Hunter: Terry Phillips
Points: 11 (6L, 5R)
We have been hunting this ol' buck for three years and believe he was 6.5. Due to his body size, we nicknamed him, "John Candy." He was also unique in that he had light brown eyes, like a sheep. He had become a ghost and hadn't been seen in two seasons. We knew he existed only by the hundreds of mostly night pics that we captured of him over the years bullying his way around our troughs. My older son, Ty, also found both of his shed antlers about 200 yards apart this past winter. Due to his age, elusiveness and size, he'd become highly sought after... a Legend amongst our group. Candy was often the topic of conversation, and that was certainly the case last Friday afternoon via text when we were all deciding where to hunt. I picked my spot last and responded to the group thread that I had taken some advice and was hunting the Persimmon Peninsula. (This area is a large 3- to 4-acre food plot carved in some planted pines that wraps around a block of woods with a large number of persimmon trees). I jokingly included in my response, "Tonight, we drink to Candy!!!" Here is an excerpt around 5:20 p.m. that afternoon of a four-way text thread with my brother, son (Ty), and one of our hunting buddies (Jordan), along with the hunt summary. Jordan: It's getting close to magic time. Watch the shadow areas. Me: 10 here. Deer starting to pour out. Moments later: Just saw Candy!!! Brother: Get'em! Ty: No way! Shoot that joker! You must be lying!! Jordan: Aim small. Back to the hunt: There were several does on one end of the food plot. This end is more like a two-lane road than our main opening. One doe kept looking in the woods. Several minutes later, a few more deer came out followed by Candy walking across and cutting the far corner of the plot. About 45 seconds later, he walked out of the pines and began feeding. I couldn't shoot because there was a persimmon tree in the plot that was in the way. He turned and started walking away down the pine tree line and stopped and began working a scrape. He then turned broadside, looked both ways, and grunted so long and loud that it sounded more like an elk bugle than a whitetail deer! He then walked forward about halfway across the plot, and I finally had an opportunity. At the impact of the first shot, Candy lowered his body, locked all four of his legs and looked around. I quickly chambered and fired another round. Me: Did the second shot sound like a hit?! He buckled and ran into the woods hunched up. Ty: Did you shoot Candy? Me: Yes. Ty: Both sounded like hits to me. Oh my goodness! I think you hit both times! Me: I got a little rattled because there was a tree in the way for the first four to five minutes. I'm still in the stand. I think we should look together. We waited until around 7:30 p.m. to look for Candy. It was difficult to find the exact spot he was standing. Despite our efforts in the dark for over 30 minutes, we were unable to locate a drop of blood. We fanned out and started searching in the woods. Moments later, Jordan let out his famous crow call and I knew he found him. I started running toward him, and soon we were all celebrating... what a moment! Candy weighed 250 pounds, which means he was probably 270-280 during the summer and will gross approximately 135 inches. He had +16 inches of mass, and the main beams almost crossed. Tine length was the only detriment to his overall score. Very thankful!