Photos: Early-Season Pope & Young Buck

The story behind Jesse Easons 158-inch buck.

On only the fifth night of deer season, 24-year-old Jesse Eason of Cedar County, Missouri took her largest buck to date with a bow, a massive 10-point that measured 158 inches and was known locally as Chance. Not bad for someone who began hunting only four years earlier.
Jesse’s introduction to hunting began at Missouri State University where she met her future husband Derek. The two began dating and when hunting season approached, Derek told his non-hunting girlfriend, “Either you hunt with me or you won’t see me.” Jesse followed Derek afield and has been hooked every since.
Jesse’s first hunt came when Derek gave her a muzzleloader. The two hunted Missouri’s late season and Jesse took a doe. Many hunts followed and the couple chased turkeys, bobcats, and pheasants.
Jesse’s first deer taken with a bow was taken a year later when she killed a Pope & Young buck that measured 127. She took her first buck at more than 40 yards. Derek told her: “He’s a little further than you’re comfortable shooting. You think you can hit him?” Jesse answered: “Of course I can.” and let her arrow fly. “I made the perfect shot,” Jesse says.
But the future held an even bigger buck. Jesse and Derek began seeing a monster buck on the trail cameras they kept at the property they hunted. For more than a year they watched the buck come to a bean and turnip field like “clockwork” and joked that they each hoped to get the “Chance” to take the brute. Jesse and Derek saw Chance from their stand on the first night of the 2015 bow season. “Opening night was on a Tuesday,” Jesse recalls. “He came in just when we thought he would.” Unfortunately, Chance didn’t come to within bow range of the stand. The newly married couple hunted Friday and Saturday night and saw Chance each time. But, again, he never came in close enough for a shot. The two gambled and moved their stand to a spot they hoped would produced better results.
On Sunday night, Jesse and Derek were watching a buck feed when Jesse heard some movement in the woods behind her. She was certain it was Chance coming in to feed. It wasn’t. Rather, it was a smaller 10-point that came in to challenge the buck that was already in the field. Chance came into view moments later. He entered the field and Jesse took a broadside shot. Chance fell on the spot. Jesse and Derek have plenty of future hunts planned, and she hopes to one day take an even bigger buck… After Derek takes a deer however. “Yeah,” Jesse jokes. “It's his turn to get shoot a big one.”