Photo courtesy of Tim Grigsby.
Tim Grigsby didn’t know it at the time, but a knock on the door by a neighbor running for local office would result in the buck of lifetime — and perhaps the largest typical whitetail taken with a crossbow during Ohio’s ’07 archery season.
The state’s crossbow season continues to yield big results for deer hunters. In 1976, the Ohio Division of Wildlife first allowed crossbow use during the statewide muzzleloader season. But not until 1984 were crossbows incorporated into the general archery season.
The popularity of crossbows has grown among Ohio hunters. In 1989, crossbows took over the lead from vertical bows (longbows, recurves, compounds) in the number of deer harvested during the state’s archery season. That trend continues in the state today, with an average of 55 percent crossbow to 45 percent vertical bow out of the total archery kill.
Given that popularity and Ohio’s penchant for producing record-book bucks, it’s no wonder many of Ohio’s giant whitetails are taken by hunters using the horizontal bow.
Here’s a look at one of the Buckeye State’s top bucks taken with a crossbow in 2007.
Tim Grigsby had previously always hunted leased land in Pike County. But due to a turn of events, he didn’t renew his share of the lease and decided to hunt locally in Preble County.
“I deer hunt ever year, but I work at GM and don’t get to hunt every weekend,” Tim said. “I try to take a week off during the rut and then take a couple of days off during gun season. I’d been hunting on lease land in Pike County, but got switched to day shift and didn’t have any time off, so I didn’t rejoin the lease this year.”
That turned out to be a good move for Grigsby! A record-book buck was just waiting down the road.
Tim is no stranger to deer hunting. He has been hunting since he was 14 years old and has over a dozen deer to his credit.
“This is the first time I hunted locally,” said Tim. “I’ve driven by this farm for the past 12 years, thinking it would be a great place to hunt, but never did stop and ask. So this year, knowing I would be hunting close to home, I stopped by three times to ask for permission. But the landowner was never home.
“Then he knocked on my door one day because he was running for trustee. So I asked him if I could hunt, and he said yes.
“I traded a vote for a hunt. I couldn’t have planned it any better.”
By the time he received permission to hunt, it was late October. So the next day, Tim did a quick scouting trip and then went hunting on the day following.
“I found a place I thought would be a good spot and hunted there three days,” he recalled. “The second day, three guys come out on horseback and rode right under my tree stand. I never saw a deer.”
Tim was laid off temporarily, but got called back to work at GM in Dayton and didn’t get to hunt again until Nov. 9.
“That Friday, I got home at 4:00 in the afternoon. I grabbed my stuff and went over to the farm where I was hunting,” he said. “When I got there, somebody was parked where I usually park, so I couldn’t go in to where I had been setting up my climber.”
Tim then drove around to the other side of the farm and parked in an open pasture field. “And I went to a place I had never hunted before.”
That late afternoon was windy and cloudy, he recalls, with gusts of wind blowing in all directions.
“I just left my climber in the truck and went in on foot,” he said. “The area is thick dried-up creek bottom, grown up in saplings and honeysuckle, with some old trails where the owner used to let 4-wheelers ride.”
Tim hiked about 150 yards into the thicket following an old 4-wheeler trail to a steep hill. He found a spot to sit about 30 yards on the hillside behind a big tree. He watched the old 4-wheel trail because it offered his only clear shot.
“By the time I got there, I had maybe only an hour and half of daylight left,” he said. “I’d never hunted that area before. It was windy, and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the day. But it was peak rut, so I figured I should be out there.”
Tim hadn’t been sitting down for 15 minutes when he heard crashing about 65 yards in front of him across the creek, coming through the thicket.
“Two deer came out — a buck chasing a doe. By the time I grabbed my crossbow and looked back, all I saw was two brown animals running away,” said Tim. “They ran up the creek bed, turned and went the way I came in.
“They didn’t have far to go before they ran out of woods. I thought they might double back, so I just sat there.
“And then 15 minutes later, another buck came down the same trail, with his nose to ground. Then twenty minutes later, another buck came down the same trail tracking the doe.”
Tim tried to call the bucks by grunting and rattling, but to no avail.
“I sat there until 30 minutes before dark, then eased down to the 4-wheeler trail and started walking back toward the truck in the direction the deer had gone into the pasture.
“When I got to within ten yards of the field, I heard crashing, and all the deer ran out into the open field. One of them, a pretty good buck, circled out into the middle of the field and looked back toward me. He blew and stomped his foot and then ran back toward the edge of the field.”
While Tim was watching that buck, the big record buck snuck up along the field edge to his left and started working a scrape.
“That’s when I saw the monster, 40 yards away, standing broadside, pawning at the ground,” said Tim. “I was still in the thicket looking at him, and he was big.
“The only way I could get a clear shot was to step out in the open away from the thicket. So I shouldered my crossbow, put the scope on him and took three or four steps out of the thicket into the open pasture.
“The buck tu
rned and looked right at me. As soon as I pulled the trigger, he jumped. I thought I’d missed.”
The buck turned and ran back along the field edge before turning into the thicket and disappearing. But it was getting late, and Tim wasn’t sure of his hit.
“I waited maybe 10 or 15 minutes and went over to look for my arrow and blood. I didn’t see anything, and it was getting dark. I was pretty sure I’d missed.”
He decided to wait until morning before trying to find out if his arrow had found its target.
“The next morning, I brought out my hunting buddy, Jeff Million, and his 12 year old son, Tyler. We were looking in the general area where I thought the bolt would be.
“And I went into the thicket and followed the deer trails where I heard all the commotion the evening before. I couldn’t find any blood. Then about 30 minutes later, Jeff hollered he had found blood!”
As Tim recalls, it took them a half hour of tracking just to find just five drops of blood and to figure out which direction the monster buck had traveled.
“And then we found the bolt, about 75 yards away from where I had shot,” said Tim.
Together they tracked the now obvious blood trail along the field edge for about 50 yards. The trail turned into the thicket and into a small gully, and there lay the giant buck.
“When I was about 30 yards away, I saw the antlers sticking up,” recalls Tim. “I never saw antlers like that. I knew he was big, but I didn’t know he was that big!”
Grigsby’s massive ten-pointer buck field-dressed a whopping 243 pounds.
The rack was officially measured by the Buckeye Big Buck Club and Boone and Crockett scorer Ron Perrine. Scoring an amazing 180 2/8 typical, it’s likely the largest typical harvested in Ohio with a crossbow during the 2007 season.
It has G-2s and G-3s on both sides that measure over 11 inches long. The longest tine, the G-3 on the left side, measures an incredible 12 1/2 inches long. The Preble County buck has an impressive inside spread of 21 inches, and has only 4 7/8 total deductions.
According to scorer Ron Perrine, the buck ranks No. 8 on the all-time crossbow list for the Buckeye Big Buck Club.
And yes, Tim did vote for his neighbor!