2007 Missouri Big-Buck Roundup
September 30, 2010
The 2007-08 deer seasons in Missouri produced no shortage of massive whitetail bucks. Here are the inside stories of five of last year's biggest bruisers -- and of the hunters who brought them home.
Joe Bryant's 26-point Chariton County giant scored 227 2/8 inches as a Boone and Crockett non-typical.
Photo courtesy of Tony Kalna Jr.
The 2007-08 deer seasons in Missouri proved to be another banner year for harvesting trophy-class bucks. We've compiled the inside stories on five of the biggest bucks taken in the Show-Me State last year. Read on to relive the exciting accounts of how these giant whitetails met their demise!
On Dec. 28, 2007, Ted Butler, an avid archer from Independence, climbed onto the platform of his hang-on tree stand some 12 feet off the ground in Jackson County. He was overlooking a cut bean field that was covered in snow. It was nearly 3 p.m. by the time he settled in.
Butler had been hunting deer for 21 years. His first bow kill, a 115-class 8-pointer, was his best -- at least, it was until that fateful December afternoon last season.
"I chose to hunt a corner where a good funnel exists," he explained. "The lay of the land pushes the deer past my stand."
Not much was going on until later in the afternoon, when Butler heard commotion behind him near a creek. At first he thought it was squirrels playing, but then he heard the distinct sound of antlers crashing. A buck fight was on!
Butler finally spotted the dueling males in the woods behind him, antlers locked, spinning around in their strife over dominance. The hunter anxiously watched the battle for nearly five minutes, and then grunted on his tube call. Immediately, two yearling does came out of the timber to check out the new buck on the block.
The fight finally wound down, and a 140-class buck ran off; Butler grunted again. The other buck proceeded to come up out of the bottom towards his stand. He stopped at 50 yards, but the archer couldn't see the buck's rack through the brush. The deer was facing the hunter head on. When it finally stepped into a clearing, it was 40 yards out.
"I started counting points but decided I better quit," Butler said. "I decided he was a shooter, but I couldn't move, because it was wide open, and he was looking in my direction."
The buck grunted once and stomped its front hooves. Butler thought for sure that it was going to bolt at any minute -- but the deer calmed down and began moving to the hunter's right. When the deer got its head behind a tree, the bowhunter drew back his string and the buck stopped. At 36 yards, the deer turned and faced the hunter again, stomping nervously.
Suddenly, the bruiser jumped back about 10 yards, partially concealing itself behind a tree. Butler let down and waited for the buck to calm down again. Within a few tense moments, the deer started moving to its left. That's when Butler drew back his Mathews Conquest again. The buck stopped one final time and looked toward Butler, who decided it was his last chance to shoot. He released the string and the three-bladed Muzzy broadhead buried itself in the buck, dropping it in its tracks.
The beautifully symmetrical whitetail featured a 4 4/8-inch drop-tine on its left antler. Butler's buck netted 164 2/8 inches as a Pope & Young typical.
Scoring 161 3/8 inches as a Boone and Crockett typical, Amanda Bybee's monster whitetail — nicknamed "Skyscraper" — is among the best 8-pointers ever taken in Missouri.
Photo courtesy of Tony Kalna Jr.
"I had a good crosswind that afternoon or I may not have gotten this buck," Butler said. "I use my own homemade remedy for cover scent -- vanilla extract, which acts as a cover scent and a curiosity scent. I'd rather be lucky than good any day."
Amanda Bybee of Preston has been deer hunting for only four years, but she's made the most out of that short period. Prior to the 2007 season, Bybee already had two bucks and two does under her belt. But the 2007 season will be etched in her memory forever.
Bybee and her husband, Brett, hunt on the family's 1,500-acre cattle farm in Hickory County. They are very competitive and spend a lot of time practicing archery at their local range using the DART target system.
"Brett introduced me to hunting," Amanda said. "He taught me how to shoot my bow and everything."
Bybee was optimistic about her chances of taking a good buck last year, as several nice bucks had already been captured on trail camera photos on the farm. The biggest buck they caught on film was nicknamed "Skyscraper" because of his tall, wide rack. The trail cam photos helped lead Amanda to her dream buck.
On Sept. 17, 2007, Bybee and her husband took to the woods for an afternoon hunt. Her ladder stand was situated on the end of an open lane about 40 yards wide at the edge of a field, just 50 yards from where the trail camera had caught Skyscraper on film. Bybee's husband was hunting about 300 yards away, on the other side of a dense thicket.
It was nearly 2 p.m. before Bybee got settled into her stand. She didn't see any deer until the sun went behind the treetops. A big doe stepped into the opening first at the end of the lane. A basket-racked 8-pointer and a spike came out next. The last deer to jump the fence was a big buck.
Bybee watched the trio of bucks as they fed in her direction. She had her Alpine Micro bow drawn back for what seemed an eternity. When the big buck was just 25 yards out, Bybee released her arrow tipped with 3-bladed Muzzy broadhead. The arrow disappeared into the buck's kill zone.
"I knew I hit him but wasn't sure where," she said. "He ran back the way he came from and disappeared, but I was sure I heard him crash."
Bybee called her husband on her cell phone to tell him of her good fortune. Brett quickly got down and came to help his wife. The couple went back to change clothes and to pick up Brett's dad, Jack, to help find the deer. Two hours later, the threesome was still looking for blood.
Jack shined his light into the timber from the edge of the open lane and spotted the big antlered bu
ck lying dead.
"I remember running over to the buck and seeing it was the big one -- Skyscraper," Bybee said. "Brett and I were both jumping up and down and screaming and yelling, and he picked me off my feet and swung me around."
Bybee's deer is one of the best 8-point bucks ever taken in Missouri. It carried a 21-inch inside spread and 28 5/8-inch main beams! The enormous buck netted 161 3/8 inches as a Boone & Crockett typical.
Dennis Koberman shot this impressive 13-point buck on a 7-acre parcel in Jefferson County. The buck scored 186 7/8 as a Boone and Crockett non-typical.
Photo courtesy of Tony Kalna Jr.
Nov. 12, 2007 would turn out to be a special day for 40-year-old Pat Murphy of Arnold. The 28-year deer-hunting veteran hunts a 1,500-acre lease in Knox County, along with seven of his friends. This would be Murphy's first year hunting the lease. He used a topographic map to strategically pick a place for his stand. Murphy found a spot on the map in the corner of a cornfield where the deer had to cross.
Murphy passed on a nice 10-pointer on opening day and let approximately 35 others walk past him by mid-morning on Monday, the third day of the firearms season. After taking a short break, Murphy headed back to the woods at about 1 p.m. He immediately saw an 8-pointer busting across the cornfield, and a half-minute later he heard something else coming. This deer turned out to be a bona fide shooter. Murphy didn't have much time to debate the shot, and when the deer was about 100 yards away and angling away from him, the hunter pulled the trigger on his Remington .270. The buck stopped in its tracks.
"I saw him fall over and I was in shock," Murphy said. "I was shook after I shot this one."
The big 16-pointer featured split brow tines and scored 181 5/8 B&C inches as a non-typical. The behemoth buck was estimated to weigh 220 pounds field dressed.
As Murphy drove to town after he shot his trophy buck, an even larger whitetail buck crossed the road at the farm he hunts.
Dennis Kobermann, a 28-year-old deer hunter from DeSoto, has about 18-years of deer hunting experience under his belt. He spends most of his time hunting whitetails in Jefferson and Carter counties in the Show-Me State.
Kobermann often hunts a 7-acre patch of ground in Jefferson County that includes thick woods and a creek running through it. That patch would yield a record-class whitetail on Nov. 3, 2007.
Kobermann arrived at the woodlot in the afternoon and climbed into his stand on a timbered hillside overlooking a creek below him. He was only in his stand 40 minutes when he spotted a couple of does passing his stand at 25 yards. Soon to follow was a single adult doe, which he also let pass.
Kobermann scanned the hillside opposite his position. He spotted a buck about 100 yards away and watched it come down the hill, cross the creek and climb the hill where his stand was situated.
"I knew it was the big buck I had been seeing," Kobermann said. "I tried not to keep looking at his rack, so I concentrated on the kill zone on his big body."
The giant buck walked in front of the anxious hunter and began quartering away. Kobermann grunted at the buck with his grunt call and it stopped. He drew back his Parker bow and shot his arrow tipped with a 3-blade Muzzy broadhead. The arrow penetrated the buck's side behind its shoulder and pierced its heart. The deer ran out of sight but didn't get far. Kobermann heard it crash in the leaves.
Kobermann calmly climbed down from his stand, went home and ate dinner, then called a couple of friends who helped him go back to retrieve his trophy.
Bowhunter Joe Butler's buck, which scored 164 2/8 as a Pope & Young typical, sported a 4 4/8-inch drop tine.
Photo courtesy of Tony Kalna Jr.
Once back at the hunting site, the group found Kobermann's arrow covered with blood and used flashlights to move down the hill to where he heard the deer crash. They found the giant whitetail dead, just 50 yards from where it was shot."
"When I found the deer and put my hands on him, I was like, 'Thank you God,'" Kobermann said. "I was especially proud and thankful about killing this big buck."
Kobermann's buck sported main beams of 26 2/8 and 27 1/8 inches, respectively. The 13-pointer netted 186 7/8 inches as a B&C non-typical.
For years, 32-year-old Joe Bryant of Springfield and his dad, Kenny, have been trying to lease a 130-acre tract of prime deer hunting land in Chariton County. They got their wish in 2007.
With 18 years of deer hunting experience behind him, Bryant knew when he saw it that a thick patch of woods that near a small creek would be a prime spot for his stand. There wasn't much buck sign anywhere on the property, but there were lots of acorns and just as many deer tracks.
"There was a place there the deer had been crossing that was worn down so much that it looked like cattle were using it," Bryant said.
On opening morning of last year's firearms deer season, Joe and Kenny Bryant and Joe's cousin, Chris Garrison, left their motel room and arrived at the farm well before daylight. Before parting company and heading to their predetermined stand sites, they paused to pray for success in the woods and safety for themselves and their families back home.
Bryant didn't have a far walk, as his stand was about 150 yards from where they park their vehicles. He had already sprayed himself down with Dead Downwind scent neutralizer and was in his stand about a half-hour before first light.
As soon as it was bright enough to see, the deer movement was hot and heavy around Bryant's stand. By 8:45 a.m., he had already seen 32 deer, mostly does and small bucks.
"I saw a lot more does than bucks," Bryant said. "To shoot a buck in Chariton County, it has to have at least four points or better on one side, and I was seeing only small bucks."
That was about to change, as a doe came in behind Bryant. He would turn occasionally to keep an eye on the doe, but all at once she spooked and ran right under his stand. Then he heard
another deer coming behind her and turned to see a big buck hot on the doe's heels.
Bryant instinctively grabbed his rifle and aimed at the buck. However, his scope was set at 8X and he couldn't get the deer in his sights. Bryant dialed it down and looked through the scope again. This time he could see the buck's shoulder and he fired his Browning .300. The buck ran just 15 yards and expired.
"I knew he was a shooter, but I didn't know just how big," Bryant said. "When I got down and saw him I got the shakes."
It's no wonder Bryant was shaking. His trophy buck sported 26 points and field dressed at 215 pounds. After the required 60-day drying period, Bryant's buck scored 227 2/8 inches as a B&C non-typical -- possibly the largest buck killed in Missouri in 2007.
This article illustrates that you never know when or where a trophy-class Missouri whitetail will show up. It doesn't matter how much hunting experience you have or how long you have hunted a particular tract of land. It all comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Will you be featured in the Missouri Game & Fish Big Buck Roundup next year?