There’s a saying among old hunters, “You can’t eat the antlers.” Put simply, a big rack on a whitetail buck is nice but not always important.
This is true even if you aren’t hunting to fill the freezer. A buck’s spread isn’t always the most important part of a hunt. Sometimes a doe or antlerless buck can present so enough challenge to make you forget that you’re not bringing home a trophy. The Boone and Crockett scale doesn’t take the excitement of a hunt into account. Jason Say with Wired Outdoors proved this recently when he hunted an old whitetail buck with a lop-sided rack.
While on a hunt in Kentucky, Say was told about a big whitetail buck called Nemo. They called him this because one side of his rack was much smaller than the other. The titular character in “Finding Nemo” had a small fin.
According to the landowner, Nemo was between five-and-a-half and six years old. Several hunters had tried to harvest him over the years. They all came up empty-handed. The landowner’s trail cams captured footage of the buck over time, chronicling his maturation and antler growth. He was tough and elusive. This counted for more than any massive rack ever could.
In fact, when Say was shown photos of the bucks who called that particular piece of land home, Nemo was the only one that piqued his interest. So, when Nemo walked up on Say’s tree stand early one morning, his excitement went through the roof.
Taking the Elusive Lop-Sided Whitetail Buck
A video posted earlier this month on Wired Outdoors’ YouTube channel shows how Jason Say was able to bring down this elusive whitetail buck. Like many perfect moments, luck played a large role. As Say and his cameraman sat in the tree stand, Nemo came creeping through the brush.
Unfortunately for Say, the deer was coming in from behind his stand. He was forced to stand and turn completely around to see the deer.
The wind was against them, according to Say. It was carrying their scent directly to Nemo. As you watch the video you can tell that the whitetail buck knows something is amiss. He pauses and casts his gaze toward the camera several times. However, he never sees the hunters, so he goes about his business.
After agonizing moments tick by slowly, Say is finally able to get a shot off at the deer. Dirt jumps behind Nemo as the rifle’s report breaks the silence of the quiet Kentucky forest. Nemo, struck by the hunter’s bullet bucks once and runs.
Say calls in the landowner so that he can be there when they find the downed whitetail buck. It doesn’t take them long to find him. Nemo didn’t run far before falling. It was a clean kill.
Upon examining the whitetail buck’s body, the landowner makes an interesting discovery. Some of the tine’s on Nemo’s smaller antler are broken off. This most likely came from fighting with other bucks for territory and mating rights. Nemo may not have been had a trophy rack but he was a survivor and a fighter. This, added to the buck’s massive size provide more excitement than any big rack could.