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Osceola 10-point is #5

Ian Whitehurst placed fifth in the 2009-10 Florida “Buck of the Year” contest by taking Florida’s highest-scoring typical buck with a bow (#2 archery buck overall) and the fourth-highest-scoring typical on Oct. 3, 2009 on a private lease in Osceola County.

The 10-point had 24-inch main beams and towering G2s (10-3/8 and 10-7/8 inches) as well as 1-1/8 and 1-2/8-inch abnormal points branching off each G2.

When asked to describe his hunt, Ian said: “I had set up a stand and hunted the evening before, when I saw a few deer, so I thought it would be a good spot to start hunting in the morning.

“I got settled in my stand before daylight, and about 15 or 20 minutes after 7 a.m. I heard something walking through the water right down the same trail I had walked in on. I eased up to a standing position to be ready, just in case, and the next thing I saw was – by far – the biggest deer I’ve ever seen! I could hardly believe my eyes” he said.

“I was waiting for him to smell me and spook at any second, because he was still following the exact same trail I had used,” Whitehurst said. “I clipped on my release, drew back my Mathews Switchback at 25 yards and released.

“He ran about 20-25 yards and stopped! I was positive I had made a good shot on him and was freaking out, because I could see him just standing there through the myrtles and cypress!

“He continued to just stand there, so I quickly nocked another arrow and shot him again. He took off, and I lost sight of him, but could hear him running through the water,” Whitehurst said.

“I was so excited that I didn’t think I would be able to climb down the tree. I called my dad about 15 times – finally getting in touch with him about 8 a.m. – telling him what I had just shot and asking him to grab the dogs (a beagle and a Lab). I told him to hurry up and meet me at the camp, which is about 35 minutes from his house,” he added.

“I was a wreck, pacing around our camp, running through what had just happened and all the possible scenarios of what could have happened after the shot, wondering if the deer was dead or still alive and if we would find him.

“Finally, about 1-1/2 hours later my dad showed up. We got loaded up and got back out to the spot about 2-1/2 hours after I had stuck him.

“I definitely didn’t want to push him and wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to bleed out. But, at the same time, I wanted to go look for him as soon as I could! When we did start looking, the dogs took us right to him!

The big buck had made it about 60-70 yards and was laying out in the water,” Ian said. “When I came around the corner all I saw were his huge horns sticking out off the water! I grabbed his horns and couldn’t believe the size of him. He weighed 205 lbs.

It was definitely the most exiting hunt I have ever been on., “I was very fortunate. Just being able to have an opportunity to harvest a deer that big with a bow in Florida made it a hunt of a lifetime and one that I will never forget,” he concluded.