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Wesley Padgett’s Jefferson County 8-point scores 142-4/8 inches

by Wesley Padgett

Crawfordville, Florida

I was settled on stand approximately 30 minutes before daylight on the cool, crisp morning of Nov. 27, 2008 while hunting on a Jefferson County wildlife management area.

Shortly after 7 a.m. I spotted a doe feeding through a hammock in front of me. As I watched, I thought to myself, “This may be a good morning.” Soon after she wandered out of sight I caught movement through the trees. I raised my Model 70 Winchester .270 WSM and used my Leupold VX III 4x12x50 scope to see it was a buck following the doe.

As he entered the hammock, I could see that he was toting a decent set of antlers. The buck was following the doe’s trail, and just as I was about to grunt to stop him for a shot, he paused in an opening on his own.

When I took the 75-yard shot, with what appeared to be a perfect hit to his vitals, he disappeared so fast that I thought I must have missed. I did not see a flag, nor did I see him run after I shot. I continued to look through my scope to try to locate him in the hammock and was growing more worried by the minute that I may have missed.

While I sat there pondering, I had a strange feeling that I should look down under my tree stand. When I did I observed a beautiful 10-point standing directly under my stand – just 10 minutes after I had taken my shot.

He was just standing there, looking left and right, as if searching for something. While I was debating if I should let him walk or attempt a difficult shot straight down under my tree stand, I estimated that his rack measurements would put the young 10-point between 120 and 130 inches.

As I watched him walk towards the same path the doe had used, I said to myself, “Young fella, I will let you walk in hopes that our paths will cross again in the future.”

The 10-point continued walking and crossed the path taken by the doe before disappearing out of sight. From my elevated perch, I was thinking to myself, “Wow, what a morning!” After waiting approximately 35 more minutes, the anticipation got the best of me. I could not take it any longer. It was time to climb down from in my API lock-on tree stand and begin my search.

During my walk to the location of the buck’s last stand, I worried because I could not immediately see him lying on the ground anywhere in the hammock’s clearing. I was approximately 15 yards from where I last saw him standing when I first spotted the white belly of my buck lying on the leaf-strewn ground.

When I walked up to him and looked down at his antlers, I almost lost my breath, saying out loud, “Wesley, what did you kill?”

I knelt down by his 160-pound body and lifted up his head. As I held his antlers in disbelief, I looked straight up in the sky and thanked the only one who could make this possible – the good Lord himself!

I guess this goes to show that we should all be thankful for the bounty provided to us – not only on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.

My awesome public land 8-point gross scored 143-7/8 inches and had amazing 23-4/8-inch main beams. His brow tines were 5-6/8 inches long and his G2’s measured 10 and 10-4/8 inches, while his G3’s were 7-5/8 inches.

The antlers were four inches in circumference and he had a 16-6/8-inch inside spread. With only 1-3/8 inches in total deductions for differences between the two antlers, the net score was 142-4/8 inches as a typical 8-point!

I had never seen this deer before from my stand while hunting this location prior to that day. I was using Wildlife Research’s Golden Estrus scent wafers as an attractant, Primos Silver XP scent eliminator and wearing Realtree camo.

I must thank Shawn Logan (850-510-6081) and Whitetailhigh Taxidermy Studio (www.fltaxidermist.com) in Tallahassee for the excellent taxidermy work on my mount.

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