This is a tale about an unlikely buck found in an unlikely place.
Brute, broad-racked deer are supposed to be found in Missouri’s northern reaches or central region, where crops and river-break corridors are conducive to growing ‘em big. Not in the Ozarks, where deer are often dependent on acorns, not crops.
But Tim Kjellesvik proved that a few bruisers still live in big-timber country. Bow hunting near the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness Area in the deep Ozarks, he shot a buck that would make most seasoned bow hunters envious.
Standing in a treestand on land managed by Devil’s Backbone Outfitters, he shot a 19-point buck with a rack that had a green score of 162 ½ inches.
And he did it while the video camera was rolling. The hunt was being captured from another treestand by Kjellesvik’s friend and fellow outdoors communicator Bill Cooper.
Kjellesvik, who runs the thinkingwoodsman.com website and podcasts, and Cooper, who hosts the Outdoors Again Adventures TV show (aoutdoorstv.com) , set out to get the Devil’s Backbone Outfitters a filmed hunt for their promotional use.
What a show they got. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkQadGSn83Y).
Hunting near dusk on Nov. 4, Kjellesvik watched as two does meandered through the woods in front of him. A few minutes later, the huge buck appeared, hard on their trail.
When the big guy got close enough, Kjellesvik took a shot and made a clean kill. Then the reality of what he accomplished set in.
“If you think Ozark bucks are scrawny, little runts running around, you don’t know what great management can do,” said Kjellesvik, 37, who lives in High Ridge, Mo. “Devil’s Backbone Outdoors does it right.”
For Kjellesvik, the giant buck came as a welcome surprise. He has bow hunted for seriously for nine years, and he has shot other bucks. But his biggest deer before this one measured “somewhere in the 130s,” he said.
“This was an incredible hunt,” said Kjellesvik, who will have the buck mounted. “To take a buck like this in the Ozarks, that’s something you don’t forget.”
For more information on Devil’s Backbone Outfitters, go toe website DBWO.net.