CALEDONIA – When lifelong farmer and father of three months Ben Benedict glanced out across his field on Sunday getting ready for church, he caught a flicker of movement as a fat doe trotted out from the treeline.
Giving the situation every chance he could to be fruitful, he took his 30-06 rifle to a nearby tree and settled in. It was 9:30 a.m. Little did he know that he had just positioned himself to take a buck affectionately nicknamed ‘Hammertime’ which had stirred his and his friends’ blood for more than three years.
A shadow moved in the woods, and out stepped the royal whitetail, his polished rack towering over his tawny body.
“He was at about 230 yards and just hung out there,” recalled Benedict, 28. “When he quartered in towards the woods, it was a ‘now or never’ moment. I shot him and he took off into the trees.”
Benedict let the dust settle and set out into the field to find the deer. Once he finally put his hands on the animal, he realized just how big and beautiful it was.
“He has 14 clear tines and we have it roughly scored at 170 points,” said Benedict. “We’re getting it scored officially and there are still some measurements to do. He was really worn down from the rut, there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him. When Kevin was taking pictures of him earlier he was probably 250 pounds, and when I got him he was about 170.”
Benedict’s friends had also seen the deer in the past and been taken aback by his size and glory. They had been helping each other locate him for three years.
“We’ve all seen him quite a few times and he definitely made the list, but we were never able to make it work out,” said Benedict. “I saw him during bow season, but it was pretty dark and I couldn’t do anything with him legally, so I let him walk. Turns out it was the right decision, I guess.”
Benedict says that he hasn’t quite decided what type of mount will best do this big deer justice.
“It’s going to be some kind of shoulder mount,” said Benedict. “We’ve been hunting him for three years straight, Kevin too, and my friend Greg Swain. We all really wanted one of us to get him, and we’re all glad that that’s how it worked out.”
Benedict lives near his family’s farm in Caledonia with his wife and three-month-old son.