Diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever a month ago, Jordan Shinn of Salisbury has struggled to get back into the deer stand, missing most of archery season. But on Nov. 2, he rallied and was strong enough to arrange a final encounter with a buck he’d seen twice before: a 132 1/2-inch Montgomery County 10-pointer.
Shinn and this buck have a bit of history. First caught on a trail camera in the summer of 2015, Shinn had the opportunity to take him during last year’s archery season, but he decided to let him go and grow another year.
He’s glad he did. When captured on camera in 2016, Shinn estimated him to have put on nearly 50 inches of antler.
“At the beginning of September, I got pictures of him in velvet,” said Shinn. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Shinn was ready to target the buck but had to suspend his efforts when he got sick. Once on the mend, he climbed a stand that overlooked a bedding area in the predominantly pine forest of the 1,100 acres he shares with the rest of the Dry Creek Hunting Club.
After the buck ran past his shooting lane, he adjusted his seat to prepare for the next shot, and the seat squeaked. The sound alerted the deer, which stared him down before fleeing the scene. Four days later, he bundled in layers to combat the chills he was still experiencing and climbed in again.
“Right at daylight, I hit my grunt call,” said Shinn. “Something got up and started running. I had a yearling come in. About 20 minutes later, I had a nanny and another yearling come in.”
Believing the doe to be hot, Shinn decided to play on the buck’s instincts.
“I hit my Primos call and he came running. He came right down the same trail he had before. When he came across at 20 yards in the firebreak lane, I mouth-grunted at him, and he stopped.”
Quickly shouldering his .50 caliber CVA Optima muzzleloader, Shinn squeezed the trigger and let the smoke roll. The bullet tore a hole behind the buck’s shoulder, and he crumpled to the ground.
“He’s got a lot of character,” said Shinn. “He’s got bladed points and G-3s that kind of curve in. The inside spread is 17 inches, and the longest (tine) is just shy of 11 inches. He weighed 160 pounds, which tells me he’s probably a 3½-year-old.”