Marlon Hale Buck
Published in RACK Magazine December 2006 as
“The 12 Pointer That Wasn’t”
Edson Waite
  “I hunt in the three surrounding counties from where I live in eastern Ohio near Irondale,” states Marlon Hale, a 27 year old union roofer. “I have hunted with a compound bow for several years and was never successful, seemed like something would always go wrong and the big one would walk away unscathed. Then a few years ago I injured my shoulder and couldn’t draw and hold the compound any more, so I bought a
Horton Legend II crossbow, and my luck in the woods improved almost instantly.”

“2002 was pretty good, but I used a gun and took a 14 point in Jefferson County that scored about 150 gross, that was my best ever. Right then I decided that I wanted to try to out do myself each season.

  “In the 2003 season, I took a really nice 13 point in nearby Harrison County that
probably goes close to 170, it was my first with the crossbow. And in 2004 I chased a
gray ghost all season but could never get a good setup on it. So I went without.

Early in the spring of 2005, Marlon was working in Carroll County and saw some
ground that looked really good. He talked to farmers and land owners and was finally
able to gain permission to hunt a pretty good sized farm that included several corn fields
separated by strips of timber and medium sized woodlots. It looked very promising so he returned several times through the summer and fall scouting the trails and fields. There was plenty of sign to indicate a good sized buck was living somewhere close. “A couple of times I caught glimpses of this really big buck, but was never able to get a clear look at the antlers. He had my attention so I worked very hard to find several good places to hang a stand and planned where and when they would be best.” Marlon described the area.

“When the archery season opened in early October, I was ready. I hunted the area
heavy, almost every day for a month, either morning or evening. I moved my stands
several times trying to find a better spot, closer to where I saw this really big deer that I
was sure was a 6 by 6. The stand was never where I needed it to be. I saw the same deer two times in October, but never close and it never presented a shot. I think the buck had me patterned.” October ended without an opportunity to take a shot. “I guess I saw close to 20 different bucks during the month of October, but they were all much smaller than the buck I wanted.”

  Marlon returned in early November, the third to be exact, but it was too windy to hang
in a tree so he found a good spot where he could watch some intersecting trails. “I was
hunting a patch of hardwoods about 30 acres in all, with a log road through the middle
and almost completely surrounded by standing corn. It was hard to find a good spot as the
deer could enter and exit the corn almost anywhere without being seen.

 I saw a few does and small bucks that day. It looked like the bucks were starting to pay very close attention to the does, trouble was, it was way too warm.” In the Ohio Valley, the rut usually kicks in during the first week of November and peaks around Veterans Day.

“I was up very early the next day, and left the house about 5:30 for the half hour drive
to the farm. When I arrived I sprayed down with scent remover and headed out on the
300 yard walk to where I wanted to hunt. It was really warm, even muggy and it was just
6 AM. I went to the same tree I had hunted from yesterday and cleared the spot around
the base. I was going to stay on the ground again. The wind was right for this spot and I
didn’t want to risk moving a stand right now.” Marlon continues, “I set out some Tink’s
scent bombs and got myself situated. I was watching an old logging road coming up the
hill and there were several deer trails crossing it that I could see.”

The rut was for sure getting underway, and there was a lot of scraping and some of the
small bucks were sparing, you could easily see where the ground was torn up and Marlon had seen smaller bucks chasing the does.

It was quiet except for the breeze as Marlon stood backed up to a large oak tree. He
hadn’t seen a single deer yet. He flipped his Primos can call a few times to simulate a
doe and made a few grunts with his tube, but there was no action. “I had been sitting
there without seeing anything, then about ten minutes to ten I heard what I was sure was a deer running in my direction, then I saw this doe come up the logging road. She was
breathing hard and I thought maybe a coyote or dog was chasing her. She stopped about
30 yards away and was looking at her back trail over her shoulder. I leaned back against the tree for cover as I had leaned forward when I heard it coming.”

  Marlon continued, “Then I heard about 5 or 6 grunts so I looked to the right as I thought
that is where they came from. I leaned forward so I could look around the tree and I didn’t see nothing and looked around and still didn’t see anything, then I leaned back so I could see where the does was at. As I did I saw this buck had come up from the left and was approaching the doe. It was the buck I had been hunting for sure.

  My crossbow was standing up between my legs, so I leaned back again and began to
raise the bow.” Marlon was obviously into the hunt again as he related the final moments of the story. “He was just standing there looking at the doe. He was not even concerned with me, just looking at the doe while I raised the crossbow and got ready. The buck was about 23 yards and quartering away from me when I pulled the trigger. I was pretty sure it was a good shot but I just couldn’t tell exactly where I had hit it, so I decided to wait as long as I could. I waited about two, two and a half hours before I started to look for sign. I found good blood and hair at the spot where he had been standing and I followed in the direction he had run. It ran about a hundred yards before it piled up. In my mind I had this buck pegged as a 6 by 6 everytime I saw it, it was always crossing left to right and it just looked like a typical 6 by. When I walked up to this guy, I was stunned, there were points everywhere and the rack itself was massive. I just didn’t know there was as much non-typicalness to it, it was just massive.”

It took a couple helpers to get the deer out of the woods and back to the check station
where the word began to spread. Soon enough, most of the county knew a big buck had
fallen, someone even claimed to have found the buck’s sheds from the previous year.
(Turns out the supposed sheds were found many miles away in a different county.)

Marlon’s buck sure enough looked like a typical six from the right side, even though it
had a total of twelve measurable points, six were very typical. However the left side
contains six typical points and 11 non-typical points accounting for 44 plus inches of
antler that grew in almost every direction and style including a pretty big fishhook drop
tine off the left main beam. Two points had growth which would remind you of a moose
as the tines are tall and flat with several points growing out to the side of each. With 29
scoreable points, Marlon’s buck scored 232 3/8 inches on the official BTR scale and
including the 17 7/8” inside spread, 250 2/8 inches for a composite score.