photo of a deer killed by Tyler Hilleyphoto of a deer killed by Tyler Hilleyphoto of a deer killed by Tyler Hilley

Hunter: Tyler Hilley

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Greene

Season: 2023-2024

Hunt Story

I bought this property in March 2023 as an investment after selling another investment property. I've always wanted my own land to manage wildlife in all the correct ways. To be honest, I have put my bow down for several years due to work life, family life, and really just being burned out of bow hunting which has been one of my biggest passions. So in July of 2023 I decided to buy all new cameras and try to relight this old flame. On August 2nd I hung one of my cameras on a small food plot area I had cleared for this upcoming season. So fresh batteries and a fresh block on August 3rd this buck shows up on camera and he's been hanging around ever since. I couldn't believe the size of him. I was really expecting to see a hundred pics of does and possibly feral hogs. Well, the flame was lit at that point to say the least. I have put out a total of 8 mineral blocks and 3-4 bags of corn over the last few months. This buck was definitely here every day. I have so many pics of this deer and many other bucks, some small and others will be great deer in the next year. So I was surprised that I had all bucks and no hogs. I was definitely expecting this buck to check out of the area on the day before opening day of bow season like so many do. But this buck refused to leave. I hunted opening morning and two more times opening week seeing many of the bucks that were on my camera with this big buck. In my mind I was hopeful he would step out in the open behind all these other deer. He would be on camera at all hours so he was really hard to nail down to specific times. About once a week he would show up at 5-6 a.m. and sometimes around 7 p.m. I was nervous that I would bump him going in or coming out of the tree. Sept 16 was the day I decided to plant my fall plots. I went down in this particular plot and planted it so it was fresh and planted anticipating rain which was going to be perfect timing with some rain coming in. Food plots were done and checked off my list. The camera pics I was getting of this buck had began to dissipate more and more every week leading up to opening day. I would get pics of him at 10pm-4am at night and they were becoming fewer very week leading up to this point. The last pics I got were on Sept 15th at 10pm. I definitely was thinking that may have been the last pic of him till November. Monday Sept 18th was my only day to hunt this entire week due to the wind direction for this stand. So I decided to go ahead and do it to say that I went since it was the only good day. The sit started out like the others, stillness for the first hour until the same few yearling bucks made their way into the food plot area nibbling on everything they passed. I actually had does and a few fawns in there for the first time. The two young bucks would lock up and spar around constantly until they were out of the plot but still close enough I could hear them. At this point it was around 7:20 p.m. I look out straight in front of me to a large opening past the food plot and all I saw was tall tines coming my way. It was him! I couldn't believe it. This deer was really coming my way with 30 more min of daylight. I had plenty of cover at this point to start remarking my points with the range at the two places he would possibly enter the plot. 34 yards and 28 yards. My heart was racing and I was waiting. He walks into the plot at 34 yards. Then stops and turns left towards the place I was hoping he would come out in the first place. I couldn't believe this was about to happen. Three steps before stopping I draw on this deer and dang if he didn't quarter away from me immediately. The two smaller bucks followed him into the plot also, so I had two extra sets of eyes to worry about. I couldn't let up at this point, I was committed. Luckily, he turned back towards me slightly which gave me a little less of a quartering-away shot. That was it, I had to take it. I let it fly. I could see the fletchings lodged in his right flank headed to his heart. I watched him run approximately 100 yards and then stop. I lost him after that. At this point it's 7:27 p.m. I still had a little daylight to get down and just see If any blood was at the point of impact. After a few minutes to get my heart rate down I get down to see. Nothing. I made my first call to my buddy who I shared many details with about this buck leading up to now. I decided to wait about three hours to be safe and bring him back with me to search. That was a very long three hours by the way. I contacted a local tracker Kyle Clay to get him to come back with us. I didn't want to take any chances of not finding this deer. We returned at 10:30 and put the dogs at the point of impact. They immediately get on the route that the deer ran after he was hit. Seconds later I heard Kyle say "I got blood" followed with "I got a blood drop in the shape of a really nice buck" he was piled up at 100 yards. Never thought Id be here in this situation but I am glad I had this great opportunity. I'd say this was a great return on investment so far.
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