If, after reading about all of the Rack Report giants coming out of the state of Kentucky this year, you're thinking there must be something in the water, well, you just might be onto something there.
"We're pretty sure the buck I killed was one that we had passed on last year," said Rusty Jackson, a Kentucky resident and member of the "Open Season TV" crew. "And there are alot of skeptics out there that don't believe that because the buck isn't more than three or four years old. But we know of a bunch of deer that grew 40 to 60 inches over last year and I believe this deer is one of them."
The deer Jackson is referring to is the latest Kentucky stud to make the ranks of the Rack Report. The buck, which sports an impressive 160-inch mainframe, unofficially tops the 200-inch mark, thanks to more than 40 inches of non-typical points.
Jackson's quest for the buck started in a manner that's probably similar to that of a lot of readers.
"Back in August, I hadn't done much scouting," Jackson said. "I have two young ones and asked my wife if I could slip out for a few minutes. I quickly went and checked a bean field and he was out there. That was the first time I had laid eyes on him. To be honest, I knew he was a big deer. I didn't realize he might go 200 inches. That's probably a good thing or I'd have been tore up a lot more than I was."
Jackson and cameraman Adam Bush waited until October before focusing seriously on the buck.
"Last year, he stayed up on the top part of the farm that we hunt." Jackson explained. "It's got a creek and a bluff. During the early part of the season he'd stayed on top. Then in October, he came down and would hit our food plots and chase does. Well, I wasn't able to hunt one afternoon and I asked my partner who films with me to go out and sit in my shooting house and just watch. And that evening he came out of the creek."
With that information fresh in their minds, Jackson and Bush set up in the area on the afternoon of Oct. 12.
"That night was the night of the full moon and I'd always heard there was some rutting activity at that time," Jackson said. "Well, a small buck came out and I decided to see what kind of mood it was in and decided to grunt at him. As soon as I laid the call down, I heard a deer come running down off the bluff. I told my cameraman that it was a buck. I didn't know how big it was but I knew it was a buck."
What happened next, happened fast. The deer coming off the bluff was indeed a buck and Jackson could tell immediately by the coloration of the antlers that it was the one they were after. When he bleated to stop the buck for a shot, it was just 14 yards away.
"I've seen some in bucks in the 180s but had never laid eyes on one that size," Jackson said. "It's actually a little bit misleading because he's got a 160 frame but he's got about 40 inches of junk. We knew he was a mainframe 6x4 and knew he had about 20 points. But when we got him on the ground and he had that many points, I'd have liked to fell out."
Jackson's shot was a bit more forward than he'd have liked, but Bush thought he heard the deer fall after travelling a short distance.
"Honestly, I was so shook up I was about to fall out of the tree," Jackson said. "My cameraman said, 'Dude, I heard him fall.' And I said, 'Are you sure?' I could see enough of the arrow sticking out that I was just really upset and worried. I just didn't know."
Jackson's fears, however, were laid to rest when a short track job several hours later ended by finding the buck in a heap.