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Shea’s ‘River Run Ghost’ places #10

Steve Shea killed the “River Run Ghost” on Saturday morning, Jan. 22, 2011 to claim the top spot in Gulf County’s list of highest-scoring bucks.

The mainframe 10-point had three kickers (two scorable), helping it gross 150-7/8 inches and net 141-7/8 Boone & Crockett inches, nailing down the #10 spot in the “Buck of the Year” contest (8th highest-scoring typical).

Steve killed the monster on his River Run lease in Gulf County.

“Needless to say, I was pretty excited. This is like killing a 180-inch typical in the Midwest. I can’t say enough about using cameras to pattern big bucks. They really enabled me to pattern this one.

“I almost fell out of bed when I saw the first photo. It was difficult for me to hunt, other than on weekends, due to my work schedule at the time, but I was getting more and more obsessed with him with each photo,” Steve said.

“The mean breeding date for this location was early February, based on collections we did with the FWC last year. I figured I would hunt him hard the last two weeks of January, before he really went mobile chasing does and wandered in front of other guns.

“I knew he was in his core area based on the location and frequency of photos I was getting. I started to get photos of him in shooting light (early morning/late afternoon), so I cancelled a duck hunt that morning, because the conditions and wind were perfect for the ground blind I’d set up to intercept him on his way back to his bedding area from a food plot he only entered at night.

“That morning was the first time I’d seen him with my own eyes. I had to watch him come from 1/4 mile down a logging road. It was five minutes of hell! I was already shivering in the 25-degree temperatures, but really started shaking when I saw him,” Steve remembered.

“I had to keep telling myself to calm down and actually backed off the trigger pull twice. I finally took the shot at 75 yards at 7:47 a.m.

“I’ve killed some nice bucks in the Midwest, but this one means even more to me. It’s the first time I set out to hunt a specific buck in Florida.

“I’ve QDM managed this area for 12 years and consider this a great management accomplishment, especially for these coastal pine flatwoods,” Steve said.

The mainframe 10-point had two small kicker points on the left antler to make it a 12-pointer with a 14-inch spread. A total of 3-2/8 inches in deductions for differences between the two sides and 2-7/8 inches deducted for the two abnormal points reduced the 148 gross score to 141-7/8 inches net.