photo of a deer killed by John Phillipsphoto of a deer killed by John Phillipsphoto of a deer killed by John Phillips

Hunter: John Phillips

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Dooly

Season: 2022-2023

Hunt Story

We had a lot of history with this deer. A few years ago my nephew "Ty" named him Peter Pan. He was a big 8 point with a lot of potential. We all chased him last year, but he always seemed to be one step ahead of us. Almost like he knew where we would be before we did!! So after hunting him until the last day of the season, the wait was on to see if he would make it through the Winter and still be the dominant Buck in the area. Sure enough, we started getting pics early this summer and knew immediately that it was him. He quickly became one of our #1 target bucks. So we all waited with anticipation for opening day of Bow season. And to no one's surprise, he picked up right where he left off last year. Coming through one afternoon, but not the next when one of us would be sitting there. Well, on the afternoon of Sept. 27 that would all change. It was warm that afternoon, but I decided to go hunt him anyway. It was getting late and then it happened. I looked up and he was walking straight toward me. He worked his way to about 30 yards out and I pulled back and let it fly. He ducked my string pretty hard, but I still feel like I made a good hit. We immediately found blood and the search began. All in all, we tracked him for over 750 yards and then the blood stopped. We even brought in a dog, but he vanished like a ghost. Needless to say I was tore up about it for so many reasons. I had been fortunate enough to get a shot at a mature buck and was not able to capitalize on the opportunity. I could only hope that somehow, some way, he would survive. Unfortunately, I did not think that would be the case, but I still had hope. The last words my brother said to me that night were "Hang in there, I'm not sure how this will end, but the story is not over yet". So fast forward to the night of Oct. 20. He shows up on my brother's place, which based off the route I think he took, was 1.67 miles away from where I had shot him with my bow! I happened to be in town so I hunted him the next afternoon, but he never showed up. So on Nov. 1st I decided to go hunt a stand that was about 400 yards from where I had been hunting that faithful afternoon just 5 weeks earlier. It was hot that day, so I was not expecting much. Around 5:00 I look back to my right down the food plot and a mature Buck steps out. I throw my binoculars up and immediately saw the gash in his side from my broad head (See attached Trail Cam Pic from a few weeks earlier). I immediately knew it was him. Shortly after he stepped out, I was fortunate enough to be able to finally harvest Peter Pan. My brother was right. Just 5 weeks earlier the story was not over yet. I just never imagined it would end like it did!
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