KILLER 8 STORY FOR THOSE THAT LIKE TO READ
The story of “Killer 8” began last year in November 2015 for me. Prior to the first week of rifle season I had never seen this deer before and never gotten game cam pics of him either. One morning I was up in my tripod and about 275 yards away I saw a buck chasing does and “Killer 8” was right behind them. That was my first of several encounters with him last season but was holding off for a very old and wide 8 point that was 13 years old so I never considered taking him.
Last year we also had a stud of a 3 year old crab claw 10 point that me and another lease member had been seeing all season long but were holding off on him for the 2016 season with high hopes that he would probably be the best buck ever taken on our lease. Mother nature has a way of screwing things like that up some times though and I got a text in December of last year that the big 10 was dead under a feeder and he didn’t know how he died. After the other lease member brought the game cam card back to camp and we went through it we were stunned at what we saw. The big 3 year old 10 had gotten locked up with the nice 8 we were seeing and the 8 point had killed him. That’s how he earned the name “Killer 8”.
The 2016 season rolls around and after my first round of game cam pics I was pretty disappointed. There were pigs EVERYWHERE and not many good bucks showing up at all. Killer 8 was showing up on another lease members camera but not on mine.
Bow season rolls around and still no pics of Killer 8 but was seeing some other nice bucks so I wasn’t too worried about getting a buck this year. With all the warm weather in bow season I had to move a bow stand so I could hunt a trail because the south west winds were keeping me pinned down in one stand all the time and I like to have options and at that point I had none. After getting the stand moved and brushed in I climbed in it that afternoon and despite not having any pics at all of Killer 8 he was one of my first visitors that afternoon. He walked within probably 15 yards of me and I never took the shot. I still don’t know why I didn’t do it but after telling the guy that hunts next to me about it he suggested I see a doctor. At that point I started questioning my decision to let him go since I didn’t have anything better on camera and still no pics of him either. I was thinking that could have been my first and last opportunity at him and I let it pass by.
Opening morning of rifle season rolls around and I still didn’t have a target buck to go after and after pulling all my camera cards after the morning hunt nothing had changed except that I had 3 pics of Killer 8 on 10/30.
Sunday morning rolls around and a few of us die hard hunters made a mad dash to our stands with insane heavy rain only about 30 minutes to our west. Just before day break it starts to come a flood and it continued for over 3 hours!! During that mess I had 2 black pigs hanging around back in the brush but the thunder had them too skittish to come out. I decided that since I got my rear end out of bed I was going to make it worth my time so I busted one of the pigs with my 7Mag. Only saw one deer during that morning hunt and it was a spike so I headed back to camp around 10am with the plan of getting a early start that afternoon figuring the deer would be moving after that storm.
That afternoon I left camp around 2:30pm and made the 5 mile ATV ride though the muddy mess all the rain had created. After parking the ATV I grabbed my rifle and back pack that weighed about 30+ pounds with all the corn I had in it and started the 1 mile hike to my stand. With all my rain gear on and the mild temps along with the extra weight of the pack I was getting pretty darn warm as I neared my tripod stand.
Once I was about 75 yards behind my tripod I looked up on the side of the mountain where I have a feeder and could see 3 deer up there about 350 yards away. Even with the naked eye I could tell one of them was a good buck so I slung my rifle off my shoulder and glassed him with my scope since my binoculars were still in my pack. I could see it was 2 Does and a 5 year old basket rack 8 point I was familiar with so I continued with my walk to the base of the tripiod. When I reached the tripod ladder I looked up to where the deer were again and they were gone. My first thought was that they may have winded me because the wind was not out of the best direction for that stand anyway.
I took my back pack off so I could go spread the corn I brought with me then saw a Doe run across the side of the mountain about 300 yards away and right behind her I saw a big buck. I scrambled to get my rifle on him and could tell it was a dang nice buck and NOT the same mature basket 8 that was there only minutes before. At that distance there was absolutely no way I was going to try a free handed shot so I started shedding my rain gear and everything else and sprinted up the tripod ladder as quick as I could.
By the time I got to the top of the tripod I had already seen him switch directions and run back the other way and by the time I got settled in he was gone. I waited a few minutes thinking he was coming down the mountain to the creek bottom but he was a no show until I saw that same doe go running back the other way again at about 275-285 yards up on the mountain and he was right behind her again but moving way to dang fast to risk a shot. I yelled at him as loud as I could and he stopped on a dime………RIGHT BEHIND 2 FREAKING CEDARS!!! All I could see was his front shoulder and at that point I still had no idea how many points he was. With my mind going a million miles an hour asking myself if I really wanted to shoot a buck that I didn’t know much about, I was able to convince myself I had seen enough of him that I couldn’t really go wrong with what ever he ended up being.
I flipped off the safety and squeezed off a round from the 300 Ultra Mag. It was like slow motion waiting for the “KAAAWHOP” from the bullet impact telling me it was a solid hit and when I heard it I knew he was hit. I was even able to see him do a back flip through the scope which surprised me because the recoil of that gun will usually not allow you to witness impact like that. Not totally convinced my eyes saw what they really saw with him going down I decided to go back for the ATV before going to look for the deer.
On the way back to the ATV I was exchanging texts with a few other lease members asking what I shot and I am sure they thought I was an idiot because I didn’t have any answers at that time. One forum/lease member asked if it was a buck and I think my reply was something like “I hope so”.
Once I walked up on him I recognized him right off the bat as “Killer 8”. I don’t think I have ever had a hunt come together quite like that one did!