LAST UPDATED: May 8th, 2015
This is the final thread on the 3 year journey with a truly legendary and amazing whitetail buck named Freak Daddy. It all started in July of 2007, when my brother Isaac, my brother Luke and I were doing our usual summer ritual of filming velvet bucks. It was evening, and we were rounding a point in one of our bean fields when Luke and Isaac spotted a "good buck" that had a very noticeable kicker coming sideways off the left G-2. I was behind them and didn't get a chance to see the buck.
The rest of the 2007 summer and deer season went by without another spotting of the "G-2 kicker buck". That coming spring, my cousin Matt found a very unique shed on a property in the area:
This was the first "proof" that the "G-2 Kicker Buck" existed.
That spring (2008), one of my good buddies’ family put out a new Stealth trail camera over their mineral lick. This family, who will go by the Freeman's, only owned a few acres that's bordered a large farm that didn't allow hunting, about a 1/4 mile from my property. They soon started getting pictures of a absolute MONSTER buck, that had very unique kickers coming off both G-2's and also a very noticeable deformed left antler that grew back off that skull. We quickly got together and changed the name of that buck to "Freak Daddy", and he instantly became an internet sensation that summer on websites like Huntingnet and Ohiosportsman:
Using those trail camera pictures, we estimated Freak Daddy to have between 18-22 points and a gross score around 180". He visited this mineral lick at an alarmingly regular pace. Every single night they would get 10-15 minutes worth of pictures.
Of course, when bow season rolled around in late September, he went MIA. At this time, only about 10 locals new of this buck, and besides the trail camera pictures on the internet, we kept our mouths shut.
Nobody saw him while hunting for the first month, but that all changed on the evening of October 25th, 2008. That's when I had my first and only encounter with this legendary buck. I was set up over one of my fresh alfalfa fields, hunting for does. I had my camera with me, and I was about to take a doe that I had at 30 yards when I noticed another deer enter the field off to the left. What I saw I will never forget.
I had him in the field for around 10 minutes. Nothing would get him off the does. Rattling, grunting….nothing. I made a pact that night to never shoot an immature deer again, not after what I had witnessed.
On Wednesday of the 2008 gun season, when my friend Ryan Freeman was walking back on another piece of property to help us drag out a few deer we had shot, he made his next appearance. It was after legal shooting light, and Ryan jumped him out of a small 2 acre harvested bean field, not 200 yards from the road. He made his next appearance on the second to last day of the season in February, and this time he was spotted by Ryan's brother Alex, minus his right antler.
The spring of 2009 found us shed hunting earlier then we usually were. We went out three times and a week and combed our hunting grounds for his antlers.
On Mother’s day 2009, I was rewarded:
Now we had 2 of Freak Daddy’s sheds:
The Antler that I found ended up taping out at 81 1/2 inches.
We had unbelievably high expectations for the summer of 2009. I purchased my 4th trail camera just to get some photos of Freak Daddy. All of our mineral licks were refreshed. Everything seemed to be in place.
The year started out perfectly when I captured my first images of Freak Daddy on May 9th:
After that, nothing.
Not a thing.
For the next 7 months, not a single sighting, picture, video or rumor about Freak Daddy. It’s like he vanished from this earth. We spent hours driving around and filming velvet bucks. We had trail cameras on every piece of property we had permission for. We did everything right, and got nothing. The mineral lick that he visited hundreds of times in the summer of 2008 didn't capture a single image of him. We feared him dead, poached, hit by a car, and moved out…every bad ending you could think of.
In July, Ryan "might" have had a sighting of him near his property while driving home one night. Nobody could tell for sure.
Around November 1st, we heard a rumor of a large drop tined buck that was sighted at 10 AM running out of Ryan’s property across a wheat field. Once again, no "proof".
Then, in the 2nd week of November we got proof. Ryan and cfdjay from the forums were hunting my property and both ended up seeing him. Jay had him at 200 yards and Ryan at 100, both said he was a "freak" and bigger than last year. Ryan said his drop tine was 9+ inches and the spread was over 20".
A week later during youth season, a local young hunter that was hunting down the road shot and missed a buck 3 times that was rumored to be 180". There was a lot of buzz that Freak Daddy was in the area and making daytime mistakes.
Regular gun season came around and the deer sightings were down. I went out a handful of times and never even saw a deer. My 14 year old brother Luke was the most determined. He had been in southern Ohio for youth season and had actually passed on a handful of does because he was holding out for a "big buck" this year, although he has only 1 doe kill to his credit. He actually got within 50 yards of a good buck down there but couldn't get off a shot.
Sunday rolled around with the weather being cold and the hunting being terrible. Ryan and I decided to screw the evening hunt, and Isaac and Luke decided to go out. I laid down on the recliner with the Colts-Titans game on and took a nap.
At 2:52 I missed a call from Luke.
At 3:05 I answered a call from Isaac that went like this:
"Luke just shot Freak Daddy"
"I swear to GOD I’m holding his G-2 right now!"
I made it up to the property in record time. When I got to the corner of the alfalfa field they were congregated in, I found this:
The story goes as follows: Luke and Isaac were walking back on our property to get in their stands. Isaac went right around the lake, and Luke went left. Luke hadn't gone far at all when he heard noise over his left shoulder. He turned slowly to find himself face to face with Freak Daddy at 10 FEET. I later went back and paced it out, it was exactly 10 feet.
Luke quickly brought his shotgun up and took 3 shots as fast as he could. Freak Daddy then took off to Luke's then left across the alfalfa field. What happened next is kind of a blur according to Luke. He called me, then Isaac. He then tried searching for blood and couldn't find any. He then went and made sure that he had in fact shot, and found 3 empty shell casings. Isaac then started searching the alfalfa field, and quickly found him.
What happened next was just plain crazy. Someone had gotten a hold of my dad and he and my mom and I all got there at the same time. Friends and family also showed up in the field over the next twenty minutes as we stood around talking and congratulating. We ended up getting him gutted and into my truck eventually.
We got him checked in at "Fin Feather Fur" in Ashland, Ohio where they have a youth big buck contest. At the fin we drew a crowd of 20 plus people on Sunday night at 5 PM. Pictures were taken, interviews with the DNR were set up, and the initial measurements were taken.
Late Sunday night, we finally got the buck to my cousins processing shed that we butcher all our deer at. Of course there was a crowd there as well. This is where we put the first unofficial tape to him and came up with the amazing total of 205 2/8 gross non-typical. 23 inch inside spread and the left antler scored just above 93".
The story couldn't have ended any better. If it wasn't I who could take this buck, then I’m glad it was my own brother and not some hunter I didn't know. After he was killed, we had hunters contact us saying that they too have been hunting Freak Daddy for a numbers of years. There have also been still photographs taken of the buck from a number of different locations and a host of trail camera pictures taken this summer from a property over a mile away from where Luke killed him. The range a dominant buck like this has is absolutely amazing. We’re talking square MILES. Freak Daddy alone was seen in locations 3 miles apart. The astonishing thing is that it began and ended on the same 40 acre piece of property that my family has owned since the 1930's.
Three years of chasing one buck came to close on December 6th, 2009.
Now it’s time to find a new "Freak Daddy."