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Down goes the King

After 3 weeks of sightings, CatMatt and his friend Jesse (above) finally bagged a buck CatMatt had named "King" this past week near Prophetstown. (Submitted photo)
After 3 weeks of sightings, CatMatt and his friend Jesse (above) finally bagged a buck CatMatt had named "King" this past week near Prophetstown. (Submitted photo)

Well I just wrapped up one cool
freakin’ week in the
outdoors. Not only did we get some much-needed rain, we also saw the first snowflakes of the winter season.

But one event easily makes the top of the list. Last Friday morning, my buddy Jesse came face to face with a buck I had named “King.” And he laid the smack down.

My relationship with this particular deer started about 3 weeks ago. It snuck in on me after I had done some grunting and hung out in the thick cover just out of bow range.

I sat in amazement for some 7 minutes and just stared in awe at this deer’s headgear. His spread was nothing but tines. My God, tines that touched the sky, and more points than I could count.

I saw King some three times over the 3-week period, but was never offered a shot. Jesse and I had been doing a lot of filming with hopes we might harvest this incredible animal on film. We knew the odds of taking this deer were small. Doing it while filming? Well, those odds were slim to none.

As luck would have it Friday morning, Jesse and I were swinging from a tree in hopes of an encounter with King or another one of the nice bucks we had been laying eyes on. We didn’t wait long, as Jesse spotted a deer running the field edge with nose to the ground in pursuit of a doe. With one loud grunt, the deer turned and came straight to the tree.

The results? I think the picture with this story speaks for itself.

What a deer King was, carrying more than 163 total inches of antler. He sported 16 points of an inch or longer and had one broken off. He had character everywhere: palmated brow tines on the right side. Crab claw on the left side. Bladed 13-inch G2 tine on the left side. Stickers off the brow tines.

I mean, this thing was a true work of art. To top it all off, he was built like a big old water buffalo, and watching this deer run through the woods was just awesome.

My relationship with King did not last very long at all. In fact, sighting a big deer like this four times in 3 weeks? Well, that just doesn’t happen a lot, period.

But it feels like forever. It feels like I saw him every day. Even when I didn’t see him, his was every noise I heard when I was in the woods. Every time I turned to check out a strange noise, I expected to see him looking up at me.

He really got into my head and made every minute of hunting this November truly exhilarating. I was on edge constantly, and it didn’t matter if it was noon or dawn or dusk. I always felt like he was close by, and I was going to see him at any minute.

Now this old boy will grace my buddy’s wall for the rest of our years here on earth. I won’t forget the encounters or the moments after we found him piled up in the grass.

I always wondered how I would feel if a buddy shot a giant deer. I mean, would I be jealous? Would I wish I hadn’t taken anyone with me? I can honestly say that the moment was just incredible. There was no feeling other than complete hysteria. Maybe it was the guide in me that enjoys watching others succeed, I’m not sure. But I know I would do it again.

I got to see one of the biggest deer I have ever laid eyes on fall to one of my closest friends.

Let me lay this out there before I go any further. I have been very, very fortunate throughout my life to always have very good places to hunt. My father, being a diehard hunter, has always owned some top-notch deer ground.

One thing I have enjoyed doing from time to time is taking friends along on hunts. I always felt good about bringing friends along who weren’t as lucky as me when it came to hunting land. Over the years, friends of mine have taken quite a few deer with shotgun and bow.

Well, people, as we speak I am back in the deer woods with my awesome wife and my buddy’s wife. I’m hoping to put these two young ladies on a couple of Kings of their own. Would you believe I am already getting phone calls wanting to know if I am now guiding for deer? Oh boy.

Next week, I’ll get y’all an update on this weekend’s opening shotgun season. Get out this week and make some memories in the great, fantastic, amazing outdoors.

Go Catfish!

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