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Velvet Monsters: The Stories Behind Two Giant Kentucky Opening Day Bucks

The Bluegrass State has one of the earliest openers in the country and some huge whitetails. This can lead to some incredible hunts for bucks in velvet.

Velvet Monsters: The Stories Behind Two Giant Kentucky Opening Day Bucks

Giant bucks on opening day were taken by Kentucky bowhunters Jamison Standard and Casey Reed. (Photos courtesy of Jamison Standard and Casey Reed)

Few states offer a good shot at a velvet buck, but Kentucky is one of them.

Opening day of deer season 2021 didn't disappoint with reports of Bluegrass State bucks taken by bowhunters measuring 170-plus inches.

It was on Sept. 4 when Jamison Standard and Casey Reed tagged two of the biggest deer from opening day.

Here are there stories of those giant bucks.

Jamison Standard's Beanfield Behemoth

Date: September 4, 2021

Location: Southwestern Kentucky

Method: Compound Bow

Score: 174 2/8 Inches

Kentucky hunter Jamison Standard with his giant opening-day buck. (Photo courtesy of Jamison Standard)

Jamison Standard started getting trail-camera photos of a huge buck just a week before deer season and started scouting diligently to try and determine a pattern. The afternoon before the opener, he glassed a large soybean field and spotted the giant, plus a 150-inch buck and others, as they walked out into the open.

"I was very excited about opening day," Standard said. "I had never had a deer quite this size before on the farm."

The next morning, Sept. 4, brought cool weather and light southerly winds. Before daylight, Standard slowly eased along a low-impact entry route and slipped into his treestand undetected. The large soybean field was surrounded by hardwoods, and he was hunting on a peninsula of timber that protruded out into the field. He had a slow hunt, though, only seeing three does and one small buck.

That afternoon, he used HuntStand to check the wind and went back to the same stand, feeling optimistic since the buck had walked through there the previous afternoon.

"When walking to my stand, I crossed through the soybeans to avoid the edge of the woods where they may have been bedded or would cross my path coming out of the woods," Standard said. "As I walked to my stand, I used my rangefinder to range my tree at 50, 40, 30, and 20 yards. At each spot, I tied a small piece of orange surveyor's tape to the tops of soybean plants so they would be visible from my stand and make it easy to know my yardage. My stand was in the top of a tall cedar tree with a good view of the soybean field."

Photo courtesy of Jamison Standard

The first couple hours were slow, with only a doe and fawn passing through. Closer to dark, more does entered the field, then the big 150-inch buck the giant was with the day before stepped out.

"It came out into the soybeans broadside at 20 yards right in front of me," Standard said. "I had never taken a buck with my bow before and was strongly considering taking this shot. He would make a great first buck with my bow."

Standard exercised patience, though, and waited for the giant to appear. Moments later, the deer he was after walked into the open and followed the same path as the first buck.

Photo courtesy of Jamison Standard

"My heart about beat out of my chest as I watched him make his way in my direction," Standard said. "I could tell he would not get as close as the other buck, but would be crossing my shooting area, so I referenced my orange survey tape."

Standard took a deep breath, drew his bow and took the 40-yard shot, hitting the buck square in the vitals. It ran a ways and crashed into the soybeans. With shaky hands, Standard called his father and asked for help recovering the buck. Upon walking up on the deer, Standard raised the buck's head from the soybeans and immediately realized how big it was.

"As I pulled the soybeans away to expose his rack, I told my dad, 'This is like unwrapping a Christmas present,'" Standard said. "Deer hunting means the world to me. I worked nearly six years at Mossy Oak Productions filming hunts all over the country. Currently, I'm filming for Kentucky Afield TV and have been since 2016. I've filmed a lot of deer hunts. To have the opportunity to take a buck like this is a dream come true."

Casey Reed's Timber Monster

Date: September 4, 2021

Location: Lincoln County, Kentucky

Method: Compound Bow

Score: 177 Inches

Casy Reed's Kentucky opening-day buck measured 177 inches. (Photo courtesy of Casey Reed)

Casey Reed had photos of one particular buck on his farm from the past three seasons, and this year he hoped to tag the 5 ½-year-old giant. Reed has owned the farm he hunts for eight years and has spent a lot of time developing it into what it is.

"You must take the time to do all the preseason scouting," Reed said. "This involves stand location, cellular trail cameras, making sure your hunting clothes are as scent-free as possible, not contaminating the area around your stand and, most importantly, always hunting the wind."

Reed had in-person encounters with this giant deer in 2019 and 2020. Last year, the buck was 60 yards away, but wouldn't come any closer.

This year, on opening day, Reed got the southwest wind he needed and decided to hunt a hilly ridgetop. After lunch, he settled in and waited for deer to begin moving. His treestand was positioned on the ridge, with bedding cover at the end of the point. The area where his stand was hung served as a great staging area as deer moved out to feed.

Photo courtesy of Casey Reed

The hunt started with sightings of two does and three fawns. Then, after a while, he saw the giant.

"I remember catching a glimpse of the top of his rack coming through the woods," Reed said. "The sun was starting to sink but there was still plenty of daylight left."

The buck slowly walked into bow range. After several tense minutes, he finally offered a broadside, 30-yard shot opportunity. Reed took it and the arrow flew true.


"My heart started pounding," Reed said. "He never knew I was anywhere around. Words cannot describe the image of him coming in."

The buck ran a short distance and tipped over. Afterward, Reed's father and brother-in-law helped him recover the buck and get it out of the field.

"My dad raised me to love deer and turkey hunting," Reed said. "I enjoy being in the great outdoors. I have two children and I hope that in the future they will want to go hunting with me and be as passionate about it as I am.

"I still can't believe that I was blessed enough to harvest this mature buck," Reed continued. "This deer has shown me that all the time and dedication that I put into preparing for this hunt was beyond worth it in the end. All thanks to the good Lord above."

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