A Nickel for one big buck

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



Kentucky’s 1921-22 bow season for white-tailed deer opened at 30 minutes before sunrise Saturday, Sept. 4.

Drew Nickel, because of other commitments, had chosen an evening hunt. He was back on the ridge, in his tree stand, an arrow notched in his Knight compound bow, and waiting.

The 20-year-old deer hunter was hoping that buck with the massive antlers that had shown up on his trail camera in recent weeks would amble down that game trail beneath his stand.

At about 7 p.m. a young spike deer came down the trail. He stopped and stood looking nervously back to where the trail disappeared on the far side of the ridge, the direction from which he had come.

As Nickel watched, the spike bolted off the trail and high-tailed it through the woods. Something was coming. He stood in his stand to be ready for the shot.

And then he came into sight, the buck with the high, handsome antlers. He moved down the trail toward Nickel’s stand. He stopped at about 30 yards. Nickel waited.

When the buck was about 15 yards away, he let fly the arrow.

Usually, a deer with an arrow in it may run quite a distance while bleeding out. This one traveled just 50 yards and dropped dead.

Drew’s younger brother, Braden, soon joined him to help move the heavy-bodied deer out of the woods. They admired a handsome 10-point buck that still sported some of the velvet clinging to it.

It would measure nearly 19 inches between the two beams. A first measurement guessed the antlers would score more than 150 inches, perhaps in the 160s. That’s very big for a 10-pointer.

Big enough to warrant a $300 taxidermist’s fee to put this one on the wall.

Soc Clay, outdoor writer/photographer, upon seeing the rack, said he had not heard of a 10-pointer measuring that high.

“It’s a trophy rack, that’s for sure,” Clay said.

The deer was downed in the Greenup County woods not far from Soc and Wanda’s Fern Hollow log cabin home.

One small antler rising from the head was split into two horns, while the other side sported just one smooth upright. That would seem to rank it as a non-typical. However, the length of the split antler was not sufficient to throw it into that rank and the buck should wind up ranked as a typical.


To be eligible for Kentucky’s trophy list, a hunter must take a white-tailed deer in the state this season that officially net scores 160 or more typical or net scores 185 or higher non-typical. The Boone and Crockett scoring system is used for all measurements.

If a hunter has a buck that will make the list he must, no later than May 1, send the completed and signed score sheet with a photo to:

Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide

No. 1 Sportsman’s Lane

Frankfort, KY 40601

Include the county in which the deer was taken, and the equipment used to harvest it.

Leading this year’s Kentucky trophy list was a typical killed last season that scored 188 and six-eighths. Jeremy Huffman used a crossbow to down it in Kenton County.

Topping the non-typical list was a 228 and one-eighth buck taken with a bow by Justin Candido in Pulaski County.


Reports of sick or dead songbirds affected with a mysterious illness in Ohio have slowed considerably, enough so that the Ohio Division of Wildlife has lifted its recommendation to stop feeding birds. Most of the birds showing the disease were young birds hatched out this season, and the breeding season is now over.

Wildlife biologists report they still do not know the cause of the illness. Research is ongoing at various laboratories.

Officials say it’s still important to keep feeders cleaned using a solution of 10 percent bleach to 90 percent water.

Symptoms of the disease are crusty eyes and poor balance and coordination.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.