind his ears. He was truly the king of these woods, and the black fox was his sidekick.
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