Windleybuck1It was a slow Friday in deer dogging country when Norfolk, Va., firefighter Gary Windley slid into a dried up swamp edge where he had caught many deer before trying to escape pursuing deer hounds. He had climbed into a stand before light that morning and hunted silently the first few hours of daylight before heading back to the hunt club where he is a member. His club only runs dogs on Saturdays during the middle of the season.

But on the way back, he noticed another club hunting with dogs on a nearby tract, so he slid back to the swamp stand on his club’s lease with the hope that he might intercept a deer slipping away from the mayhem.

Picking a spot out on the ground Gary sat down and waited. But it wasn’t long before he heard rustling leaves off to his right and glanced over only to see this monster charging from cover. He swung his shotgun up in one fluid motion and fired, thus killing the biggest deer of his life. In fact, it was probably the biggest deer ever killed at the club, at least in the last 15 to 20 years. Heck, this is a bigger deer than most of us will ever see on the hoof and many of Gary’s fellow hunters admitted they had never seen anything like it.

Windleybuck2The buck has13 scoreable points and a few stickers though Gary has yet to have the buck officially scored. It’s at the taxidermist’s now where it is being prepared for entry into Virginia state’s Big Buck Contest later in 2008. The firefighter said the outside spread was 19 inches. And while he didn’t measure how tall the rack was, by looking at the photos, it is clearly much taller than it is wide.

But what’s most impressive on this beast is the mass. The palmation in the right antler spreads out wider than a big man’s hands and Gary said he couldn’t even wrap his hands around the bases. I can’t wait to hear what the big boy scores.

My brother owns the small farm adjacent to the property where Gary’s buck was taken and actually includes part of the swamp from where the trophy lived. And while I don’t expect to ever catch a bruiser like this one cruising past my stand, the thought that his offspring is nearby and could one day reach similar size is as enticing a thought as any hunter can dream about. I know it sure makes sitting on a stand for long hours more endurable. It also guarantees my brother will have some extra help around his property during the off-season so I can hunt there a little more during the season. Ha, he can’t say he hasn’t been warned! --Doug Howlett