Hunter Takes Down Ridiculously Tall-Antlered Buck After Tracking It for Years

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Chris Seager

After watching it grow on a trail cam for over a year, one bowhunter has finally tagged his 160-class whitetail buck. According to reports, 31-year-old Jonathon Stuart of Kentucky snagged the buck on Sept. 7.

“He took on about 35 inches worth of growth from last year to this year,” the bowhunter said about the behemoth. “I started getting pictures of him in early May this year. A lot of times it’s all guessing games until June. But his frame was so distinctive, and he had already grown so much, you wouldn’t even need to know this deer to know the pictures from last year and this year was the same deer. A lot of other deer had just started growing main beams and he already had 5- or 6-inch tines.”

For six consecutive years, Stuart has bow hunted on his family’s property. As a result, he’s developed an eye for judging a deer’s growth.

Kentucky bowhunter gets creative

“I look at photos of years past and their growth rate and where they are at certain points in the summer, and I just knew that this deer was going to obliterate whatever he was last year,” Stuart said.

Despite having dozens of trail camera photos and studying a year of patterns, the buck gave Stuart a challenge ahead of archery season.

“He’d be there for a week then he’d disappear for a week or two. And it was just hit-or-miss all summer,” Stuart recalled. “I didn’t get pictures of the deer from the last day of June until August. We had a long hot dry spell, and I was worried maybe EHD had set in. But he actually came back on Aug. 1 and was back to his old self, here a few days, gone a few days, here a week, gone a week.”

Stuart reached the end of his wits and had to get creative. He went to where he was running off, intending to find the buck’s range in preparation.

“About two weeks before the season opened in Kentucky, I decided to venture to the upper end of this farm and set a camera up in a place that I don’t normally go,” the bow hunter admitted. “Within about a day I got a picture of him, and I was getting pictures of him almost every day.”

However, he was hit with another roadblock. When opening day arrived, the area got six inches of rain in just three hours, flooding his favorite spots.

Thankfully, on Sept. 7, the skies, and his luck, cleared up. At about 5:30, the bowhunter got his chance after three hours.

Monster buck finally tagged

“As I turned back around to sit down, I looked back toward where the two bucks came from earlier in the day, and I saw some deer coming down off a hill along the edge of a cornfield. It was the group of seven bachelor bucks that had been there throughout the summer, including my target deer.”

Eventually, his target buck approached Stuart’s treestand. “Once he finally stepped into my 30-yard window, I was able to put a shot on him and the rest was history.”

According to reports, this was the bowhunter’s second biggest buck ever, coming in at 163.5 inches.