Kentucky Hunter Scores Tall-Racked Buck After Area Floods Complicate Pursuit

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Stan Tekiela/Getty Images)

Kentucky archer Jonathon Stuart was out hunting in September–the beginning of the state’s archery season–when the clouds opened up on Sept. 3 and flooded his hunting area. All summer, Jonathon was watching his target, a tall-racked buck, and caught him on camera the first day he was out there. With the rain and flooding, he knew he needed higher ground. But, he was also determined to bag that buck sooner rather than later.

Jonathon had to abandon his spot where the buck had been hanging out all summer, though. He tried his luck in a tree just on the edge of some corn, and it turned out to be perfect. He had a vantage point on deer slipping into the woods, and could watch the corn through the foliage. Though, while he saw many other deer that day, his chosen prize didn’t show.

That Wednesday, Sept. 7, the weather finally let up and the flooding receded. Jonathon returned to his original spot and set up. Deer continued to filter through the area, but not the big one. At about 5:30 that evening, though, a group of seven bucks moved into Jonathon’s line of sight. He spotted the distinct white leg markings of his target. He drew his bow and released at 30 yards. The buck ran off, and Jonathon was left wondering if the shot was as good as he thought it was.

He stayed in the trees for a bit before following the trail about 75 yards. It led into water, so he got a Black Mouth Cur hunting dog to track the scent. 1,000 yards later, he found his target. It had tall beams and matching tines sitting high and distinct. Jonathon noted that the bearing was similar to a deer he took a few years ago, as well.

Pre-Teen Girl Takes Down Possible Record-Breaking Mule Deer

A 12-year-old girl from Utah took down a possible record-breaking mule deer with the help of a hunting mentor last month. Jaydee Houston took a shot at a mule deer with a bow at 56 yards and made herself a legend. Her mule deer could possibly rank as the Pope and Young Club’s 3rd largest muley taken down by a bowhunter.

Jaydee’s father is a wildlife photographer who specializes in mule deer, and he had his eye on the huge animal since last fall. “I was roaming around in search of some rutting bucks to take pictures of and saw some does and a bigger-bodied deer with them,” Jeremy Houston told Field and Stream.  “I pulled up my binoculars and spotted one of the prettiest typicals I’d ever seen. And by far the biggest buck I’d seen that year. As a photographer specializing in mule deer, it was game on.” 

According to Jeremy, “being able to hunt this buck for real was just a pipe dream” because of the hard-to-reach area it frequented. Jaydee’s mother, Holly Houston, drew an archery tag for the deer, though, and promised her daughter she could have the tag if she drew one before Jaydee turned 18. Jaydee joined a hunting mentor program, as Utah allows minors to hunt through the program. She made a definite name for herself as a bowhunter already, that’s for sure.