Caught up to one of our old guys. Here is his story the best I can tell it.
Back in 2016, we had a bachelor group of bucks who were regulars at one protein feeder on the southwest side of the ranch. Two big mature 10s and a mature 9 with double rows of split tines on his left side. The fourth deer in that group was a skinny tined 2yr old 8pt who ate so vigorously that he completed dented on turned over one of his antlers in velvet from banging the feeder. We found that shed that same year in the pen. He was a regular to watch even after dispersal, but wasn't given much thought as we were chasing his older buddies. Two years later in 2018, a tall big bodied 8pt had much of the same behavior, from his antlers, we could tell he was likely the same deer. We got some great game cam pics of him that year, but never saw him in person. Once again, we found a shed of his not far from a protein feeder pen. Here is was that year:
We had high hopes for him in 2019, but never once saw him on camera or in person, but in 2020 he was right back to his old ways. He had grown significantly, and, as as a 6yr old, would grow his best set of observed antlers. Both G2s were 10+ with his left probably being closer to 12. He was fairly daylight active, especially post rut, but we were off chasing other targets and weren't able to catch up to him once we looked his way again. He Left the season otherwise healthy despite some broken tines.
This year, we were not sure if he would do his "here a year, gone a year" game, but we were happy to see him back on camera. His body was enormous. It looked like he was pushing 250lbs but already he had snapped off his right antler as well as misjudged a fence and has a nasty gash on his stomach. We thought about passing him to stick around for next year, but with the decline in his normal antler and his age we decided that we would not intentionally hunt him, but if we saw him it was fair game. Hard to pass up a 7yr old low fence buck when you see them.
Cut to Sunday morning and I am on a solo hunt sitting in one of the blinds he is known to visit, hoping another deer, nice 5yr old 10pt, we have shows up. I successfully get into the blind despite a little 7pt bedding 5yds away (1yr old deer are stupid) and get to watch the little guy wake up, walk down to the feeder and as the sun is coming up, see something in the distance and hop out of the pen. Still fairly dark, I just see a huge body which I assume is a red deer hop into the pen and start bullying the little buck whenever he tries to get in and eat. As the sun continues to rise, I recognize the buck and man was he big bodied. I shouldered my gun, took aim, and put a round through both shoulders. He fell not long after against the feeder pen. The little buck continued to eat for another hour (again, 1yr olds are stupid). Walking up to him, I saw he was just as big and he weighed just under 230lbs on the scale.
Proud to have been able to chase this guy and get him on the ground. Will hopefully have his skull and jaw back before too long, but in the mean time the pics will do.