November 27, 2022
By Cody Thurston
Going into the 2022 season, I didn’t have a target buck that got me very excited to hunt for myself. I mainly focused on filming and hunting with others who had mature bucks to go after.
Late this summer, I found out a good buddy of mine was diagnosed with brain cancer. We always called him “T-Ball” as a nickname; one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and he has a heart of gold.
The small community we live in quickly jumped into action, coordinating many fundraisers and events to try and help him out anyway possible. To date, we’ve been able to raise over $150,000 dollars for him and his family.
Another buddy donated a few property hunting rights in one of the fundraising events. And as luck would have it, I was the highest bidder. This gave me the motivation needed to find a target buck for the season, and I couldn’t wait to get some cameras up to see what was on this newly accessible property.
To my surprise, an absolute giant showed up right off the bat. To make him even more appealing, he had a drop tine! I immediately knew I’d name him the “T-Ball Buck”; it’d be the T-Ball buck or bust for me this season. I kept my buddy updated as he battled his cancer and went through treatments, allowing him to live through my sits and trail camera photos for the early part of the season.
Monday November 14th came with a sleet and rain mix. A perfect combination for a mature buck to be on his feet, and I couldn’t wait to get out.
As I got set up, I knew there was something in the air for this day. Settling in, I looked out into the CRP. There he was, a few hundred yards away and following a doe.
As they continued their way on, she eventually got to a fence line when she spooked. They both took off and my heart sank. I was so close to closing the deal. It had become almost bitter cold and with a lot of daylight left, and I felt fairly confident they’d circle back.
It hadn’t been an hour when I saw his antler tips come up over the top of the hill. I thought to myself, Here we go! The doe he was with slowly made her way in, feeding to within 40 yards. All the while he just kept watch, for what seemed like an hour.
Finally, she began to move off and here comes T-Ball right behind her. Settling my pin at just 37 yards, I was able to make a good shot.
The first person I called was Travis (T-Ball). I wanted him there with me when I went to track and celebrate this deer. We all met up and were able to follow up around dusk.
The buck went roughly 100 yards, and I was able to close the chapter of the T-Ball buck with T-Ball the man right beside me. A total team effort!
To say it’s my most memorable and meaningful harvest to date is an understatement. He scores right at 176 inches, my largest bow kill to date.
This one’s for you T-Ball! Keep fighting the fight my friend.