First Bow Buck is a 183-Incher

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Florida hunter Kim Ellis took a road trip to Kentucky, and arrowed a world-class whitetail

Rack Report Details
Buck: 183 inches (green gross score)
Time of Year: Nov. 11, 2020
Place: Webster County, Kentucky
Weapon: Diamond bow

Florida native Kim Ellis traveled to Kentucky to hunt with friends, and to kill her biggest buck ever. (Ellis photo)

Florida native Kim Ellis grew up running hounds in the timbered expanse of Ocala National Forest. Her parents had her in the woods from the time she was 6 months old, and never looked back. By early childhood, she was an avid gun hunter and more recently, she's taken up archery. Her husband, Scott Ellis, is a decorated contest caller and well known in the turkey hunting world. But he's an avid deer hunter, too. 

“Scott introduced me to bowhunting,” Kim says. “We have deer hunted all over the Southern states, and even in New York. I have always loved being in the woods.”

One state they like traveling to is Kentucky. The 2020 deer season was their fourth spent in the Bluegrass with good friends Shon, Mitzi, and Brady Wright. The Ellises hunt a couple of properties with them, and one is a big-buck factory. Scott, Kim, and their son couldn’t wait to get there.

Upon arrival, they hung stands, shot bows, and anticipated the hunt. A lock-on stand location, where Kim had arrowed a big doe in 2019, seemed especially promising. In 2020, she hoped for more. They hadn’t seen the buck in person, but a giant 4 1/2-year-old deer was frequently caught by trail cameras. His numerous ivory-tipped tines made anticipation run high.

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Generally, in November, the weather is cold enough that Kim wears heated socks. This year, at the beginning of the hunt, it wasn’t necessary. The first three days hit 80-degree highs.

On the fourth, it swung into the 30s, and it was game on. Kim saw plenty of deer throughout the day but not the one she was looking for.

Then, on Nov. 11, things changed. She climbed into the stand in darkness, and as light illuminated the landscape, she scanned her surroundings, hoping to see the giant Bluegrass buck. Expansive hardwood bottoms and ridges stretched out to her left. Another ridge towered to the right. To the rear, thick cover separated the stand location from a large cow pasture.

“It was a quiet, crisp morning,” she says. “The squirrels had not woken up yet and the birds were still sleeping. I could see all the way around me, except for saplings that were growing like vines.”

It wasn’t long before deer started moving. Right before sunrise, two does walked within 30 yards. A 6-pointer followed suit a half-hour later. After that, activity slowed.

“It turned quiet,” Kim says. “Only the squirrels made noise.” Then the action broke loose. Bucks started chasing.

“At one point, I did not know which way to look. It was phenomenal,” she says.

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She blind-called every 15 minutes. Eventually, a doe walked up the hill toward her position. The giant she recognized from trail-cam photos chased hot on its heels.

There was one nearby trail that lacked good shot opportunities, and Kim feared the doe might lead the big fellow down that path. It did.

“Earlier in the hunt, I had already used my rangefinder and marked trees as a reference so I would know the yardage,” Kim says. “He walked through saplings, and I found one opening. Thankfully, I was able to get him stopped, and that’s when I released the arrow.”

Seeing an opportunity, she drew her bow, took the 17-yard shot, and sent a broadhead through both lungs. The buck wheeled around and ran. She called Scott and related the news.

“I was super calm when I released the arrow, but as soon as I picked up the phone, my nerves were a mess,” she says.

They waited 45 minutes before blood trailing. It started out slow, and then trickled to nothing. Fortunately, after some time combing the area, they recovered the deer.

The 4 1/2-year-old buck scored a whopping 183 inches (green gross score). (Ellis photo)

With 15 scorable points, the buck gross scores 183 inches. “I know not many people get to hunt great pieces of private land, let alone harvest a buck of this size,” Kim says. “I am still on cloud nine; it was probably one of the best moments of my life. But I always say it is not always about the harvest, but the fellowship and the time in the stand. I am blessed.”

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