The weather was cold and getting colder on the afternoon of Dec. 7, and Madison Keyes was intent on following her dad’s advice as she climbed into her box stand overlooking a wheat field shortly after lunch that afternoon. 

“I told Madison to just stay put because with the weather as cold as it was, drizzling and never getting out of the 30s, there was a good chance a big buck would come out to the field to feed late in the afternoon,” her dad Craig said.

Sure enough, as the Tensas Academy senior sat in her stand, she started seeing some deer: several does, a spike and a couple of small bucks. Chilly, damp conditions probably played a role in Madison wanting to shoot one of the bucks so she could get back to someplace warm and dry, so she contacted her father to get his advice.

“I texted my dad and told him what I was seeing, and sent him photos from my phone and asked if I could shoot one of the small bucks. He told me to just hold off a little longer - a big one might step out just before dark,” Madison said.

As the afternoon wore on and the end of legal shooting hours approached, Madison watched a big deer come out into the wheat field. She could see it was a nice buck and she started counting antler points. 

Then she did what she’d been doing all afternoon: she texted her dad to see if she could shoot this one.

“After I saw the buck, I immediately texted my dad but he didn’t answer right away, so I called him. He began asking questions about what the buck looked like, and I told him I could count 9 points and that it was a big deer. My dad said, ‘Put the phone down, pick up your rifle and shoot the buck.’

“So I did,” Madison said.

The shot from her 7mm-08 rifle dropped the buck in his tracks at 200 yards, but he got a whole lot bigger as she walked up on him. 

“I started crying and calling my dad and telling him I’d never seen a buck this big. I was so excited and thrilled,” she said.

The buck was a dandy indeed. Weighing 215 pounds and sporting 10 points on a heavy set of antlers, the inside spread stretched the tape to 20 inches, with main beams 25 to 26 inches in length, and bases measuring between 5 and 6 inches each, with mass carrying throughout the rack. 

Simmons Sporting Goods measured the buck to be entered in the store’s big buck contest with a score of 165 inches Boone and Crockett.

Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon Monarch binoculars at the end of the contest.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.