Chris McMiller had a deer-in-the-headlights look after his encounter with a giant buck minutes earlier. Still shaken, he described the brute that fed mere yards from his tree to his father-in-law. “He was a freaking monster,” McMiller said. “I was so shook up, I couldn’t draw my bow!”
Twenty-four days earlier, the huge typical buck had appeared on a game camera where McMiller’s father-in-law, George Moore, hunts. The bruiser was frequenting a suburban woodlot by a golf course and some housing additions. Moore had hunted the area for 20 years and had taken some dandy whitetails. But this buck was different. With lots of long tines, good mass and a wide spread, this buck was world-class! News of the buck spread and area hunters took note. Moore cringed at the unwanted attention the buck garnered, and rightfully nicknamed the great whitetail “Most Wanted.”
In an attempt to arrow the buck, Moore hung three stands for variable wind conditions. He checked his game cameras weekly and only during the midday period, when the buck was bedded in a thick sanctuary area.
Moore continued to feed the brute massive amounts of rice bran, which he obtained from a local feed store. In an effort to not taint the place, the rice bran was dumped out when the game camera cards were replaced. Game camera photos revealed that Most Wanted—along with several other whitetails—would later return to the feed spots to gorge on the tan-colored meal.
When opening day came, Moore gave his son-in-law his choice of stand locations. Chris chose to hunt George’s favorite stand called the “Hilltop Stand.” Moore hunted a stand overlooking a creek-bottom nearby. That evening, McMiller had a close encounter with Most Wanted, but failed to launch an arrow.
For the next 2 weeks, despite Moore logging long hours in his treestand, Most Wanted was only seen on nighttime game cam photos. Even though he worried that the famed buck had gone nocturnal, the dedicated archer refused to quit.
On October 18, George’s intuition told him it was going to be a good day. He climbed into the Hilltop Stand that afternoon and noticed the temperature had cooled off. Soon, some does and a small buck appeared and fed beneath him. Suddenly, the deer peered intently into the nearby trees, and then slowly moved away.
In seconds, Most Wanted appeared from behind a cedar, causing Moore’s heart rate to soar! The buck’s huge antlers glistened in the dregs of the evening sun. “I couldn’t believe he was finally in front of me,” Moore recalled. “I was going nuts. I closed my eyes for a few seconds so I wouldn’t get nervous from staring at his massive antlers.”
When Moore opened his eyes, Most Wanted fed on the rice bran 20 yards away. Taking careful aim, he released an arrow that buried in the buck’s left shoulder. The buck spun and ran behind the cedar, vanishing.
After waiting in his stand until 6 p.m., George called his son, Matt, who was hunting nearby. Matt soon drove up in the Polaris and the pair started to look for the buck as darkness fell. George found hair … but no blood. At Matt’s urging, they decided to wait until the next morning to look for the buck.
At first light the following day, Matt found a good blood trail. Just 80 yards away, Most Wanted lay still. George was overcome with emotion when he saw his huge buck.
“I thanked God as I grabbed the buck’s rack,” Moore remembered. “I was amazed. The buck was awesome!”
The rack was a mainframe 7×7, but one side had seven sticker points. Sixty days later, the buck was officially scored as a non-typical with an amazing gross score of 206 5/8, eventually netting 191 7/8.
Photo courtesy of George Moore.
Moore believes one of the keys to his success was allowing his game cameras to do the scouting for him. He took steps to ensure his spot wasn’t tainted with human scent.
Moore always hunted with the wind in his favor, and he hung his treestands high enough so that changing winds wouldn’t betray his presence.
Most of all, he credits his son-in-law for not taking a marginal shot during his opening day encounter with Most Wanted.