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Bass’ 144-inch Madison buck is #3

Madison County accounted for two of the top three bucks taken in Florida last season, as Doug Bass of Pinetta harvested a Madison monster scoring 153-3/8 inches gross and 144 inches net on Nov. 19, 2009.

Doug’s big 13-point buck (main-frame 10-point with two abnormal points on the left antler) was taken on private land and featured heavy mass (5-5/8 inches around at the base), as well as an extra fifth point on the right antler.

With 3-1/8 inches in abnormal points and 6-1/8 inches in deductions for differences between the two antlers, the beast’s heavy rack had nearly 10 inches in total deductions that knocked the final score down considerably. However, huge 11-inch G2s and 8-4/8-inch G3s, along with a 16-inch inside spread, helped Doug secure a top 3 spot in the Florida “Buck of the Year” contest.

Here is how he described his hunt:

by Doug Bass

November 19, 2009 started out just like every other morning during hunting season – alarm clock goes off at 5 a.m., camo goes on, head to the deer stand, get still and wait for dawn.

At daybreak, I noticed a dark form in my food plot, so I grabbed my binoculars to get a better look. It was a doe eating peas, and I watched her to see if anything else would come eat.

Every few minutes I would turn to check the food plot to the south of my stand and then turn back to the doe. At around 6:55 a.m. I noticed movement in the pines behind her and figured it was another of the 10 does I regularly saw.

As the first doe started walking over to the north edge of the plot, I got a good look at the deer behind her – still thinking it was a doe. But, by this time it was standing broadside in the middle of my plot.

“Doe, my butt!” was the first thought that went through my head as I took a closer look through the binoculars. It definitely had horns! Before I could put down the binoculars and grab my rifle – a Remington 700 BDL .308 with a 3x9x50 ZEISS scope – the doe ran out of the plot into the pines. And, right behind her went the biggest buck I had ever seen!

Thinking I had just watched the buck of my lifetime run off behind that doe, I was upset with myself for looking at her too long. I settled back in the stand and tried to relax while telling myself I’d never see that buck again.

At around 7:10 a.m. I was watching a small buck chase a doe up and down my plot when I heard a twig snap out in front of my stand in the pines. I turned toward the sound, and, to my surprise, there were two more deer about 10 yards out acting skittish.

I was not about to miss another shot at a buck because I didn’t have my rifle shouldered and ready, so I slowly eased my gun out the shooting window of my stand and looked through the scope.

Through it I spotted a third deer standing behind a pine tree at 31 yards. “Big-bodied deer,” I thought.

Then it lowered its head.

My heart began to race, and my hands started to shake. I couldn’t believe my luck! It was the same buck I thought had walked out of my life forever!

“Calm down,” I told myself. “Look away for a minute...now look to make sure the dead pine top isn’t in my scope’s sight picture.”

After making sure I had a clear shooting lane, I noticed the does starting to walk back into the pines. That big ol’ buck spun around to leave with the does, but he messed up. He took one step and stopped to look back toward the food plot. I knew it was killing time!

I placed the crosshairs on his neck, which was the only thing I could see because of the pine tree between us, and as soon as I fired I saw him hit the ground!

I glanced at my watch, which showed 7:15 a.m., and flew down the ladder, knowing my wife hadn’t yet left the house to take my twin boys to school. I called home and told her and the twins I had a MONSTER buck down.

“No way!” they all exclaimed.

“Yes way! It’s at least a 9-point,” I responded as I walked toward my buck.

Once again I was wrong. Nine-point, my butt! It was a 13-point!

The boys and my wife said they’d wait until I got back to the house, so they could all get a good look. I walked back to my truck while talking to them because, with twins, you have to tell the story and answer the same questions twice.

When I got home, Dylan – younger by one whole minute – came running out. Once he caught sight of the buck he was just as excited as I was. Then, Mom came out with the camera and asked for the story of the hunt again as she took a lot of pictures.

I asked her where Dustin was, and she said he was inside and was upset.

It seemed after Dustin had talked to me on the phone, he had told her, “See! If I go with Daddy we don’t see anything, but if just Daddy goes or if Daddy and Dylan go, they kill big bucks!”

After hearing that I flashed back to the day when one of the 7-year-old boys (Dustin) had wanted to stay in bed to sleep, while the other (Dylan) had been more than willing to take his brother’s spot for a hunt. As Dustin slept the morning away, Dylan killed a 186-pound 11-point buck that missed the Florida Buck Registry by only 5/8 of an inch.

After we had taken all the pictures we could, the boys said, “Daddy, we’re late for school anyway, so we should just play hooky and go with you to town.”

We were headed to our cousin Alan Sowell’s store, Madison Sporting Goods, to show off the buck to all our hunting buddies and tell the story all over again.

Then, it was out to see the processor (Kenner’s Kountry Sausage and Deer Processing), where we weighed the deer at 200 pounds. They caped him out for the shoulder mount, and we went back to the house to put the head in the freezer with another big 200-pound 8-point taken during the last weekend of the 2009 black powder season.

Several weeks later we took the head to my taxidermist, Randall Gay, in Morven, Ga., who has done all the mounts I have in my house – 16 total, counting the boys’ fish and deer.