photo of a deer killed by Matt Kellerphoto of a deer killed by Matt Kellerphoto of a deer killed by Matt Keller

Hunter: Matt Keller

Points: 10 (6L, 4R)

County: De Kalb

Season: 2019-2020

Hunt Story

I first got pictures of this deer on my land in 2017 at the end of the season. I was able to pinpoint his location just before the 2018 season, but due to some development that started on the land I had permission to hunt, he radically changed his patterns before the season started. 2019 looked to be different. I had gotten permission on 8 acres on the edge of his core area and was feeding him protein anticipating opening weekend. A few weeks before the season started I abruptly lost permission to hunt in the new spot and it looked like 2019 would come and go without me being able to chase him. On a hunch in early October I asked a neighbor if I could put up a camera on their property, and sure enough this monster had started coming through there to access another block of woods and check does. I had found a natural funnel that was starting to get heavy traffic as pre-rut got going. Rut was in full swing the week of November 17th, and I had seen he was in the area chasing does the day before. I slipped into the woods later than I wanted, but about 5 PM the deer started to pour out. I had five or six does in front of me and then off to my right I saw a doe coming down the hill at about 80 yards flicking her tail. Sure enough, about 20 yards behind her was a large buck, grunting with every step. With the late afternoon shadows I couldn't make out which buck it was exactly, but I new he was huge. A few minutes later the hot doe moved through my shooting lane at 20 yards, and he was a few steps behind her still grunting and breathing heavy. I had drawn my bow as he was moving into the opening so I didn't waste anytime before taking my shot. He lurched and began to run when he got his head gear caught in some privet and muscadine and had to fight to get free for a few seconds. He only made it about 100 yards before going down due to a clean double lung pass through.
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