It took perseverance, a few changes to deer stands and locations, and a little bit of luck, but it all came together in time of Joshua Sparks of Marion to kill the deer of his dreams last month, and it all started with a trail camera photo he obtained after hunting season had already started.

The buck weighed 200 pounds, had an inside spread of 19.75 inches, and has been gross green-scored in the mid 140s.

“I got the hunting rights to some land my uncle owns in Marion, so I went out there and put out some corn and a trail camera on the back of the 188-acre tract. After 3 weeks, I did not have a single photo of deer. I knew there had to be deer on the property though, so I walked through it and found a lot of deer sign on the front of the property,” said Sparks.

Sparks moved his trail camera and made another corn pile, and within a week, he had a photo of a definite shooter, as well as some other bucks. He put up a ladder stand there, and began hunting it. Unfortunately, even though he saw plenty of deer, he kept getting busted by them. After this happened too many times to be mere coincidence, Sparks decided to make another change.

“I decided I had to make a stand change if I want to even get that big boy to walk out. So I put a tripod up with a little better concealment,” he said.

His trail camera photos showed that the big buck was walking through that area almost every evening just before dark, so the next time he got out of work early enough, he headed to the woods.

“I drove straight there after work, changed out of my work uniform and into my hunting clothes, sprayed myself down with scent killer, changed hats, grabbed my .270, and walked to the stand by 6:45 p.m. At 7, a fawn and yearling showed up, stuck around for a few minutes, and then ran off,” he said.

Sparks waited. And waited. And waited. And the waiting paid off.

“It was just about too late to see, and I saw something step out behind the corn pile. I grabbed my binoculars and looked. It was him! The one I’d been looking for,” said Sparks, who wasted no time mounting his .270 Weatherby rifle and putting the crosshairs of his Leupold VXII scope on the deer’s shoulder.

“I clicked off the safety and squeezed the trigger. When I looked up from the scope, he was on the ground. He got right back up and ran off, but then I heard him crash,” he said.

Sparks found the big buck about 50 yards from where he’d shot it.