After hunting nearly every morning and afternoon between work shifts, Bo Tucker of Inman finally got an opportunity on Nov. 23 to take one of the biggest bucks he’s ever seen, a massive, 20-inch main-frame 8-pointer he’d nicknamed “Hollywood” because the buck was on camera so much.
Tucker first noticed the buck this past summer, and he watched him grow from knobs on this antler pedicles to the huge rack he wore the week of Thanksgiving. He showed up in trail-camera photos almost every day until archery season opened Sept. 15, then he vanished.
“I was afraid the deer was shot at night by a poacher, but I had faith the buck was still around,” he said, hearing rumors that a poacher had been night-hunting in the area.
When archery season began, Tucker hunted every day, early morning and night in hopes Hollywood would show up, but through bow season and well into gun season, the buck remained at large. Tucker began to lose hope until a buddy, Chris Neal, got a trail-camera photo of Hollywood on the adjacent property. Then, Tucker got a video of the buck browsing through one of his food plots.
“It gave me some encouragement, and I started to hunt him hard again,” he said.
Tucker kept hunting the stands where his trail cameras had gotten all of the photos of the deer, and he still came up empty. He saw plenty of deer — and several decent bucks — but Hollywood was still at large until a late-night encounter on a Saturday.
“My wife and I were pulling out of our driveway, and he was standing in the hayfield right in front of us,” Tucker said. “The deer looked at us face to face as we pulled out and headed down the road. I realized right then, the buck had moved across the road and was probably bedding in the thicket at the back of the hayfield.”
Tucker quickly put together a plan and couldn’t wait until Nov. 23 to execute it. That afternoon, he was running late from work and got home at 5:10, with barely enough time to grab his jacket, Remington 700 rifle and stool and slipping across the road, setting up next to a bale of hay in the field for the last 30 minutes of daylight.
At 5:30, a doe eased out of a thicket and walked all the way the across the hayfield. Tucker looked back toward the edge of he field, and 10 minutes later, he saw another deer enter on the same path — but this one had a head full of antlers easily visible to the naked eye.
“I pulled up my binoculars and quickly realized it was Hollywood,” he said.
The buck was still more than 180 yards away, but it stopped walking and began looking at Tucker, who had shouldered his rifle and had the buck in his crosshairs. He squeezed off a shot, dropping the buck right in its tracks.