Not every buck of Legendary status has a legendary story to go along with it, and if you ask Taylor Gates, that’s just fine with him. Heck, it’d be fine with any hunter if they came home with a buck of this size too. While the stories of the Jordan Buck and Del Austin Buck are full of twist, turns, and sheer excitement, the story on the Taylor Gates buck is quite simple and refreshing – he went hunting and shot an unbelievable buck!
As the story goes, there was no prior knowledge of this buck whatsoever . . . no trail camera photos, no sheds, not even a whisper amongst neighbors. In this day in age, for a buck this big to remain a ghost is simply unheard of. Certainly, it’s a testament to just how wise this old whitetail was . . . at least up until that fateful day in October.
As the alarm sounded that Saturday morning, Taylor debated going hunting or sleeping in. He went back and forth for five minutes, then finally decided he might as well go hunting because the chance of falling back asleep was unlikely. He rolled out of bed and headed to the woods.
Taylor with his giant Missouri buck.
He made the trek to one of his stands deep in the timber that was overlooking a tiny little hidey-hole food plot. Taylor described the plot as a small opening in the woods, just big enough to let some sunlight through to the forest floor. The sunlight gave growth to a food plot mix of alfalfa, turnips, and clover. Hunting 220 acres of nothing but CRP and timber, this little food plot turned out to be just the right ticket.
Taylor was up in his stand well before light. As the sun started to cast the faintest lumens through the dense timber, Taylor thought he heard something walking through the small food plot. He wasn’t sure if it was a buck or not until the deer started working a scrape and racking his antlers in the overhanging licking branch.
With each passing minute, the woods got brighter and brighter, and Taylor was finally able to get a decent look at the buck through his binoculars. He immediately knew it was a shooter, but didn’t have a clue as to how big the buck really was. After working the scrape for what seemed like an eternity, the buck walked through the plot and presented Taylor with a 30-yard shot. He set his pin and let the arrow fly. Next thing he knew, the buck was racing through the timber with the lighted nock illuminating its route. Eventually, the buck made it down a ravine and disappeared out of sight.
After settling down and waiting in his stand for an hour, anxiety finally overcame Taylor and he went to go look for the big buck. Taylor got to the spot where he shot, but no blood was to be found. Obviously, Taylor knew he hit the buck because of the lighted nock, so he decided to walk over to where he last saw him. Sure enough, once Taylor could see into the ravine, the white belly was laying at the bottom. It wasn’t until he walked up to the buck, that he realized just how big and massive the buck was.
Taylor will get the buck officially scored on December 22,2016 following the 60-day dry time. If rough scores are at all close, Taylor will have joined the 200” club at the young age of 21. The buck was shot near Princeton, Missouri.
The moral of the story is to JUST HUNT. In this day and age, hunters rely on technology to provide all the answers as to when and where to hunt. Trail cameras, weather apps, etc. all influence our decisions daily, and a lot of times, if we don’t have a good buck on camera in a specific area, we don’t hunt there. The story of Taylor’s buck is a great reminder to JUST HUNT sometimes. You never know what Legendary buck might be walking around your neck of the woods.