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Baker County Beast is #1 Bow buck at 146-2/8!

Steve Nuss arrowed a 152-6/8-inch beast of a buck on Sept. 30, 2011 in Baker County to take the #4 spot in the Buck of the Year Contest and claim the highest-scoring bow buck killed last season.

The 10-point typical monster had 6-4/8 inches in deductions to net 146-3/8 inches and become the 4th-largest typical buck on record taken with a bow. Steve, originally from Illinois, moved to Jacksonville 21 years ago and recently relocated to Glen St. Mary in Baker County. The 43-year-old elevator mechanic says Baker County reminds him of the small town he grew up in.

“Everyone here seems to hunt and fish, and they love to talk about it. I go to Extreme Outdoors in Macclenny and talk hunting with the owner, Phil, and the customers that come.

“Most of them have hunted around there for years and are very passionate about it. I was not planning on getting in a club last year, and was going to hunt the forest and go back home to bow hunt in Illinois for two weeks in November.

“But two days before the season opened I was asked by a friend to join their club, because they were a member short. I had an eye appointment that Friday for Lasik surgery, and they dilated my eyes, so I could not see very good the rest of the weekend,” Steve said.

“On opening day, Mitch Canaday rode me around and showed me the club, and I told him I thought I would like to join. The next day (Sunday) my wife, Susan, and I rode around the club for about four hours, just looking around.

“I found some scrapes in an area, so I hung a lock-on stand. The next Thursday I had the Lasik surgery, and decided I did not want to risk wounding a deer, so I told my wife I was going to take that weekend off also. I work out of town four days a week, but on Thursday, Sept. 29, I got home early from work.

“I was dying to go hunt, but didn’t have my clothes washed in no-scent, so I grabbed my wife’s crossbow and went to a ground blind, but had no success. “The next morning will be a hunt that I will never forget. I got into my stand with my bow a little before 6 a.m. and had a slight breeze in my face, which had me feeling good. Shortly after 7 a.m. I had two mature does come in and watched them for about 45 minutes.

As soon as they eased off, I texted a couple of friends to see if they were hunting and stuck the phone back in my shirt pocket. When I looked back up, – ‘Oh My God!’ – there he was! He was about 50 yards right in front of me and coming straight to where the does had been eating acorns.

“When he went behind a tree for a second, I stood up, grabbed my bow and ranged him with every step he took. I kept thinking, ‘Please, God, let him stop just long enough for me to get a shot,’” Steve said.

“I knew no one would ever believe I saw a buck that big. He was probably there for about three minutes and appeared very jumpy – as all Florida deer seem to be. When he finally stopped and stuck his nose to the ground, I ranged him at 27 yards and let it rip.

“I watched him run and heard him crash several times and then didn’t hear anything else. I got down and went to find my arrow and immediately knew it was money when I picked it up.

“I eased out to the road I knew he had to cross and it looked like someone had taken a four-inch paint brush dipped in red paint and slung it across the road. He probably only went a total of 60 yards. I looked up to see he was about 15 feet away,” Steve said.

“I could not believe how big he was! I called a friend for help, telling him I had just killed a really big deer, but, of course, he thought I was joking.

“This was a great day for me, not just because I killed a great Florida buck, but because of the new friends I made who were able to share in this special day. I’d like to thank all my friends in Baker County (new and old) for making this a day I’ll never forget,” Steve said.