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The Berry Farm Buck


Now Posts as Jesse..
SE Ohio
I'm in the deer story mood! :smiley_bbq:

Going into the 2004-2005 season, I was beginning to turn from casual hunter to dedicated bowhunter. By the time the season drew to a close, I was a full on bowhunting addict and the buck I called “Berry” played a huge role into transforming a minor ailment into a full fledged disorder!!! :cool:

Around this time in that fall, Tracie bought me my first trail camera, a POS Moultrie 35mm. Along with the camera, I received a few “attraction” oriented goodies. Shortly after a short trail camera crash course, I headed to the woods with my new toy and an apple flavored mineral block. I hung the camera on the best trail on my only hunting property at the time, which is the same 10 acres my 2008 buck came from. I left the camera for almost a month, only to return and find a dead battery and a wasted roll of film. Son of a bitch! :mad:

After fooling with the camera some more, I thought I had it working properly and decided to hang it in a thick patch of brush off the backside of an abandoned blue and blackberry field. I hung the camera over a fresh scrape during the third week of October and returned a couple of weeks later to find yet another dead battery and one “measly” picture on the roll of film. Lucky for me, my first trail cam picture (and the only one I ever got off that camera) was of this buck. It wasn’t long before he was dubbed “The Berry Farm Buck” or “Berry” for short…

Being a novice hunter, and naïve, I set my sites on this deer and it was going to be him or bust. Needless to say, as a 22-year old college student, I didn’t hunt nearly as much as I would have liked to thanks to my “extracurricular” activities. Despite my lack of dedication to the bowhunting side of things, I knew I would have all of gun season off and I planned to make the best of it. The first two days came and went without much excitement. On Wednesday of the gun week, I came home for lunch and got to talking with a buddy about some sign I had found earlier in the season and it wasn’t long before the light bulb went off! :smiley_chinrub:

On the third weekend of bow season, I made a marginal hit on a small doe and she went much further than I would have liked for her to go. However, during the track job, I was introduced to some uncharted territory where I stumbled on to some of the most amazing sign I have found. Even to this day, the sign that I stumbled on that day is the most impressive calling signs of a big buck I have ever found. Located on a small wooded hogsback between a pasture field and a small slough loaded with young willows, was a scrape 6’ in diameter in the middle of a circle of trees with no less than a dozen rubs facing the scrape. Even as a rookie, I knew this was the kind of sign I needed to key in on. Unfortunately, I did not have permission to hunt that particular property at that time, so it would have to wait…

After I hung up the phone with my buddy, I made a call to the landowner and asked for permission to make a quick pass around the property while I was on my lunch break. Fortunately, I was granted permission, so I grabbed my dad’s Mossberg 500 and came up with a harebrained idea on how I would kill a big buck from the infamous willow slough. Knowing the landowner had brush hogged most of the area around the slough, I decided I could make a stealthy approach to within 50-60 yards of the slough. From there, I would have the wind at my back and I could use my scent to push the deer out of the slough. Thanks to some recon from the person renting the house on this land, I knew how the bucks crossed the road when they left this area, so I made sure I could cover that exit route once I got to where I could effectively “push” the slough.

So here goes this novice hunter, with his cockamamie scheme to slay a big buck, using a borrowed gun while stalking through the brush on a 70-degree December 1st afternoon! Seem funny to me know how sure I was at the time it would work, yet I know it was mostly luck that it actually did! No long after I reached an opening in the brush where I could see the slough, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Instantly, I shouldered the gun and immediately located two nice bucks in the scope as they were attempting to sneak out the back door using the hogsback to conceal their escape. The first pull of the trigger kind of surprised me and I was even more surprised to see zero reaction from the buck at the shot! “Shit! How did I miss?!?” was the first thing that ran through my mind. I quickly racked in a new shell and touched off another round and this time, I got my monies worth as the buck’s rear end dropped to the ground and his rack came into full view. For the first time, I realized the true caliber of what I had just shot at!

It took me a matter of seconds to cover the 50 yards between us and less time than that to call my old man on the phone. “I shot him. He’s dead. It’s him. The buck from the picture. All I want for Christmas is to get him mounted.” It was all coming out in a tangled, out of breath mess and I could hear my dad laughing on the other end as he said: “Did you kill a deer or are you auditioning for a porno?!? Take a deep breath and tell me what happened!” What can I say, I was standing over my first wall hanger and I was a little excited!!! :smiley_carnaval:

Berry was aged and scored by my taxidermist at the time as a 6.5 year old, 136” gross 9-point with a 25” neck. When I took him to the processor, his dressed weight was 198 pounds. I remember the processor telling me that had I killed him around the time I got the picture of him on October 28, he might have been one of the largest dressed weight bucks he had ever seen in 25 years of processing deer. I’ve spent the last six years trying to top Berry, but even if I do, I doubt I’ll ever forget the excitement I felt that day standing over “the one from the picture”…



The Crew
Swanton, Ohio
Good to hear the story sober. I just might remember it this time around:smiley_adfundum::smiley_adfundum::smiley_adfundum:

I'll take all the luck I can get. Lucky beats good everytime:smiley_bril: