photo of a deer killed by Clae Mathisphoto of a deer killed by Clae Mathisphoto of a deer killed by Clae Mathis

Hunter: Clae Mathis

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Taylor

Season: 2022-2023

Hunt Story

Out This is the story of “Hook.” Hook has been on my property his whole life. I got pictures of him as a recognizable 2-year-old in 2019. He has been in thousands of pictures every year since. Last year, he was a pretty 4-year-old, but he broke off half of his rack in velvet. I videoed him from the stand many times last year and the year before. He got his name from his main beams and the way they form a hook around the front and almost touch. Anyway, he was the buck I spent the whole off-season thinking about. I knew he would be a 5-year-old, and I prayed that he would be back and that he wouldn’t break anything this year. He was the first buck that showed up on camera for me this year. He was much bigger, and nothing was broken or even chipped. From July 1 up until I killed him, he only missed 4 evenings on camera feeding in daylight. I hunted him opening day, and got a picture of him on a trail during the hunt, but he didn’t show up in front of me. I hunted him for the second time the following Thursday. He has been running with a doe or maybe it's a button buck because it would be weird that he spent all his time with a doe this time of year, but anyway that “doe” was the first deer to show up in front of me on the hunt. I knew he would be behind her, and before I could finish that thought he showed up. He walked out right behind her, but he stopped. The wind was completely wrong this night, but since I coach football in the fall, I have to go when I can go. I can’t always wait on the right wind, but I sprayed down about every 20 minutes. That doe kept throwing her head in the air. She knew that something wasn’t right and something didn’t smell right to her. I realized that she was going to leave, and that he would be sure to follow. I couldn’t wait on him to come in, so I ranged him where he stood. I got 37 so I put my sight on 37 and shot. As soon as I shot, the arrow hit the blind window on the way out. I knew it immediately. I hit him somewhere low and back. He hit the ground and struggled to stand up. He mule kicked the arrow about 20 feet in the air and ran off crashing into trees and grunting. I went to the arrow and where he was standing and realized I had ranged him wrong. He was actually standing at 47 instead of 37. I had ranged the tall grass in front of him. I thought there was no way the shot would be fatal, but I got a picture of him 8 minutes later trying to jump the fence. The next picture was him laying down, so I knew he couldn’t cross the fence. I sent the video of the shot to Scott Lopez, and he brought his dogs later that night. They went right to him. I had broken both of his back legs and nicked the femoral artery. I couldn’t believe a shot this crazy resulted in me taking down my best buck ever, and probably the buck I have most wanted going into a deer season in my life. So thankful. The hunt is already live on my YouTube channel Out There Outdoors. You won’t be disappointed with this wild and crazy adventure.
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