2 Trophies Down

Bluegrass Bruiser With October just around the corner, it's probably a safe bet that your heart, soul, and mind are already in the treestand somewhere. However, many hunters across the nation have been extremely busy over the past few weeks turning hopes and dreams into reality. In fact, Nick Brumley of Kentucky recently punched a gaping arrow hole through an early-season monster that would make any hunter's jaw drop. For several weeks, Brumley had been capturing some very impressive trail-cam pictures of this velvet-coated bruiser on some farmland in Jefferson County. The deer was sticking to a fairly predictable bedding to feeding pattern during the late evening hours. With opening day rapidly approaching, Brumley was very confident that his stand location would generate a close encounter with the top-heavy shooter. However, the anxious hunter's first evening in the field was not very productive. He decided to stay out of the area during the early morning hours and focus more on the late evening hunts. Consequently, this strategy paid off the next evening when Brumley's buck showed up just before dark. The deer jumped a fence and slowly started working its way across the field and into bow range.
Without hesitation, Brumley came to full draw and rested his pin directly on the buck's vitals. A heavy thud from the arrow's impact broke the evening silence and sent the whitetail frantically running for cover, but it was too late. The shot was perfect and Brumley found the high-racked monster a short distance from his stand. This phenomenal early-season buck was packing a rack that green-scored 204 and netted 187. Can you imagine connecting with a deer of this magnitude during the opening weekend of season? The bad news is that Brumley has already punched his only buck tag in the Bluegrass State. On the other hand, I can't think of a better way for any deer hunter to start or end a season for that matter. Congratulations Nick on one heck of a buck!
A Buck For Ronnie
In today's hectic and chaotic world, it can sometimes be easy to forget all about the really important things in life. On a daily basis, we are all locked to a seemingly endless chain of deadlines and commitments that often restrict our very existence. However, life will occasionally find away to break this monotonous cycle with a wake-up call that brings us crashing back down to reality. This is exactly what happened to Brad Graham and Jim Strader recently during a deer hunting trip to the big buck state of Kansas, where they would chase the buck pictured here.
Both Graham and Strader had worked extremely hard to tie up loose ends and finish all of their work before making the long drive to hunt with their good friend Darris Meitler of Wolf Creek Outfitters. Everything seemed to be going as planned until an alarming phone call changed the mood of the trip. A cold chill overcame Strader's entire body when he heard the news that their lifelong hunting and fishing partner Ronnie Poindexter had passed away. Over the years, this was a guy they had spent countless hours with in the woods chasing whitetails and on the water catching bass.
All of a sudden, busy schedules and life's trivial things no longer seemed to matter quite as much. What was deer season and spring fishing going to be like without Ronnie? Questions like these began to dredge up a lot of old memories that brought both men straight to tears.
Ultimately, it was a tough decision, but Graham and Strader decided to turn back around and call off the trip they had been planning for months. The thought crossed their minds that their friend would probably want them to hit the woods despite of everything, but there was no way they could enjoy the hunt under these sad circumstances. Strader immediately called the outfitter and canceled the hunt with a heavy heart. On the bright side, Darris Meitler told the grief stricken hunters that there were more important things in life than deer hunting and not to worry about the cancellation. He even extended the invitation for Graham and Strader to come back the following week after the funeral.
As you can imagine, attending the services and trying to comfort their friend's grieving widow really took a toll on both men. At this point, they really didn't feel much like climbing back into a treestand. However, they knew the last thing Ronnie would have wanted was to knock either of them out of a trip of a lifetime. After discussing it for hours, they decided to go ahead and make the drive back to Kansas. Graham and Strader also felt like they should dedicate the entire hunt to the memory of their lost hunting buddy. Little did they know that they would go on to kill this magnificent deer.
Consequently, it was very late at night when both men rolled into camp and their minds were racing in about a hundred different directions. The next morning they packed-up some gear and hit the field with a lot of sadness still lingering on their minds. A cold-front had moved into the area and it seemed the woods were alive with activity. Graham and Strader observed a ton of deer during the first morning, but the shooters seemed to always stray just out of range. Graham and Meitler decided to get an early start and hunt together that evening. Their setup was perfect and within minutes deer began to filter in from all sides of canyon. Without warning, a high-racked 10-pointer with split G2 points walked into an opening. Graham quickly took aim and squeezed the trigger, but an alarming clicking sound spooked the buck.
With everything on his mid, he had forgotten to place a cap in the muzzle-loader. Graham could not believe this had happened to him and he began to wonder if a second chance would present itself. Fate must have been smiling down on Graham, because he spotted a second buck that was even bigger than the first one a few minutes later. Unfortunately, there was no shot opportunity and both men had to literally tuck and run in order to intercept the monster buck.
Graham was out of breath and shaking when he reached an old fence post that was well within range of the buck. Quickly, he steadied his aim and squeezed the trigger, which generated an echoing boom and a heavy thud on the other end. After 30 years of hunting, Graham was unable to describe the flood of emotions that overcame him when he stood over the massive-racked buck.
This was a trophy that will forever hold a special place in his heart. For these two hunters, the giant 15-pointer that will score around 190 will always be remembered as the buck for their friend Ronnie.
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