Passing on a buck to give him one or two more years to grow is always a gamble. It’s a gamble many deer hunters aren’t willing to take. Neighboring hunters, predators, cars, disease, or a difficult winter can quickly make hunters think twice before letting a good buck simply stroll by. Still, for others, that gamble can pay off in antler inches and memories to last a lifetime. Such was the case for Jerry Mullet, owner of America’s Best Bowstrings, when he passed on a 150 class buck during Ohio’s 2018 deer season.
The story begins during the summer of 2018 when Mullet began getting trail cam photos of an impressive buck that earned the name “Texas” because of his wide frame. Jerry and his hunting partners estimated the buck to be a 3.5-year-old deer in the 150″ range. No doubt a trophy in many hunters’ eyes. The deer was hanging out on a farm Mullet had been hunting since 2011 and he knew very well. Mullet and his crew decided to collectively give the deer a pass in 2018 and see what he might turn into the following year.
“I personally saw the buck on several occasions in 2018,” says Mullet. “My hunting partner, Steve, also saw and passed the buck that year. We really wanted to see what one more year would do for this deer.”
“The hunt for “Texas” began earlier this summer as I spent time reviewing photos from the previous year and trying to narrow down what I felt was his core area,” says Mullet. Texas lived on the edge of their property during the summer months and seemed to cover a fairly large area. After shedding his velvet on the 11th of September, he shifted about a half-mile to the North and right into the center of their property.
This worked to the group’s advntage by making sure he wasn’t bumped or pressured by other hunters and he got pretty comfortable in that area. He spent most of his time on about 80 acres after he shed his velvet.
Texas made a remarkable jump in antler size from 2018 to 2019. Time spent on food plots, mineral stations, and a nearly year-round feeding program, as well as superior genetics, proved to be paying off for this particular buck. Jerry suspected this Ohio monarch might be pushing the 180-inch mark as a 4 1/2-year-old.
With a weather front coming through and delivering a 20-degree temperature drop, Jerry made plans to go after Texas on October 4th for his second hunt of the season. Jerry selected a food plot he referred to as the “Barn Plot”; a spot where trail cameras had captured numerous pictures of the buck. “Texas had consistently showed up in daylight hours following a significant temperature drop,” says Jerry. “So when the weather was calling for a drop from the mid-80’s to the low 60’s on October 4th, we decided to make our move.”
Jerry headed out with his brother-in-law, Lester, to get set up in a ground blind overlooking the Barn Plot. Lester had never filmed a hunt before but was eager for the chance after seeing photos of the buck Jerry was hunting. “I stopped to pull an SD card in the corner of the food plot before heading on into the blind. The card showed that Texas had been in the plot at 3 am and left heading East, which was his normal routine when he was in the food plot early in the morning like that. After seeing this, I told Lester that I felt we would at least see him at some point during the evening considering that we had excellent weather conditions.”
Jerry and Lester first laid eyes on the drop-tined giant around 6:45 pm. He cautiously made his way down the hill from his bedding area toward the food plot. Mullet believes the buck was likely bedded within 100 yards of the food plot that particular afternoon.
Texas entered the food plot following a 2-year-old buck he’d been hanging out with. It took the two bucks about 5 minutes to work West to east across the plot and into bow range. As if he was reading the script, the buck stopped in just the right spot for the shot at 25 yards.
“All the time spent on the tournament trail really pays off in moments like this,” says Mullet. “High-pressure shots are made easier when you can seemingly go on auto-pilot and make things happen when you need to.”
Jerry made a perfect double lung shot. The buck whirled around, then sprinted back up the hill the way he came from. He made it 60 yards before piling up. “I was pretty sure I heard him crash, but I couldn’t completely relax until we found him,” says Mullet. “We waited 15-20 minutes before heading over to look for the deer.”
A plentiful blood trail and short track job lead the elated hunters to Texas. “I was at a loss for words when I first found him,” says Mullet. “I couldn’t believe how big a frame this deer had until I held it in my hands.”
And even with the buck in his hands, Mullet had no idea just how big he was. Texas has 16 scoreable points with a total gross score of 192 3/8”. The buck had a droptine coming off his base that broke off on as he crashed away after being shot. Luckily, Jerry and his friends were able to find the broken tine the following day and he plans to have it reattached to the rack before being mounted.
Mullet says the buck was indeed a blessing from God, and the biggest deer of his life – at least for now.
Jerry’s Gear List
Bow – PSE Decree HD
Arrow – Gold Tip XT Hunter
Broadhead – Shwacker
Stabilizer – Bee Stinger
Bowstrings – ABB Platinum Bowstrings