ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Protecting the shores of the U.S. eastern seaboard is a long way from the hills and hollows of West Virginia, but a 29 acre farm in Marshall County is never far from the mind of Sheldon Burkle. Burkle, an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard, is stationed in Maryland, but still makes it a point to get home in the fall to hunt with his brother on the family spread outside Moundsville.
During the 2017 hunting season, the two brothers completed a quest for a deer which had been part of their lives in since 2012.
“We saw a basket nine-point on our property. At the time there were a couple of bigger bucks, but my brother and I agreed it was going to be a special deer,” said Burkle. “He was a year and a half old nine point. To make a long story short, that deer lived on our property and never left.”
Burkle and his brother watched the deer, which they eventually nicknamed “The Ghost”, grow via trail cams on the property each year since first encountering the buck. During the 2015 season, Burkle’s brother had a shot at the Ghost, but got a bad hit and could never find him. It turned out the deer had survived. There were two encounters in 2016, but neither Burkle nor his brother could get a shot. Then came the 2018 season, when he said things finally went his way.
“I got up in one of the stands and didn’t anticipate seeing a deer since we have a lot of gas drilling going on around the property and it was loud and very disruptive,” Burkle explained. “Low and behold he came out about 3:45 p.m. with a doe and came within 15 yards. I was able to put the smack down on him.”
The buck’s Boone and Crockett Score grossed 167 but lost a few points on deductions which gave it a net score of 160 3/8ths. Burkle considered it a giant buck for Marshall County, but wasn’t all that surprised it stayed put for so long. He said it’s been his experience to find success is based more on when you hunt, than where.
“A lot of people ask how that deer stayed there,” he said. “But you’ve got to know when to hunt. You’ve basically got five days when big bucks like that are on the move and that’s when you need to hunt, regardless of the moon or whatever, you’ve got to hunt the ‘seek’ is what I have found. There’s too much going on during the chase, but that seek is about five days in the northern panhandle and that’s what I try to hunt.”