BOWLING GREEN -- Earlier this hunting season Ryan Petree took aim at a big buck with a huge set of antlers, released an arrow from his crossbow, and missed.
Petree got a rare second chance on Monday afternoon when the monster whitetail walked near his tree stand, and this time Petree was on target, landing what could turn out to be the largest buck ever taken in Wood County.
The deer was checked by Mike Tyson at Mike's Party Mart on Tuesday, and Tyson confirmed Wednesday that it had massive antlers with at least 26 points, with a 22-inch inside spread. Tyson said the rack was nontypical, with one 10-inch drop tine.
"It's got maybe 29 points, with 26 of those probably scoreable, but it's the size and the thickness of these antlers that really grab your attention," said Tyson, who has operated a state authorized deer check-station at his store since 1988, and estimated that he has checked in over 10,000 deer.
"This is definitely one of the top two or three ever for me, and after some checking, I won't be surprised if it scores the highest ever in Wood County. This is a deer that really stands out -- it has already created quite a stir with hunters around the area."
Petree, a 34-year-old Perrysburg resident who was hunting on private land, said the huge buck was following a half-dozen does when it approached his tree stand. Petree estimated his shot came from about 17-20 yards away.
"After I missed him that first time, I didn't know if I'd ever get another chance, and I really didn't expect it to come so soon," Petree said. "I knew it was a big buck, but once I came down out of the stand and got a closer look at it, I was amazed at what I saw."
Petree, who has been bow hunting since 1994, had previously taken a robust 12-pointer that had a gross score of 183. Taxidermist Mark Lodzinski of Artistic Touch Taxidermy in Oregon, who will create the trophy mount of Petree's deer, said he expects the huge buck will score close to 220 once it is officially measured.
"This is one of those rare bucks that, no matter how much you look at it, it gets more and more impressive," Lodzinski said.
"We've had more than 260 deer brought here to the shop this year, and there are some really nice bucks in that group, but this buck just blows everybody away. I'd venture to say it is one of the top 10 taken in the state, without a doubt."
Lodzinski, who estimated the buck's age at about 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 years old, said it did not have an unusually heavy body. It is classified as "nontypical" because of the drop tine.
"This is a nontypical with a whole lot of character," Lodzinski said.
"You could call it the 'buck of a lifetime;' a lot of guys will hunt their whole lives and never see one like this. There's a bunch of deer here, but this is clearly the biggest one in the shop."
Contact Matt Markey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6510.