BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — You never know when opportunity is going to come knocking. For Robbie Jacobs of Flemington the chance at the biggest buck he’s ever killed caught him a bit off guard.
“I’d like to tell you I methodically planned the stand location, prepared, and went out and got in it and it was textbook,” Jacobs said.
“This deer wasn’t that way.”
Jacobs hunts a farm he owns in Barbour County not far from Bridgeport. He manages the property with the intent of producing big antlered bucks.
“We can control age and nutrition to some degree,” Jacobs said. “I plant food plots and I feed protein pellets from August to April. That doesn’t just benefit the bucks, it benefits the does too and they pass that nutrition along to their fawns in the spring.”
Jacobs actively encouraged neighboring land owners in recent years to consider the same principle of not shooting any bucks smaller than eight points. He’s started to win some of them over to his line of thinking and the results have begun to show. The buck killed by Sarge Travis, featured here earlier, was from the same property.
Therefore, Jacobs knew there were big bucks on the landscape. He had routinely passed on a number of two year old eight pointers in recent years in the fervent hope they would get another year of age and grow larger antlers. Trail cam pictures told him his plans were working and there were several he had spied as potential shooters for 2016, including the buck pictured above which he nicknamed “Crabby” three years ago.
Although Jacobs controls his farm, and over a thousand acres of surrounding property he has leased, not all of his neighbors share his idea. He knew there was a strong chance the big bucks he was hunting could already be at another hunter’s taxidermist.
“I saw this buck before daylight on opening day, but he went off my property onto some coal company property,” Jacobs explained. “I figured with the pressure there he would probably be finished.”
The rut ran late during the 2016 buck season and kept the big buck on the move. Jacobs didn’t even get a chance to get to his stand on the opening morning of the season. He planned to be there for the evening in hopes one of the big bucks would emerge from the brushy cover.
“As I was loading the buggy and starting to head up on the hill I saw some deer run out of the woods, jump across the fence, and into the top of my food plot,” Jacobs explained. “I looked back into the woods and I could see this deer coming and I thought to myself, ‘Good gracious that’s a nice deer.'”
The buck emerged and it was “Crabby” chasing a number of does straight into a thicket on Jacobs’ land. He watched the procession go by and didn’t even have his rifle.
“I had to run back down to the camp, grab my rifle, come back up and cross the road,” he said. “I sat down and started scoping. Minutes passed and that same hot doe, which I guess wasn’t ready to receive him, came back out of the thicket, headed up the fence line, and was headed back to the neighbor’s property.”
The big buck was not far behind her and Jacobs’ window of opportunity was about to slam shut.
“As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to take a really good shot at about 70 yards at the top of that food plot,” Jacobs said.
The big boy dropped on the spot.
Clearly Jacobs was thrilled with his buck. He had ten points and Jacobs estimated he would gross in the 140 to 150 range on the Boone and Crockett Scoring system.
“Hard work, patience, discipline, and preparation pay off,” he said. “But I’ll take a little pure good luck any day.”
However, the story didn’t end there. A few days afterward, Jacobs checked his trail camera near the stand he was headed to on that fateful evening. The card in the camera revealed around the time he would have been there hunting an even bigger buck had made an appearance. Without question, he’s already picked out the buck he’ll hunt in 2017.