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Monday, January 30, 2023
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Public Land Giant

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I was sitting in the woods last week, watching a flock of wild turkeys scratching beneath the oaks when I received a text from a local taxidermist. He asked if I was aware of the giant public land buck recently harvested and included a picture of an absolutely beautiful buck that had been taken the weekend prior. Well, I hadn’t been, but was greatly impressed.

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I set about to learn what I could about the hunt, and the lucky hunter. I visited the Wildlife Management Area check stations for information and saw that very little was available, other than when and where it had been killed. So, I turned to social media and made my queries on a couple groups and in no time I got a call from a mighty nice young man; the lucky rascal who had invited that buck home for dinner.

Jason Vickers, is the young man I keep referring to as the lucky rascal. But, to tell the truth, there was no luck, rather a set of well honed skills and a whole lot of patience. You see, Jason became aware of the giant two years prior and spent these last two years hunting, tracking and capturing images of him on his trail cameras. He hunted every opportunity available to him, which wasn’t easy, since the property’s management plan controls the hours a hunter can maneuver the property to hunt via a set of established weekend quotas. Each time he drew one of the coveted permits, he was after this buck.

Last weekend, he had drawn a quota permit to enter the weapons on a primitive weapons hunt, the First Muzzleloading Quota for the property.

On the third and final morning of his hunt, on a tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest, Mister Big Buck wandered into range. The rut was in full swing and the old boy was following a doe with hopes of sharing a little DNA. But, his plans were cut short as Jason fired his .50 Caliber “smoke pole” at the impressive beastie.

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I know well the adrenaline high hunters experience at such times, but the high turned quickly into a low as he was unable to find the deer.

Once again, members of the Florida Blood Trailing Network, came to the rescue. Learning of his plight, a local handler, Laura Rogers answered the call for help and brought her pup, Iris out to rescue the day. Which indeed she did. In no time Iris began working the trail and led Jason and her handler Laura straight to where the big, handsome critter had fallen.

I am personally grateful to Laura for helping the mighty fine young hunter recover what for many of Florida’s public land hunters, would be a buck of a lifetime. Although I’ve a feeling that with Jason’s skill and persistent dedication to the hunt, he’s quite liable to do it again, although I bet it’ll take him quite a while before he does.

Friends, I thank you so very much for visiting with me again this week and if you’ve any questions or stories of your own to share, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God bless and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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