The Dexter brother’s three year quest
My story starts in the fall of 2010, which was the first time my brother, Kyle and I saw this buck on a trail camera. He was huge, we knew he was at least a three and half year old buck. We got a few more pictures of him, at the time he was broken past the G-2. We told each other that it would be hard to pass him up and we would almost have to take him and just repair the rack. But the year went by without an actual sighting of him.
We went into the next year hoping to catch him again, and on November 10, 2011 we did, this time with both sides and he was very impressive, the biggest buck we had ever seen on a camera. So we continued to hunt hard and again no sighting of the deer in daylight as we had hundreds of pictures but all at night. The camera was taken down at the end of the season leaving us hope for the next year and what it would bring.
The start of 2012 my brother Kyle and I still dreamed and hoped the buck was alive, we did not hear of any one in the area getting the elusive buck and with the mild winter we expected a great season ahead of us. The bow season again showed no sign of the buck and also no pictures on the trail camera. We were afraid that he was already bagged by another hunter or the new EHD had taken him as it has many other deer in the area this year. Then on November 11 a day to the year almost he showed up.
We knew he had to be at least five and half years old by now and was bigger than ever. We also got him on the morning of the 14th, so I knew I was going to be ready even if I had to work third shift, so that day I went and set two-eye bolts in the two trees we had planned to hunt for opening day. I flipped a coin with my father to see who got what stand as we always do and he won the better of the two. That evening before opening day my father found out he had to report for jury duty so I decided to hunt the stand. I was beyond excited about what morning would possible bring, I got out of work at 4:30 a.m. and was ready and out to my brother’s house by 6 a.m. Having been up all night for work, I strapped myself in the tree ready for a long day ahead. Fifteen minutes after first light I had a nice 6-point come in, he was bedded 60 yards from me, he was a nice two and half year old that was missing a brow tines, he passed 15 yards broadside and went behind my stand. I sat there thinking how 10 years ago I would have been so excited at a chance at a deer like that, and now was just happy to pass him up in hopes of the massive buck.
Now with the 6-point behind me I could hear him moving around, I heard a snort wheeze and I decided to look because it seemed odd to me. In all my years of hunting I have only heard that three times, mostly by mature bucks, so I saw a buck in thick cover and assumed it was the 6-point. Then I saw the 6-point sneaking out like he was scared to death, so I shouldered my shotgun to get a better look, but the scope fogged up and in the brush I couldn’t see. My broadside shot turned into a straight away shot so I let him go, not really knowing what buck that was, just that he was much bigger than the previous one. They were headed to my brother, Kyle’s stand and in a few minutes I was about to call him, my phone rang and he told me he shot the big buck.
I asked what big buck and he replied, “THE BIG BUCK!”
Just then I saw a head with a big main beam. I told Kyle I had to let him go, I was putting my phone away and when I looked up he was gone. I knew that he couldn’t be far so I scanned the area and about every 30 seconds I heard him move through the brush. I waited 10 minutes and was about to call Kyle and as I looked up I saw him step out! I knew this was the buck Kyle had named “Ghost in the Darkness.” I leaned back to rest the gun on a branch to steady the shot, it was a little awkward of a position, but I wanted a steady shot. I looked through the scope and told myself as I placed the crosshairs on his shoulder that, “Kalen, this is the shot of your life!” My first shot grazed the front of his chest cutting the skin and the buck didn’t even flinch! I kept telling myself not to panic and I aimed again, this time hitting right behind the shoulder passing through the opposite shoulder destroying the bone. He nose-dived, turned and ran my way at about 60 yards. He slowed and nose-dived again, then again at 50 yards I hit him causing him to take two more steps before he fell. I saw his legs kick out and then I lost him in the brush. I watched the area, waiting to see if he would get up. I called Kyle to say I shot the big buck. I could hear the frustration in his voice because the buck kicked his back legs when Kyle shot, he thought a double lung hit, but I shot 10 minutes later, when I first saw the buck, he looked as if he was un-hit and scanning the area looking for his next move. After almost two hours of waiting, Kyle met me at my stand and we slowly approached where I thought he was lying and looking 20 yards away I could see his throat patch sticking up, he was stuck in the mud. We pulled the beast out and wiped off his antlers, and I sat there in complete amazement at what had happened leading up to this very day.
Three years of Kyle and I hoping and praying for this, and here we were finally sitting over him. It brought both sheer joy and some sadness that the quest was over that the excitement of catching him would never be. And though the buck was ours and it was in front of us we felt as if we lost a good friend.
I tagged the deer, and followed the blood trail to where I shot him, finding the big splotches where I hit each time. Then we went to where Kyle shot him from his stand to look for the blood trail, we searched the entire area and were unable to find any blood. Kyle said he knew he hit the back, with how he reacted. After examining the deer and field dressing him we found that his hit was through the last rib angled back, a fatal hit for sure. I really believe that without each other we would not have this deer, as I probably wouldn’t have seen him. Without much of a blood trail and thinking it was a double lung hit we would have jumped him off the property.
A deer like this could have ruined a friendship for sure, but it has drawn us closer and I believe that God in all His wisdom planned this to work out exactly this way. Looking at it we both have had a hand in taking the elusive “Ghost in the Darkness” buck, the one we lost sleep over and could not eat thinking and breathing of this very day for the last three years. The memories will last a lifetime, I am so thankful to be able to share this with my brother Kyle.
Official green score for the Dexters’ 12-point from Schupbach’s Sporting Goods was 188 3/8, weight dressed was 200 pounds and aged 6 ½ by local taxidermist.