After missing a chance to bag the buck of a lifetime last year, Jason Kline worried he’d never see that buck again. This year, his fears were realized… sort of.
The Ohio native told Outdoor Life that for the last four or five years he and several of his friends had been hunting a huge buck they’d named Herman. They’d seen him on trail cameras, and he even showed up in person most mornings and evenings.
There was only one problem: he lived on an acreage in Sandusky County whose owner didn’t allow deer hunting.
That’s why Kline wasn’t able to take a shot when he saw Herman from the tree stand last year.
“I hunt a little patch amid the several hundred acres,” Kline said. “Last year, during gun season, I had him in gun range at about 80 yards. I just couldn’t get a good shot at him, and to be perfectly honest, he was standing right on the property line. I couldn’t tell if he was on my side of the property line or the neighbor’s. The fence is broken down right there, and I couldn’t see it from where I was.”
After that missed opportunity, Kline hunted Herman hard this year. But after the deer dropped off the trail cams for several weeks, Kline turned his attention to another big buck he had his eye on.
“I got a little concerned,” Kline said. “I wasn’t really getting many pictures of him, and my only good chance to kill this deer was during the rut. That’s the time I’d [historically] get the most pictures of him.”
Herman never showed up again. After Kline bagged his smaller buck, the hunter asked the neighboring landowner to go shed hunting in search of Herman. He knew exactly where to look.
“The farmer/landowner doesn’t let anybody deer hunt, but he allows me to go shed hunt,” Kline says. “So, just from knowing the property, I thought that there would be one particular place where a big deer might go to die. It’s a thick, secluded creek bottom.”
Within minutes of beginning his search, Kline found the monster, 233 7/8-inch dead head.
“He was laying right where I thought he would be, which is kind of crazy,” Kline said. “When I found him, I didn’t know what to think. But now that I actually have him at home, it’s crazy. He’s so much bigger in person. I’m sad that he died and wasn’t killed by someone, but I am glad to have him.”