It was November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Rick Cross was deer hunting in southern Calhoun County from a stand he hadn’t hunted all season. This particular stand overlooked a marshy lake bottom, exactly the type of place you would think whitetails would be after several days of gun season.
It was a very cold morning, and Rick sat in the open air, hunting from a climbing tree stand. Three does came through, but a half hour later, a coyote took the same trail. Cross wasn’t optimistic about seeing any deer after the predator worked past him, and Rick’s phone started blowing up from family members who needed help with weekend chores.
At 11 a.m., the hunter climbed down and decided to cross the marsh. When he got to a covert, he saw a doe jump the creek into the marsh.
Cross said, “I stood there looking for more movement when I heard a commotion in the weeds. Two fawns busted out of the cover and ran by me, followed by a doe and a buck. When I saw the buck, he was within twenty yards, and all I could see was the left side of his antlers. I knew he was definitely a shooter. I pulled up my gun, and all I could see through the scope was brown, so I looked down the side of the barrel and squeezed the trigger. He went down and rolled. He tried to get up, and I took a second shot. To be honest, the antler mass threw me, and I completely missed the second shot. I loaded a third bullet, but it was not needed. I found the buck lying dead a mere fifteen feet from my son’s (Tyler) tree stand, who ironically didn’t want to hunt with me that morning.”
The buck has thirteen points and carries incredible mass throughout its heavy rack. It’s a main-frame 5×5, with eight points on the right antler and five on the left. The left G2 measures a whopping 13 5/8 inches, and the right brow tine is an incredible 10 5/8 inches. The main beams are each 24 7/8 inches and sport an inside spread of 19 3/8 inches. The gross green score is 192 2/8 inches, and the green net score is 184 7/8 Boone and Crockett points as a non-typical.
The buck hardly had any teeth left and has been estimated to have been at least six and a half years old.
Cross said, “My neighbors had trail camera pics of this buck when he was in velvet, but then he disappeared and hadn’t resurfaced until the morning that I shot him. I think that I saw him last year. During the 2021 season, I shot an 8-point with my crossbow and left him to get help. I left my crossbow with the deer when walking out, and I walked up on a mass monster that I think was the same buck I shot this year. Typically, I’m a meat hunter because I have three kids, but I am pleasantly pleased with this great buck!”
Even though Tyler didn’t hunt with his dad that morning, he’s still proud of his dad and has had many opportunities to boast about his dad’s accomplishments. Tyler works at the Subway store in Union City and told his dad that numerous customers have come in talking about “the big buck.” Tyler proudly says, “Yeah, that’s my dad!”
This is the second 2022 buck in southern Calhoun County to be measured by a CBM measurer to have a gross score in the 190s. The other buck was shot by Dominic Simmons and was featured in the January issue of Woods-N-Water News.