December 22, 2022
Continuing our look at some of the coolest bow-killed bucks of 2021 (be sure to check it out if you missed the Dustin Huff buck or the Zach Measows buck), we move to Ohio where a Massachusetts-native found success with a plan that was not the original idea.
The ‘Plan B’ Buck — David Souza, Ohio
An avid whitetail hunter, David Souza of Massachusetts likes to travel across the country each year to pursue deer. One of the trips he looks forward to the most, however, is the annual excursion he makes to Whitetail Outfitters of Ohio, an outfitter known for putting bowhunters on big, free-ranging bucks.
Since 2018, Souza has hunted five times with owner Ty McCombs, but his 2021 trip was by far his most memorable as he was joined by longtime hunting partner Dan Chesley, friend Bill Beaumont and nephews Noah and Frankie Oakley. Plus, Souza downed a 180-class 14-pointer, his biggest-ever whitetail.
“I’ve tried to do a few trips in some quality areas every year for the last 20 years now,” Souza said. “(McCombs) just kind of has everything I’m looking for. I’ve been really pleased with him — he knows his stuff.”
Souza’s hunt began quietly enough, with multiple deer sightings but nothing big enough to lift the bow for. While he was originally hunting a property that had a big 9-pointer on it, McCombs learned on the second night of the hunt that that particular deer had just been taken by a bowhunter at a neighboring outfitter. Hence, it was on to Plan B — moving to a different farm that had less deer but one enormous buck that might top 170 inches.
The next morning, Souza found himself perched high in a treestand until 11:30 a.m., at which time he got down and made his way to a different stand 200 yards away along a cut cornfield for the afternoon sit. With about 45 minutes of daylight left, Souza texted his hunting party that he hadn’t seen a deer since 8:30 a.m., and he was shutting his phone off as prime deer-movement time was approaching. Only a few minutes later, he saw antlers going through the brush.
“Sure enough, the first deer that I saw happened to be that buck,” Souza said. “He came in and held up, working a scrape and worked a licking branch. He was probably 30 yards back in the treeline, in the brush from the cut cornfield, dawdling around and dawdling around.”
Approximately 20 minutes later, a doe emerged from the woods, passed Souza’s stand and made its way into an area of cut corn where the buck might be able to see her. Sure enough, the buck, which was facing the opposite direction of the doe, lifted its head up from feeding, turned and noticed the deer.
“He turned and started coming at a real slow gait only 18-20 yards out,” Souza said. “I got to full draw as he went behind a tree. The whole time he was in range, where I had a clear shot at him.”
Souza let an arrow fly, with a double-lung shot putting the deer down after it had gone about 40 yards. The deer gross green scored just over 180 inches, topping Souza’s previous ‘best’ buck, a 170-inch 15-pointer he took with McCombs in 2015. Three of the other four bowhunters in Souza’s group also scored during the week, with Chelsey taking a 140-class 8-pointer, Noah harvesting a 130-class 7-pointer and Beaumont taking his first-ever deer, a nice eight.
“It was amazing; it was really amazing,” Souza said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever have a deer of that caliber (and) that type of hunt again.”