Patience paid off.
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Jeremiah Bunch of Scandia, Kan., had a feeling that the 4 ½-year-old whitetail he first spotted in 2011 had the potential to be a truly special buck, so he let it walk—not once but a half-dozen times over the course of two deer seasons. This year his patience paid off when he killed the Sunflower State giant after the formerly symmetrical 4-by-4 sprouted a gnarly, 17-point non-typical rack that gross-scored a whopping 215 inches.
When Bunch first passed on the buck—which he called Big 8—he estimated it measured 140 inches. He found the deer’s right shed near his stand and later came into possession of its left antler after friends found it while turkey hunting. In 2012, the 180-class 8-pointer led a charmed life. “He was kind of stupid, running around on the road in broad daylight,” Bunch says. “My brother had him at 20 yards but shot over his back. He walked under my stand about five times, but I wanted my brother to have the opportunity if he wanted it. And I’d always wanted to let a buck grow to 6 ½, just to see what he’d do.”