With the whitetail deer archery season not even a week old, first-year bow hunter Weston Turner harvested two "bucks-of-a-life-time" in less than 48 hours.
On opening Sunday, Turner harvested a 13-point whitetail buck near Acton on his grandfather Bill James' ranch and grounded another monster deer in Brock that may score into the 150s via the Pope and Young scoring system.
Turner's Hood County roots run deep, and his grandfather's ranch near Acton had seen a decline in the deer population over the last five years due to a nearby "high-fence" ranch that hindered access.
That led Turner's uncle, Pete James, to leaving the deer population alone and working toward creating a more welcoming environment for them.
Sadly, Turner's uncle passed away last year from COVID complications, leading his nephew to carry on his outdoor legacy.
"I didn't start hunting until two years ago, and it was a way to honor my uncle's legacy as a hunter," Turner said.
While he had a successful harvest his first year, Turner wanted something more challenging and turned his attention to bow hunting.
"I bought my bow in May," Turner said. "I practiced twice a week and shot about 100 arrows each time. As we got closer to the hunting season, I stepped it up a little more."
While luck always plays a part in harvesting a big buck, Turner applied more than just practicing with his bow — gathering information from friends and archery businesses and researching how to create the right kind of habitat.
Things didn't start how Turner planned on opening day when he and his cousin, Kyle Hamill, "bumped into deer," and the whitetails fled in all directions.
"There go the next four days is what I told Kyle," Turner said.
It was a fruitless Saturday, and after an equally unimpressive Sunday morning, the cousins broke for lunch. The scales weighing football and naps against an afternoon hunt were tipped with the news a cold front was blowing in.
Adding fuel to the fire was Turner's entire year of keeping track of a big buck that occupied the area.
Around 6 p.m., three younger bucks emerged from a draw and offered Turner a chance to fill his tag, but he sidestepped the temptation.
The younger bucks aided Turner in his hunt because they allowed him to quell his "buck fever" and practice drawing his bow.
When the young bucks suddenly got nervous and scattered, it wasn't the newbie bow hunter's practice that sent them fleeing.
"Drawing on the younger bucks helped me calm down a lot," Turner said. "I was all good and well until I saw those antlers popping out of the woods."
It was the buck he was after, and he had already drawn back his bow. With his arrow at the ready, the buck stepped into an ideal range for Turner at 15 yards, and he let fly with a perfectly placed shot.
"I told myself I was not going to take a shot longer than 30 yards because I had been practicing up to that range. I wanted to be able to take a deer with no mistakes humanely," Turner said.
After waiting to calm down and for the deer to fully expire, Turner approached his harvest and found out the buck matched his expectations.
"He didn't have any 'ground shrinkage,' and he was big as I saw on the camera," Turner said. "Once I got my hands around his antlers, I knew he was something special."
The buck has 12 main points and a kicker tine. Another small tine may also qualify the buck to score out as a 14-pointer.
A certified scorer will measure the deer that looks to be a lock for entry into the Boone and Crockett record book.
Adding to Turner's already great hunting season was an additional harvest in Brock when he dropped a massive 9-10 point buck that looks like it will score in the 150s.
With the Brock area being more heavily hunted, Turner's second big deer has added to the amazement of his buddies, who are now wanting to go hunting with him.
"They have been calling and asking to go with me or offering to go in on a lease with me," Turner said.
Russell@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066 ext. 231