Gunter’s big buck green scores 156 4/8 inches of bone
While gun season was closed on the Kisatchie National Forest earlier this month, Bethany Gunter and her father had a very successful scouting trip in a section of the public land he wanted to check out.
She and her dad, Troy Carpenter, had ventured in on Dec. 2, and found plenty of deer sign indicating a good buck was in the area. Little did she know it at the time, but only nine days later she’d get up close and personal with the big deer likely responsible for the rubs they saw.
“There was a holly tree in there about as big around as a basketball he had torn up,” Gunter said.
So on Tuesday, Dec. 11, while her dad babysat her 2-year-old daughter Malia, Gunter ventured in alone about 1:30 that afternoon and climbed into the ladder stand they had positioned during their scouting mission. (Firearm season for bucks reopened on Dec. 8, and runs through Dec. 23 on KNF.)
Gunter, 28, of Dodson, was positioned on the side of a hill overlooking a creek and a thicket, and didn’t see much — until deer activity picked up about 4:30.
“I had two does and a yearling come from my right that went all the way down to the side of the creek, and up to the thicket on my left,” she said. “And I had a spike trailing them coming exactly from where they came. But he wasn’t in a hurry — he was still in front of me when the does and yearling came running out of the thicket.
“They had their tails up and they were getting the heck out of there.”
Shortly after that, she heard something walking to her left and scoped a spike, then hit her can call a couple of times.
“Then I heard a deer grunt to my right coming out of the thicket, and when I turned and looked there he was,” she said. “Nothing but horns. He was trotting very fast looking for that doe.”
With her 7mm-08 already up from checking out the spike, she scoped the buck at 80 yards and fired as soon as it stopped. The biggest buck she had ever seen instantly made a beeline for the thicket it had just exited.
She picked up the phone to call her dad, only to discover the battery was dead. So she scrambled about 300 yards back to her truck, plugged in and got reception, and contacted her father to come and help her look for the big deer. In only 10 minutes, he and her uncle, David Hailey, arrived to assist her.
They found a good blood trail, and Hailey saw the buck first, about 100 yards from where it was hit.
“My dad thought it was bushes at first because of how tall the horns were sticking up,” she said.
Walking up on the biggest deer she or her dad had ever shot before was a special moment father and daughter won’t soon forget, she said.
“Oh my gosh, I cried for 10 minutes. He cried, and about squeezed the breath out of me,” she said with a chuckle.
The big buck was a true public lands brute, with 12 points and a 16-inch-plus inside spread and bases approaching 5 inches. At Spotted Dog in Columbia, the 170-pound deer green-scored 156 4/8 inches of bone.
Gunter, who’s been hunting alone since she was about 10, said her previous best deer was only a 6-point. And she’s already got a place of honor picked out for this big buck when the taxidermist finishes his work.
“He’s going up on my wall above the fireplace,” she said. “He’s going to be the first one there.”