Ed Stiles' quest to put a trophy deer on the wall using archery equipment began when he was 17. Now, 37 years later and after many seasons which he chose to tip his arrows with Wasp Broadheads, his dream buck fell with the help of a Wasp Boss 3-blade broadhead.
“I’ve always used Wasp broadheads,” Ed said. “I have been using the Boss for the last five or six years and before that it was the tried-and-true Wasp 130 grain 3-blade fixed broadhead.”
Growing up and living in North Carolina, Ed had few opportunities to draw back his bow back on monster whitetails, but he was a very successful archer. Over the years, he harvested more than 30 deer using a bow, the largest being a 122-inch 9-point. To kill a remarkable deer, Ed decided to look elsewhere for theopportunity.
In the last few years, Kentucky has been entering the conversation of the best trophy deer state more. A high volume of television shows are now filming valuable footage in the Bluegrass State and new outfitters continue to set up shop in the emerging whitetail paradise.
Ed, after hearing some of the buzz about Kentucky’s deer herd, decided to do some research. Three years ago, based on his investigation, he thought Christian County might be the next hot spot for deer hunting. He booked his first trip with Premier Outfitters of Western Kentucky, a decision he now smiles greatly upon.
The abundance of food and quality habitat in the region in combination with the potential of a yet-to-be-tapped resource kept Ed hungry in his pursuit of a world class-buck. Still, two seasons passed without encountering a buck that met his high standards. He was seeing a lot of bucks and passing up deer that most would consider a pinnacle harvest, some sporting racks over 160-inches. But Ed remained patient and steadfast in his chase. After his first visit, Ed and his family were impressed with the property and Premier Outfitters, andhe booked another hunt for the following year for himself and his brother.
“When Ed and his brother returned to camp the next year, I told them of several huge bucks that had been photographed by trail cameras,” the owner of Premier Outfitters, Mark Clifford said, “I also told Ed that one of my guides had reported seeing a buck in ‘the zoo’ (a farm that earned the name by guides because of the big buck activity that routinely took place there) that looked to be in the mid-170 to 180 range. That was all Ed needed to hear. He wanted to go to ‘the zoo’.” “The zoo” would become a place Ed would become very familiar with during the next few years.
Ed hunted the farm on the first day and saw several 2-year-old bucks, an the deer sign that was everywhere told him a larger buck was close. The next day, Ed's brother harvested the largest buck of his life, a huge 10-point. After seeing his brother's buck, Ed's hopes were high, but his hunt ended without tagging out.
Once again, Ed scheduled another hunt, but this time it would fall during what he hoped would be the peak of the rut – November 9-12.
“After they arrived, I showed Ed, his brother and a hunting buddy that he had met the year before in camp the trail camera pictures of the giant that had been seen from two different stands at ‘the zoo’,” Clifford said. “The monster buck had been spotted on the edge of a standing cornfield that was surrounded by chest-high CRP fields in broad daylight just two days before their arrival. I went on to tell the three hunters that guide Jimmy Whetzel and I had positioned three stands that surrounded the cornfield several weeks prior to their arrival. Ed thought maybe this time his luck would change.”
The first day of the hunt produced sightings of 35 bucks and countless does for the group of hunters. Ed’s friend saw the one that mattered most though. Unfortunately, it was out of bow range when the sun dipped below the horizon.
“That night, Ed came to me and asked where he was going to be put in the morning.” Clifford said. “I told Ed that he was going right back where he was that day because he had seen so many deer. Ed said he did not have a good feeling about the stand but I advised him that after seeing all the deer and the trail camera photos of the huge buck, and he just needed to be patient.”
The next two days was a repeat of day one, lots of buck sightings. This time it was Ed’s brother who caught a glimpse of the brute chasing a doe before disappearing into a cornfield.
“While eating lunch on the last day of the trip, Ed asked me if he could move to a stand he knew I had hung for Realtree pro David Blanton the previous year,” Clifford said. “I urged him to stay put but still Ed insisted on wanting to hunt the other stand. I told Ed that I would move him, but I thought that he was making a mistake and that the wind was wrong for that stand. Still, he insisted on hunting the stand.”
But after settling into the new post for the afternoon, Ed had his doubts too.
“After climbing into the stand, Ed just didn't feel right. He thought about what I had said and also he noticed that wind was wrong,” Clifford said. “Ed climbed down and walked back to the original stand where he had been hunting the previous days.”
An hour later, Ed saw a doe being chased by a monster rack. Even though he was unable to count the buck’s points, Ed knew this was the deer he was after for the last 37 years. His patience continued as his rangefinder pinged the buck at 150-yard away. It was up to the doe to make a move toward Ed’s stand and hopefully the buck would trail.
Like clockwork, as soon as that thought jumped into Ed’s mind, the doe was moving closer. Ed gently grabbed his bow, stood up in his ladder stand and held his breath. After a few seconds, which probably felt like hours to Ed, the buck was in range. A lifetime of hunting came down to an instant as Ed drew back his bow and sent his Wasp broadhead into orbit.
The broadhead, pushed by 62-pounds of draw weight, hit its mark and pierced both lungs on it way to a clean pass-through. The deer drunkenly circled for 40 yards before crashing in the cornfield.
After climbing down from his stand, Ed found his arrow plugged 5-inches into the ground and pulled it out to inspect it. Hairs and major blood marked the shaft – a good sign. The broadhead’s tip, ferrule and blade were still all intact.
Upon recovory of the buck, decades spent hounding a topnotch buck that would find its way into the record books came to a close. Ed laid his hands on the massive buck and had to sit down to gather himself. His mission was accomplished and Wasp Archery is honored to have played a part in the wonderful saga.
North American Whitetail Magazine reported the following in an article:
"After a drying period, an official Buckmasters scorer, Ben Gore, scored the buck at 196 3/8 Inches including the 22 1/8 inch spread. The official score without the spread is 174 2/8 inches-Unofficially, the buck scores 190 inches as a non-typical under the Boone & Crockett scoring system. Both main beams measure just over 26 inches.
"The Ed Stiles buck ranks among the highest-scoring typical whitetails to be killed with archery equipment in Kentucky."
To see photos of this behemoth of a buck see the album on Facebook.