To Hunt a Legendary Buck Deer
Day 1: How Legends about Bucks Get Started
Editor’s Note: Some sly, ole bucks fool so-many hunters and live so long they become legends. Hunting one of these trophies is a supreme challenge. A buck deer with a reputation may require a hunter with a reputation to take him.
When I received the shipment that contained Old Scarface I decided he was the ugliest buck that ever had come through my taxidermy shop, which I ran for 20 years. The animal was a mass of jagged scars, scrapes and head wounds. Usually when a deer was badly scarred, we’d cut the scars out and re-sew the hide. But this time, there were so-many places missing hair that this procedure wasn’t possible. “I’m not going to be able to repair all the bad markings on your deer,” I told the out-of-state hunter who was listening on the other end of the phone. “I don’t want the scars removed,” the hunter answered. “That deer is Old Scarface. He’s outsmarted every hunter on our club for over 6 years. He’s been shot-at, missed, hit, and driven every hunter on the club crazy. For awhile, we almost believed he was a ghost, because no gun could bring him down. We had tried driving, stalking, standing and every-other tactic known to man to bag this deer. But until I finally took him, nothing worked. No sir, don’t you change or remove any of those battle scars. That deer was a warrior, a credit to his breed and a legend in Georgia. We want him mounted just the way he was.”
How Legends about Bucks Get Started:
The best deer hunters in America today hunt the legends. These men have taken enough deer in their lives to prove their prowess. Taking a deer, any deer, is no longer a feat for these veteran woodsmen. For this reason, they enjoy pitting their woods skills against the best of the breed – the legendary mossy horns – that are few and far between. As one of these sportsmen told me recently, “Finding a real deer to hunt is getting harder and harder. And when this hunter says a “real deer” he doesn’t mean just any deer. He’s talking about …
* a trophy deer, a deer that may require several seasons to take.
* a deer that must be at least 3-years old. Most of the time the animal will be 5-years old or older.
* a deer that has survived many hunter encounters.
* a deer that feeds almost exclusively at night, which makes taking him that much-more difficult.
* a trophy buck with a bedding area in thick cover or in cover where he can see a hunter approach from a great distance.
* a deer that knows the routine of most of the hunters who usually try and take him.
* a trophy that doesn’t throw caution to the wind during the rut.
* a deer that utilizes does and younger bucks as sentinels when he travels.
* a deer that moves only through thick cover, if he ever moves in daylight hours.
* a trophy with habits, haunts and peculiarities that a hunter must learn before a shot can be considered.
* a deer believed to be smarter than man.
* a deer that has been shot-at and educated by a great many hunters over a long time.
* a deer thought to be untakeable.
* a deer that is a legend.
This deer is the best of the breed. If not taken, he probably will die of natural causes in 1 or 2 years. He has the personality of a fox, the cunning of a cat, the speed of a cheetah, the illusiveness of a chameleon and the nature of a ghost. And, those buck legends are the challenges for the true trophy hunter. The weight of the deer and the size of his antlers aren’t nearly as important to the hunter as the reputation the animal has obtained.