230 inch deer
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He had been chasing an unbelievably nontypical whitetail for over a year when Randy Kukral shot one with an arrow on November 16, 2022. In pursuit of the 5 11.2-year-old Buckeye State brute, Kukral was on his 16th sit this season when it gradually reached 25 pounds. With his 10Point crossbow, he shot it through its vitals and tracked it down for a short time before retrieving his biggest buck yet.
Kukral had acquired the right to hunt on private land in a region of northeastern Ohio that sees high hunting activity. He first saw the deer while it was rutting last year, but already having bagged his limit, he kept this giant buck in mind. “November 29, 2021 is when our story starts”, Kukral recalls to Field & Stream. “I see this doe working a ridge while I’m driving down the road. Then I see a giant, giant deer standing right behind her down in a creek bottom.”
Randy Kukral caught the buck for the first time on a cell phone in November.
Kukral managed to capture cell phone footage of his first encounter with the deer. Kukral says what really stood out was the massive drop tine plunging off the rack’s right side. “I immediately think, ‘This is my target deer for next year.’ It has a perfect frame, splits, and a drop of between 10 and 12 inches,” he says.
The season ended shortly after that encounter, and Kukral – who works the professional bass fishing circuit when not hunting deer – never had time to scout or hunt for sheds. “When September rolled around, I did a few drive-bys around what I hoped was still his core area, but I didn’t see anything crazy mature,” says Kukral. “I ended up going in there at the beginning of October and started asking for permission.”
Kukral met one landowner who seemed receptive, but he never got a response. Kukral was lucky to be able to find him after a chance encounters with one of his neighbours. “I pulled into his driveway to tell him that I might be hunting an area nearby, and he says, ‘Why don’t you just hunt here?’” recalls Kukral, with a laugh. “I put a cell camera up on the creek bottom and within three hours I had a 180-inch buck texted to my phone.”
232-Inch Monster Whitetail with 12-Inch Drop Tine from Ohio Hunter Tags
The inside spread of Kukral’s whitetail was 21 7/8 inches.
He first saw the drop-tine buck on his cell cam on November 13, but Kukral wasn’t after it. He was in a tree stand on November 16 hoping to meet him. As I was hunting the same piece of property around 3 o’clock, he says, he saw nothing but giant antlers moving back and forth. “About 3 o’clock, I’m hunting that same piece of property, and I see nothing but giant antlers moving back and forth,” he says. “The antlers almost looked golden with all the moisture they had on them. I knew it was him immediately.”
Kukral watched the deer for an excruciating 20 minutes before it started to approach crossbow range. Kukral passed a shot opportunity at 45 yards, but it wasn’t ideal. “Then I bleated at him with a can call twice, and he acted like he didn’t even hear it,” he says. “So I hit him with a couple of tending grunts, and he started coming in on a string.” He then hit the deer with a few tending grunts, and the deer came in on a string. Kukral shot the deer at 25 yards.
“He ran about 70 yards and then just stopped and started walking,” says Kukral. “I don’t know if he even knew what hit him. Then he disappeared into the thick stuff, and I couldn’t see him at all.” Thirty minutes later, Kukral inched out of his stand and got to the top of a ridge with a better vantage point of the area where he’d last seen the buck. He glassed the spot but never saw an inch of the deer’s rack or hide. He started to second guess the shot, but when he texted a picture of his arrow to some friends, they all said the same thing: “That deer is dead.”
In 2021 Kukral killed the 210-inch deer on the left. The rack on the right is his 232-inch giant from 2022. Both deer were scored using the Buckmasters scoring system.
Kukral waited an extra two hours just to make sure, then ventured into the thicket and set his hands on the deer’s 20-point rack for the first time.“Getting him felt even better than getting my first 200-inch whitetail last year,” he says. “I can’t really put it into words.” With the target deer down and officially scored, Kukral is already setting his sights on 2023. “I’m trying to go three for three,” he says. “I’ve already got pictures of a deer that’ll easily go for 250. If I can get three bucks in the 200s, three straight years in a row, I might be the first person to ever pull that off.” According to Buckmasters’ system, this remarkable buck scored 232 inches (including inside spread).
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