One look at the massive rack and huge-bodied deer in the 2014 deer season prompted Spartanburg County bowhunter Mike Kossover to commit to hunting that specific buck. Kossover knew his patience would be an asset, but he didn’t realize it would be a three-year quest.
Kossover said it was worth the three-year effort when he finally got his shot at the 210 pound, 10-point Spartanburg County buck. The antlers measured a whopping 20-1/2 inch inside and 22 ½ outside spread and was green scored at 154 1/8 by his taxidermist.
“I found it’s true that when you see the buck of a lifetime, you’ve got to go all in to get it,” Kossover said. “I first saw this deer in 2014 on photos from a trail camera and I got one good look at him while hunting that year, but too far for a bow shot. In 2015 I placed multiple trail cameras around my hunting area and got plenty of photos of the buck plus three visuals while hunting. But 50 yards was as close as I got. He was elusive.”
Kossover said his trail camera photos in 2015 helped him determine the big buck’s core area was a gnarly clearcut. In 2016, all preseason plans focused on targeting that area.
“During the offseason I did some serious scouting in the clearcut and found one small high spot with numerous trails crossing,” he said. “I found an ideal setup for my ground blind with five small pines situated perfectly. I hand-cleared the minimum amount of brush for a shooting lane, creating as little intrusion as possible.”
Kossover credits his hunting buddy Chuck Mulkey from Chuck’s Taxidermy in Anderson with helping him with some of the strategy employed for taking this buck.
“He’s taken some huge bucks and as my mentor, he helped me stay all in for this buck and stick to a good plan,” Kossover said.
Kossover hunted the buck on opening day, which began with a good wind direction, but once he was in the blind, the wind changed. He opted to stay away from the core area until wind conditions were perfect, hunting outlying areas with good wind direction in hopes the buck would slip in. He passed on some nice bucks, waiting for the one he’d named “Mac Daddy.”
The proper wind opportunity to hunt the core area came on September 18th.
“At about 7 o’clock that evening, an 8-pointer entered my shooting lane and from that moment for about 40 minutes I was hyper-focused and ready to shoot the crossbow,” he said. “I felt at any moment ‘Mac Daddy’ was going to walk in. After 20 minutes the 8-pointer left and a 4-pointer slipped in. A few minutes later that deer began to act very nervous about something behind him. I saw the antlers of ‘Mac Daddy’ weaving through the dense cover, and the smaller buck left. The buck slipped in to the edge of my lane and stopped behind a tree. I was able to see the antlers the entire time he approached. It was nerve-racking. The light was fading and I had only a very short time left to shoot. He was literally one step away from a perfect shot for several minutes and one step from his right foot would put him broadside at 12 yards. Finally he took that step and I took the shot immediately.”
Kossover said the buck went no more than 50 yards and his three-year quest for the trophy buck was over. He said it was a lesson in patience and perseverance.
“I’ve learned what being all-in for a trophy buck means and trust me, it’s worth it,” he said.