Written by Jillian Mock, Lone Star Outdoor News
In Val Verde County in early December, South Texas hunter Wes Wyrick shot the most unusual spike white-tailed deer he has ever seen.
The antlers, each approximately 24 inches long, curve gracefully above the deer’s head to form a towering, smooth semicircle. If the length and symmetry weren’t impressive enough, Wyrick estimated the deer to be about 8-1/2-years old. All of this adds up to an once-in-a-lifetime kill.
“I knew I would never see another deer like that,” Wyrick said of the first time he saw the buck’s image captured on a game camera. “I was like, ‘Holy crap, I need to shoot that deer.’”
Wyrick has “been hunting since he could walk” and, when he isn’t hunting recreationally with buddy Cody Garrett and loyal dog, Newt, he is either studying wildlife at Texas A&M University-Kingsville or working as a gunner for Southwest Texas Helicopters shooting pigs. Needless to say, Wyrick knows a good deer when he sees one.
This particular spike was no easy prize. For one thing, the buck seemed to be completely nocturnal. The game camera regularly snapped pictures of him near a particular feeder but only long after dark — never when Wyrick and Garrett were sitting in the blind.
The two friends made trips to the lease whenever they could, but the old deer remained elusive. At one point, trail camera photos showed the spike switched from his regular feeder , throwing off the hunters even more.
Regular trips to check the trail cameras plus the ongoing rut was the spike’s undoing.
On December 12, the two drove out to the feeder in the middle of the day to check the cameras for the deer’s latest night movements. As he pulled the truck around corner and into full view of the feeder, Wyrick spotted two deer — one female and one male with an unusual antler formation.
“Is that him?” Wyrick asked and Garrett quickly pulled out his binoculars to confirm.
“Oh man, that’s him!” Garrett said and the two leapt out of the car.
By this time, the spike had bounded up a nearby hillside following his fleeing female companion. Wyrick watched as the female moved from the cover of one thicket to another. Anticipating the buck would follow, Wyrick grabbed his gun out of the truck and aimed for the open space. As soon as he lined up the shot, the spike leapt into view and Wyrick squeezed the trigger.
“He grew before I got to him!” Wyrick said, as he recalled the excitement after finally shooting the mysterious spike. From the trail camera photos, Wyrick thought the antlers would be about 18 inches long. The actual 24-inch length (totaling 48 2/8) of each beam currently has Wyrick in the lead in three different deer contest’s “Longest Spike” competition.
This will be one tough deer to beat.