An Arkansas Public Land Monster Buck

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It had been a slow evening for Chance Crews, until he heard a stick crack and saw this giant whitetail standing 60 yards behind him

Rack Report Details
Buck: 164 6/8
Time of Year: October 25, 2020
Place: Howard County, Arkansas
Weapon: CVA Wolf Muzzleloader

Chance Crews shot this public-land giant in western Arkansas.

For years, Chance Crews of Arkansas, along with his father, Rickey, and brother, Chase, had leased property for deer hunting. About five years ago, though, that all changed when they made the call to start hunting on public land instead. 

“The property we previously leased was heavily logged and there was hardly any timber left standing,” Crews says. “There also was a lot of hunting pressure, especially during the firearms season. It was no longer worth our time or money, so we started hunting on public land instead. Hunting is good on the public land, but it can be very tough, especially since it gets heavily pressured.”

One of Crews' favorite areas is a strip of pines that's flanked on both sides by hardwoods. The deer use the pines as a travel corridor, and step out to browse on the acorns in the surrounding hardwoods. There were a couple good bucks in the area this year, including a huge 8-pointer Crews believed would score close to 150 inches. 

“I saw that buck on the opening day of muzzleloader season,” he says. “He was following a doe, and I couldn’t get him to stop for a good shot. To my knowledge, he was the biggest buck in the area, so I was in there hunting him.”

As luck had it, Crews was presented with a shot opportunity at another mature buck with a wacky rack. 

“I missed a buck on Sunday morning, Oct. 25,” Crews says. “I don’t know what happened, but I missed, and I’m really glad I did. He wasn’t a huge buck, but he was mature and had the craziest rack I’ve ever seen. Interestingly, he was chasing a doe that had no ears. It was a strange morning.”

Crews got back into his stand at about 3:30 that afternoon. 

“As soon as I climbed up, I heard a deer take off,” he says. “Evidently, it had watched me climb up into the stand. Then, at about 4:45 p.m., I saw a spike. Nothing else was moving and I thought the day was basically over. 

“That’s when I heard a deer step on a stick behind me,” Crews continues. “I turned and saw a mature buck standing about 60 yards away. While turning, my vest caught on my climber and made a noise. The buck looked right at me. I knew it was then or never.”

The buck had seemed like it was about to make a scrape, but now he was on full alert. Crews quickly shouldered his muzzleloader, settled in, and took the shot. After running about 80 yards, the deer expired.

“I didn’t know what caliber of deer he was when I’d shot,” Crews says. “I just knew that he was a mature buck. When I climbed down and walked up to him, I was shocked to see his double split G2s. I immediately called my dad. He is usually hunting with me, but he had to work early the following morning, so he didn’t hunt. He was as excited as — if not more than — me. Of course, I was all alone, so I had to get my buck out of the woods by myself.”

Crews finished by saying, “I told my wife I’d never get a buck mounted, but I called her right afterward and said that we’d be visiting the taxidermist because I’d gotten a buck that has to go on the wall.”

Check out more big-buck stories from down south! 

Southern Stud: Story of a Monster Georgia Buck

The Pimple Hill Buck