Marlon Hale Buck
Published in RACK Magazine December 2006 as
The 12 Pointer That Wasnt
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
couldnt draw and hold the compound any more, so I bought
Horton Legend II crossbow, and my luck in the woods improved
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
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
didnt want to risk moving a stand right now. Marlon
continues, I set out some Tinks
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
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
hadnt 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 didnt see nothing and looked around
and still didnt 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 couldnt 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 didnt 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 bucks sheds
from the previous year.
(Turns out the supposed sheds were found many miles away in a
Marlons 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, Marlons 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.