Hunter: Ty Phillips
Points: 9 (5L, 4R)
Two summers ago in 2020, we began getting this 9-pointer on camera and nicknamed him “Spidey-Boy” because we thought he was the son of a buck we knew as Spider-Man. He was a big 3.5-year-old in the mid-130s, and he loved our protein feed. However, I made a promise to let him go, and I did three times that season: once with a bow and twice with a gun. Knowing he had survived the season, this summer we excitedly waited to see what Spidey would look like given the extra time to grow, and we were blown away when he showed up. He had a massive frame, and he had grown out his lone G4 to over 8 inches. We knew he would be at the top of our hit list. Our anticipation grew as August winded down and we continued to consistently get pictures of him every morning and evening daylight. Two weeks ago, my dad gave me some very exciting news. Since I had let the buck walk, he said, I would have the first choice for stand location on opening day. I was honored and thrilled to be given the opportunity to try and harvest him with my bow. September 11th, at 5:15 p.m., a little nervous but ready, I climbed into the bow stand overlooking the peanut field Spidey was frequenting. Within twenty minutes, deer began gradually funneling right by the stand and out into the field. Around 7:15, with more than 20 deer in the field, I could hear the crunching of leaves in the woods behind me. Remaining as still as possible, I waited an agonizing ten minutes for the deer to methodically make its way to the field edge. When it finally walked out, my heart began hammering: I instantly recognized the long, raking tines as Spidey-Boy. However, before I could shoot, he turned to feed and quartered directly away from me! I watched in waiting for five more minutes, begging him to turn and offer me a shot. Finally, having eaten his fill, he turned to walk further out into the field, offering a broadside shot. Stopping him with a bleat, I centered the pin and took the shot. My shot placement wasn’t great, but my dad and I were able to recover him together, and the celebration began. I am so grateful for the opportunity not only to close the story on an amazing buck, but also to see how God has taken my hard work, past misses and heartbreaks, the choice to let young bucks walk, and my dad’s selflessness to craft an amazing blessing and memory. What a feeling, what a hunt, and what a buck!