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Simon Ellis's Best Florida Deer

simon ellis with three deer mountsThe best buck I ever took in Florida was a 12 pointer that scored 121-5/8 inches that I harvested in 2015. I took that buck during gun season, but I had trail camera pictures of him from a year earlier. A buddy of mine had shot at this buck in 2014 but missed him. Although we put out trail cameras in 2015, we never got a picture of him.  

The area we were hunting had been clear-cut and had one little spot of timber left. I hadn’t seen any deer there, so I just decided to set up in that little stretch of hardwoods about 5 miles away from the spot where we’d gotten the trail camera pictures of this buck. I wasn’t expecting to see a nice deer. 

Where I was sitting was probably only 10 acres of woods surrounded by planted pines. Scrub oaks had grown up out in the clear-cut with the pines, making that clear-cut thick and providing food and a place for deer to bed. That area was like a sanctuary, and I guess the buck I finally took was coming into the oaks where I was hunting to bed down in the shade. 

I was lucky to even see that deer, because I was looking at Facebook on my phone when I heard the sound of a deer walking. I thought he was probably a squirrel, since there were plenty of squirrels in that patch of oaks. But when I heard a branch behind me snap, I knew that the sound I heard wasn’t a squirrel. 

As I turned around slowly to look, I saw the buck 50 yards up the trail from my stand. I was hunting with my .270. I aimed for the shoulder and shot, and the buck dropped where he stood. In the area I hunt, that buck was a buck of a lifetime. I never thought that even if I hunted 100 years on public lands in Florida that I’d ever take a buck that big off a WMA. 

When a friend of mine saw the deer he said, “That’s the same buck we got one picture of on our trail camera last year, but he was 5 miles away from here.” 

Everybody in my hunting camp wanted to look at him. So after the deer was mounted, I took him to our hunting camp and left him there. I’ve taken about 50 bucks in Florida where we legally can take two bucks a year.

Part 1: Simon Ellis Hunts Early Season Deer in Florida

Part 3: Hunting Deer with Hounds

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