COOLRIDGE, W.Va. — Austin Weis of Coolridge, West Virginia recently acquired a piece of property to hunt in Raleigh County. Soon after the purchase, he put out several game cameras in the summer. He couldn’t help but feel like he had purchased a little corner of deer hunter’s heaven when he saw the results.
He soon had pictures of several really nice bucks, including a massive 10-pointer which he decided was going to be the one he tried to take down during the 2023 bow season.
“I had pictures of the buck in velvet back in June and July. He disappeared for a month or two and then came right back in probably the end of September,” Weis explained in a conversation for West Virginia Outdoors.
The big buck became a regular at Weis’ trail cameras. You could almost set your clock by him every four or five days for a daylight appearance. Austin simply timed the appearances and was in his tree stand on opening day, ready for action.
Sure enough the buck rolled in as anticipated. It was a wide ten point buck. Austin saw the rack, waited for the shot, and let the arrow fly. It wasn’t until he tracked down the buck he realized it wasn’t the deer he was after.
“It was a main frame nine point. I had him on camera as well. When he stepped out of the woods I thought it was the bigger buck because I saw the side that had the five points,” explained Austin.
The opening day buck, the nine-pointer, wasn’t too shabby with a rough score estimate on his antlers of around 140 points. But he wasn’t the big ten-pointer Austin was after. That buck kept showing up regularly and so did Austin.
In late October he showed up as he always did and Austin was waiting for him. This time it was the right buck, but the wrong kind of luck.”
“I shot over his back and missed him. I was devastated by that,” he said.
The buck didn’t come near his stand again in the daylight hours for another week, but he was still coming in. When he finally showed up in the daylight, it was a frosty morning with temperatures dropping into the 20’s. The rut was starting to reach the fevered pitch. Trouble was, Austin was at work and the buck walked by his stand at 8:15 a.m.
“We’d been playing a game of hide and go seek and he was winning,” he said.
The very next day was another cold morning and this time. Austin made sure he was in the stand, which sits on the edge of a woodlot and also right along a power line right of way. A smaller buck and a doe milled around under his stand when he caught the first glimpse of the bruiser about 150 yards away on the other side of the right-of-way.
“He walked the edge of the field all the way up, about 150 yards, straight toward me. He never hesitated, the rutting activity was getting the better of him. He came straight in and started sparring with that eight point. Since I had 150 yards to get ready, I was ready when he got there. He was facing me, but I waited and he turned right and gave me a perfect broad side shot,” said Austin
This time, Austin’s aim was on the money and the arrow hit both lungs. The buck ran about 10 yards out into the right-of-way, stopped, and keeled over. He died right there within site of Austin’s stand.
The buck had ten points and an oddity on his right antler.
“He had a 24 inch inside spread and a knot on the right side from a warble when it was in velvet. It’s a spidery looking knot and the main beams were about 12-inches,” he said.
Although Austin’s property is largely inaccessible, the buck’s range would have likely taken him far and wide, particularly during the rut. Austin just had a feeling if he didn’t get him when he did, the big fellow probably wouldn’t have survived buck season. Needless to say, Austin has no buyer’s remorse on his new hunting property in Raleigh County.