HACKER VALLEY, W.Va. — Darkness was quickly falling on the rugged mountains of Webster County on the evening of October 16, 2021. Ashley Mullens of Hacker Valley, was fairly certain the buck she was after had outsmarted her again.
“He was smarter than me for a while. He’d come in right after dark,” she explained.
Ashley had spotted the massive buck on camera ahead of the season and decided he was the one she would pursue in 2021. It was the first time she had seen the buck, but knew others in the area where she hunts had seen him on trail camera for the last two or three years. Therefore, the pressure on the buck would be rigid.
Ashley’s positioning was right, but her timing was a mess.
“Every evening about a half hour after dark, he would come into the stand,” she explained.
Therefore as darkness fell on October 16th, she assumed it would be the same old story. However, the wily buck made a different move, ultimately a mistake, and showed up just a tad early. He exposed himself at about 50 yards just before the daylight disappeared.
“I was thinking, he’s not going to come in close enough to shoot, but then he did. He came in to about a 30 yard shot, but he was quartered away,” she said.
Ashley had never shot a deer quartering away and when she let the arrow fly, she was worried about the outcome as he leaped on into the woods. She found the arrow with virtually no blood and was disheartened.
“I got a little upset over that, but we decided to call in Longspur Tracking. They came in about 10:00 the next morning and their dogs went right to him,” she explained.
The massive buck was dead 78 yards over a hill from where Ashley had put an arrow in him. The buck carried a rack with 17 scoreable points. It was a dream come true for Ashley.
“It is! I think I’m ruined on buck hunting,” she laughed.