Show Stopper

Show Stopper

Big buck was a true show stopper

After loosing my lease to hunt this season I was doubtful I would be needing to make a trip to the taxidermist. That all changed when my boyfriend offered to let me hunt his family’s 100 acres.

I set up the Tactacam with some minerals and waited to see what happened to be cruising through the area. On Aug. 13, 2022 I got the first picture of the buck that came to be known as Show Stopper. He would come by randomly in his bachelor group and started coming by less and less as the season started to approach. The neighbor was showing us pictures of Show Stopper on his camera too.

I was becoming more and more doubtful that it would all work out for me to bag the biggest buck of my hunting career thus far. But that didn’t stop me from continuing to put the work in. I shot my Wicked Ridge Invader x4 at different ranges and in different lighting to ensure it was ready for opening day.

The morning of Sept. 10 finally was here but the wind wasn’t right to hunt the Show Stopper stand. So I opted to wait until the afternoon. Then I got the picture. Show Stopper was standing perfectly broadside right in front of the stand. I kicked myself for not going, especially when the weather forecast changed for the afternoon showing rain and wind from 4 to 7 p.m. I was determined I was going to be in my stand rain or shine. My dad always told me “You can’t bag the buck sitting at home on the couch.”

Clatter, commotion, then silence

I headed to the farm and hiked into my stand as it was raining. I got settled in to my stand and hoped that the rain would stop early enough for some deer to come by. The rain seemed to never end and I was soaked. Then I saw a spike walk in front of me, and behind him was another spike and a doe. A 4-point then came in from my left but kept looking back behind him. Then I heard it. The loudest clatter and commotion from right behind my stand. And then it was silent.

I looked over my right shoulder and could see part of an antler and a tail flipping. Then I waited and waited for the buck to step out. I looked back at the other group of deer that were off to my left and feeding around, and when I glanced back I saw him. Show Stopper stepped out of the brush right beside my stand at 7:20 p.m. He took forever to work his way in and my heart was beating so fast and sounding like it might just jump out of my chest.

I closed my eyes and held my breath, listening for the tall grass to brush against him on his way in. When I glanced down, I saw that he was coming right into one of my shooting lanes. I ranged it earlier in the day and new it was 15 yards to the tree he was about to step out from behind.

Big buck gross scored 144 4/8 inches

I raised my crossbow and took the safety off, looking through the scope for him to appear. At 7:43 p.m., I let my bolt fly and saw him jump way into the air and take off. I heard him crashing. And then, silence. I was shaking so bad I couldn’t hardly call my dad and boyfriend to tell them I got him!

Dad jumped in his truck and was heading my way to help find him. He told me to stay put till he got there but I couldn’t resist. As soon as I heard his truck pull onto the gravel road I started looking. I only found half of my bolt in the edge of the woods where he ran. I couldn’t find any blood so I started to get concerned. But I walked the direction I heard him crashing around and then I saw him.

His rack was sticking up out of the tall grass and I knew without a doubt he was the biggest buck I have harvested yet! Pops got there just in time to help me drag his massive body out. I was still in shock that I actually harvested Show Stopper. I called Curtis Vaughn with Curtis Taxidermy and told him we were on our way. He put the tape to him and I was shocked to find out that he gross scored 144 4/8 inches!

This is a buck of a lifetime to me and just goes to show that you can’t get discouraged when your buck no longer is always on camera, or by a little rain. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to harvest such a beautiful buck and I’m looking forward to getting him back and on the wall!

–Kayla Pendergraft



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