For those that like the stories behind the deer here it is. For those that just want the pics there are a few of those too.
The story of Goliath began in October 2016. I was bowhunting early in the season and he was the first buck that showed up on the first day I hunted I believe. I couldnít believe it! At that time he was a very nice 4 year old 10 point but there was no way I was going to shoot the first buck I saw unless he was a giant!
Once I made the decision I wasnít going to shoot him that morning I picked up the camera and was taking some pictures and video when a yearling spike came out and decided to pick a fight with Goliath. I had to laugh while I was videoing the whole thing thinking this is like a modern day David vs Goliath. At that point he didnít have a name yet so the name Goliath kind of stuck and followed him the rest of his life. I had many other encounters with him that year but never made the decision to take him and instead ended up taking a nice mature 8 instead. Against all odds somehow Goliath made it through the 2016 season without a shot ever being fired in his direction that I know of.
Throughout the summer of 2017 I kept wondering how Goliath would look this year. We had what I thought were all the right rains at all the right times so I had really high hopes for what he would become this year. He was no doubt my #1 prospect for this season and I couldnít wait to get the cameras out and see what he looked like.
In late August we made the trip to set out cameras and the wait to get my first glimpse of him began. In late September we made the trip to pull camera cards and it was a total let down. Not only had Goliath not improved but he had lost a significant amount of body mass as well. He was now a 5 year old but had lost so much weight he could easily be mistaken for a 3 year old by anyone that didnt know the deer. I was lost and didnít know what to do about him. I had a couple of other mature deer I knew pretty well on camera but they didnít do well either this year. My #1 spot on my hit list was left wide open after the first round of pics.
The second weekend of bow season rolls around and I made the trip to the lease knowing I could take Goliath at any point because I knew his every move before he even knew what he was going to do himself. WRONG!!!!! Goliath and all the other deer had abandoned the feeders and their normal routines. At that point I wasnít even targeting Goliath or any other buck so it didnít bother me too much other than the lack of deer activity.
Two weeks later I head out to the lease again still looking for a buck to occupy my #1 spot on my hit list. On October 23ed I thought I had found one. Late in the morning I had a really tall new 10 point come in to bow range and stay for an hour. Three different times I came within a hair of taking him but I couldnít convince myself he was old enough. I kept going back and forth between him being 3 or 4 so I decided to put the bow down and just watch. I ended up seeing that same buck again the next day and couldnít believe I wasnít taking him.
The night of October 25th I decided it was time to go ahead and pick a #1 hit lister from the pics I had at that point. That night I studied what I had and told myself I would make a decision before the morning hunt. I got up at 5am the next morning and told my Dad I was going after Goliath. Goliath was still completely unpredictable but I had to try anyway. That morning was sloooooooow! Saw a buck that had busted his whole rack off and a 5 point and that was it.
That afternoon I decided to hunt that same stand again. I had a half rack 10 point come in and then the buck that busted his whole rack off passed through. It started getting late and the half rack 10 spotted something coming up behind the feeder. He laid his ears back and started to bow up so I knew there was a buck coming. Not long after that I spotted a rack pop up above the horizon and thought ďthatís a freakin shooter right thereĒ!! At that point I didnít even know it was Goliath because I have never seen him come from the west before. I picked up the binoculars and thatís when I recognized him.
The half rack 10 that was at the feeder started making his way towards Goliath and I thought they were going to fight. At this point both bucks are about 70 yards away so no chance at a shot. They both started to circle each other and then the 3 year old half rack wisely backed down and left. Goliath kind of stood there looking towards the feeders for a bit and then continued to head east. It was obvious he wasnít interested in the feeders or coming any closer to me.
A few minutes passed and I could see him picking his way through the cactus and cedars and then he made the turn to come towards me. I thought to myself ďhere we goĒ! He made his way right to the edge of the wood line at 35 yards and stopped for what seemed like ages just looking around for any Does that were in the area. There were none so my worst fears came true when he turned and went back in the brush never getting to that magic 30 yard mark that I refuse to shoot past. I thought it was over.
Another 5 minutes passed and I see movement to my left and knew right away it was Goliath again. He had circled down wind of my stand and was standing dead down wind looking right at me at a distance of 32 yards. My bow was already in my lap ready to rock and roll so I leveled the crosshairs on him but he needed to take about 3 more steps before I would let one fly. He took those extra steps to my relief but was standing looking right at me 29 yards away giving me nothing but a brisket shot which I would never take with a bow. I waited and waited and waited for him to turn broad side but then he turned to go back in the woods and I knew it was now or never.
As he was turning to leave I put the cross hairs about a foot behind his vitals as he quartered away intending to drive the arrow through the vitals and opposite shoulder. When the arrow struck him he dropped like a rock!!! I was stunned!!!! I had never hit a deer in the spine in my life but have seen it plenty of times on video so I knew what a spine shot looked like. As he was trying to get up it was obvious his back half wasnít working but I could clearly see blood pumping out his entrance wound which was perfectly placed! I was so dang confused I didnít know what to think!! On one hand his reaction screamed spine shot, but on the other hand the blood was pumping from his vitals like a perfect hit. I re-cocked the bow hoping I wouldnít have to sling another one at him but needed to be fully prepared to do so. Thankfully by the time I was ready to roll again he was all but dead. What seemed like an eternity from impact to death was in reality maybe 1 minute.
When I walked up to him one end of the arrow was sticking out the entrance (perfectly placed shot) and the other end was just below the spine on the opposite side above the shoulder. Once I opened him up it was obvious what had happened. When the arrow entered the rib cage it traveled through the vitals and as it hit the opposite shoulder it glanced upwards folding the arrow and clipping the spine as it exited. I have witnessed this same scenario on a pig shot with a rifle but never with a arrow.
I wasnít able to get really good pics like I usually would. By the time Dad got to me with the camera it was dark, windy, and extremely warm. I had to use the ATV headlights for lighting and with all the dust blowing most of the pictures were horrible. We were rushing like crazy to get him to town because of how warm it was I just didnít have time to mess with lots of pics. Thankfully we got there and someone was at the processor to take him in.
I have no idea why he lost so much weight. There was no obvious signs of injury or sickness and it was well before the rut when I got my first pics of him. In the game cam pics below you can see the weight loss from 2016 to 2017. Donít pay attention to the date stamps on the pics. That camera does not keep the correct date anymore.20162017