December 16, 2021
In many ways, bowhunting is a game of chance. Oftentimes, all the preparation, scouting and hours spent in the woods results in an unfilled tag come season’s end, even if you’ve done everything right. On some hunts, however, things don’t go at all like it was planned — and yet everything still works out in the end.
Such is the case with Shannon Brown of Ohio, who took the biggest buck of her life on the 2021 Ohio archery season opener in September. All summer, she and her dad — Outdoor Product Innovations (OPI) President and CEO Dan Reaser — had been seeing a big buck on the trail cams on the family lease in Lorain County. Then, right before the season was to start, the deer seemed to disappear.
“We had been watching him since July on the trail cameras and he’d been coming in pretty consistently,” said Brown, who handles shipping and logistics for OPI. “Then he kind of went away for a couple of days right before hunting season; that’s how it always happens, of course.”
On a whim, Reaser suggested they head out anyway, with the hopes that the big buck might show itself. Upon arriving at their Rhino 600-Realtree Edge Blind, father and daughter found the batteries — even though they checked them before they went afield — were dead on the Garmin XERO X1i rangefinding scope they were using, so Reaser headed to a nearby gas station for new batteries. When he returned, the pair sat patiently in the blind, but saw very little deer movement, so they started packing up their hunting gear and video camera. Of course, that’s when the bruiser decided to make its appearance.
“He ended up coming out with a smaller buck and came running in,” Brown said. “They were kind of playing. My dad had just taken down the video camera and everything. We still had about 25-30 minutes of daylight left, but we just wanted to get out of there before dark because we hadn’t been seeing anything.”
Shannon says she didn’t have time to let her dad get set with the camera, or even let him know she was going to take the shot, because it all happened so fast. The TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO did its job, with the NAP Spitfire broadhead and bolt dispatching the animal after only a short run.
“The shot was about 24 yards and he ran 100 yards or less,” Brown said of the big 10-pointer with a 23-inch inside spread.
Despite the hiccups on the hunt, the day turned out to be memorable for several reasons.
“It was definitely a cool night, because I got to experience it while I was (seven months) pregnant,” Brown said. “I normally shoot with a compound bow, but because I was pregnant — just to be safe and not push my body too much — I used the crossbow.”
Second, it was her first deer hunt since her grandfather, Cecil, passed away in July.
“He was a big hunter and he’s the reason my dad, (brother) Danny and I are all into hunting,” Shannon said. “So, when I was able to get that big buck, I kind of dedicated it to him. That was a big deal for me.”