Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Thursday, February 9th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Jackson Co. woman’s multi-year quest ends with a 184-class buck

Jackson, Ohio – A Jackson County woman’s three-year pursuit of a
particular trophy buck ended with success on the first day of
archery season this year.

Melissa Sexton, 33, arrowed the mammoth deer that green-scored
1841/2 Boone and Crockett. She estimated the animal to be more than
5 years old – a true senior citizen in the nation of
whitetails.

It was the fourth deer taken by Sexton this season, but for
obvious reasons the one she values most. It is also the only buck
she has taken in accord with bag limits.

She first spotted the big buck three years ago on her trail
camera and has waited for him to amble close to her blind ever
since.

“We played a cat and mouse game last year,” Sexton said.

The cat got the upper hand on the evening of Sept. 26, leaving
Sexton with a prized mount and bragging rights few women can
match.

Hunting from a ground blind, Sexton said she first saw a nice
10-pointer that would have scored about 160 inches. But, she knew
it wasn’t the bruiser after which she sought.

“I let the (10-pointer) go because the deer that I_killed I_have
been after for three years,”_she said. “I knew (the big one) had
been coming there every night because of our trail cams. I_didn’t
want to take a shot at something never knowing if I_would get the
chance to pull down on him.”

Another 8-pointer came into the area and was still there when
Sexton took her shot at the bruiser.

“There were so many deer in the field after I_shot that I_didn’t
even know where he went,” she said. “Lots of different bucks of all
sizes and lots of does.”

Sexton and her husband, Shawn, waited several hours before
tracking the deer after the shot. He had piled up about 80 yards
away.

“I knew I had gotten a good shot on him, but we couldn’t find
the arrow,”_she said. “It was really hard to see in the dark and in
the thick stuff. But, he hadn’t gone very far from the blind and he
actually gored himself he went down so hard.”

It is by far the largest deer Sexton has ever shot. She is
currently working with the Buckeye Big Buck Club and other deer
hunting organizations to determine if her buck ranks among the
largest ever taken in Ohio by a female bow hunter.

A lifelong outdoors woman, Sexton got really serious about
hunting following her marriage 15 years ago. Husband Shawn is an
avid turkey and deer hunter who has also pursued bear in
Canada.

Sexton herself sticks to whitetails, carefully scouting the land
around her home and researching the welfare of its wildlife.

“We’re into managing our deer herd,” she said. “When we’re not
working, we’re out messing with the deer.”

She favors hunting with a crossbow over a gun because it puts
her in the woods at a warmer time of year. Her tree stand provides
a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of the Sexton family’s
home-based excavating business.

“It’s my ‘out,'” she said. “It’s so peaceful up there.”

An avowed “family afield,” the Sextons are passing on their love
of the outdoors to daughter Morgan, now 8. The girl began hunting
with her parents three years ago. This fall, she bagged both her
first buck and her first turkey with a crossbow. Sexton had the
opportunity to be alongside her daughter when she brought down her
first deer.

“Hunting is our family time together,” Sexton said.

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