BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — The predictions for the 2015 buck season were enough to have the blood of every West Virginia deer hunter pumping the week before the season opened, but around the Starkey household in Buckhannon there was even more reason for excitement.
Nick and Angie Starkey are both avid hunters. Each has their own hunting blind on leased property in Upshur County and the trail cameras revealed great promise in the weeks that led up to the Monday before Thanksgiving. Nick had always wanted to kill a big buck and it was looking like his year. Angie doesn’t care much about the antlers. Her mission is to fill the freezer the week of Thanksgiving, but her trail cam a week before the opening day caused a stir.
“We got one picture of that deer,” she said. “We set out our cameras, he has a spot and I have a spot and mine was the one that got it.”
That deer, as Angie called it, was a bruising 15 point buck with some of the most impressive headgear either had ever seen. Nick was excited for his wife and was truly hoping she would get a shot at the big buck. But in a move which has won her the “Wife of the Year” title by acclamation among all men who have heard the story, she offered up her stand to her husband.
“That picture set him into a mode that he was so excited he couldn’t sit still,” she said. “I wasn’t that excited about the buck. I’ve never really cared about the horns, but I know he does so I told him, ‘Why don’t you hunt that spot.'”
Nick is a wise man. He told his wife he wasn’t going to argue with her and was in her blind on opening day along with their daughter Raven. The original plan was to let Raven shoot the deer if they got the chance. The chance happened late in the day.
“Raven said they were coming up on the 11th hour when he walked in,” explained Angie. “She was telling her dad, ‘Shoot him dad, shoot him.’ Because she was so nervous she was afraid she would miss. All he was doing was looking at this big buck.”
But Nick finally shook off his hypnotic admiration and raised his rifle. At 5 p.m. as the daylight on opening day faded, he squeezed the trigger on the biggest buck he had ever seen. The buck bolted.
“He was heartbroken because he was thinking he missed,” said Angie. “But he got out the door of my chantey and ran to the spot where he had gone over the hill and there he was.”
The massive buck’s rack will have to dry for 60 days before the Boone and Crockett score can be officially measured. However, a green score of the buck was 191 2/8ths. The drying period is required to get the true size of the antlers. Occasionally there will be some shrinkage in size during that period. However, it’s likely the deer will turn out to be a new state record in the typical-gun category. The old record is 185 4/8ths killed by Junior Bailes in Nicholas County in 1994.