3-Year Quest For A Giant Kentucky Drop-Tine [Big Buck ALERT]

One large and elusive buck. Three action-packed years. Add a hard-hunting bowhunter, a few trail cams and the feature-packed HuntStand app, and you get our Week One winner.

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

One large and elusive buck. Three action-packed years. Add a hard-hunting bowhunter, a few trail cams and the feature-packed HuntStand app, and you get our Week One winner.

Kentucky’s William “Zac” Hammond is feeling pretty good right now. And for several very good reasons. Not only was Hammond, 27, able to close the deal this month on an eye-popping Kentucky buck; even sweeter is the fact that the big deer—a jaw-dropping 12-point with long left-side drop tine—was well known to the avid bowhunter, a buck he was able to drop with help from his new Mathews Vertix compound. And then, of course, the clincher: Hammond is the first weekly winner in the 2019 HuntStand Big Buck ALERT contest that earns him a sweet pack combination from ALPS OutdoorZ: The Bino Harness X with Vital X (see below). The weekly win also makes Hammond eligible for our Grand Prize drawing in November (more on that below). We’re still looking for nine more weekly winners so enter today!

Here is the story of Hammond’s exciting HuntStand app success story, in his own words:

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“On September 14, I was able to put my tag on the one buck that I had set my sights on this year,” Hammond wrote. “The story is a long one (a 3-year quest), but I will try to keep it brief. I first began getting trail camera photos of this buck in 2017. At the time, he was one of the best deer I had on camera but even though he had a larger body size, I guessed him to be 3.5 yrs. old. I tagged a different buck early that season with my bow, thus using my one buck tag that is allowed in Kentucky. Without a buck tag, I continued to hunt does throughout the season and actually had this buck in range twice. I hunted for his sheds in the spring of 2018 and was lucky enough to find both of them just feet apart. I began getting photos of him during the late summer of 2018, and he was the number-one buck on my list.


“I hunted hard for him the entire 2018 season. He disappeared from my camera at the end of September, and I did not get another photo of him until mid-December. One week after he reappeared, he shed his antlers. I was able to identify him by a unique scratch he had on his side. The only time I saw him in person during the 2018 season was after he had shed his antlers. I began looking for his sheds and was able to find both of them at the end of January 2019.

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“During the spring of this year, I scouted hard and tried to put together the pieces that I had learned about him during 2017 and 2018. I used my HuntStand app to save buck beds, funnels, and potential travel routes. I began getting trail camera photos of him throughout the summer. I studied the direction of his travel and time of day, and then used my HuntStand app to factor-in weather conditions and known bedding areas/travel routes that I had logged in the spring. Unfortunately, it was really tough to determine a specific pattern from his movements.

“This year our archery season opened on September 7th. I studied the wind direction and weather forecasts in HuntStand. Conditions were going to be good, with cooler temps and a north wind. I was lucky enough to see him that evening, and watched him for close to an hour, but he never closed the distance. I was busy with work for the next week and my next opportunity to hunt was on 9/13. I studied the conditions on HuntStand and played through the potential scenarios while studying my map. The weather conditions on 9/14 were going to be similar to the previous Saturday when I had an encounter with him.

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“I elected to wait and hunt the evening of 9/14. When I climbed into the stand that evening, I had high hopes. I had a cool north wind which worked for my food plot stand and the evening was already cooling off more than the previous days. Does and fawns began coming out to feed around 7 p.m., and soon I began to hear some rustling in the brush below the food plot, and eventually noticed an antler tine about 80 yards away. Around 7:30, he entered my food plot just 40 yds. away. He was followed by a nice 10 point and a younger 8 point. I let him feed until he presented me a clear 30-yard broadside shot. My arrow zipped through him and he fell just 50 yards away. I am still in awe that I was able to put my tag on him. I believe he is at least 5.5 years. old. His inside spread is 20.75 inches, he has 12 scoreable points, and he sports an 8-inch drop tine.

“I have been using the HuntStand app for about 4 years now while scouting and hunting this buck. I even used it to determine the location and size of my food plot where the buck was killed. It is a great tool and I enjoy using it! Thanks for the great app!”

To enter the HuntStand 2019 Big Buck ALERT contest, simply send us a few clear, high-res. digital photos (three to five) of your 2019 buck bagged after Aug. 31 (Entries accepted NOW THROUGH NOV. 29) along with a brief story of your hunt that explains how the HuntStand app played a part. Be sure to tell us if your buck was known to you or a newcomer, then describe the area where your stand sits, or where the encounter took place, as well as the fateful day’s wind and weather conditions, and of course, the blow-by-blow account of the exciting action as it unfolded. Include your full name, age, successful hunt date and state, weapon used, and also be sure to include your mailing address. Your e-mail subject line should read: Big Buck Alert! Send your photo(s) and requested info to: [email protected]2018Bino X+VitalX 900

Team HuntStand will choose 10 weekly winners that we will share with the extensive HuntStand community; EACH weekly winner will receive BOTH the Bino Harness X (valued at $49.99) AND Vital X rangefinder pocket (valued at $19.99) from ALPS OutdoorZ (see above).ALPSContenderX 900In addition, at the end of the 10 weeks, all weekly winners will be placed in a drawing for our Grand Prize: an ALPS OutdoorZ Contender X pack (valued at $199.99; image above). Pack specialist ALPS is calling this new feature-packed design the ultimate whitetail day pack; the coolness of the Contender X begins with its innovative self-standing L-shape frame, which allows you to set your pack on any flat surface. The unique U-shaped zipper provides extra-large, flip-down top access to the main compartment—ideal for easy gear access while hanging in your stand or sitting on the ground, without losing precious pack contents. You’ll also find Elimishield Scent Control Technology to help eliminate scent, and a Drop Down pocket to carry gun or bow securely.

Good luck out there this fall from all of us here at Team HuntStand and let us know when (and how) you score!



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