Mitch with deer


Mitch Phillips – Madison County, Mississippi 

Recently we wrote an article on a fabulous buck taken on December 4, 2015, by Brett Mosley, a resident of Madison, Mississippi, while hunting at his hunting camp in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. This article will feature a super buck taken by Mitch Phillips on his grandparent’s farm in Madison County, Mississippi.

For the record, Mitch’s grandmother is my sister, his father, Steve is my nephew, and I think Mitch is my grand-nephew or great-nephew. If anyone knows the title of the relationship feel free to let me know.

The Story:

2013 trail cam

In December of 2013, Steve sent me a trail camera photo of a buck which appeared to be approximately 3 1/2 years old, and he asked me what I thought about the deer. While I do not recall my exact words to Steve, I vividly remember thinking that the deer should be a monster if he could make it as least 2 more years. That said, 5 1/2 year old bucks are an extremely rare commodity in our area of Madison County.



 On November 18, 2015, Steve sent me another trail camera photo of a buck with the following notes: “Looks like an older deer, but want your thoughts on age. I’m thinking he might be 5 1/2.”

Photo: Picture from Steve

 While I do not recall my exact response to this question either, I do recall suggesting to Steve that the deer is clearly mature and a great buck. However, at that point in time, I had forgotten about the 2013 photo mentioned above, so it never occurred to me that both photos were of the same buck. Looking back, my belief is the photos were of the same animal.

On December 18, 2015, Mitch was the fortunate hunter who was able to harvest the buck. Until last night, I had quite a lot of information about the deer, but little information regarding the details of the hunt. After preparing a rough draft of this article, it was sent to Mitch and Steve with a request for details of the hunt and comments regarding the article.

As is noted above, I asked Mitch to send me the details of the hunt and he responded with detailed information as to time, elements of the hunt, etc. After reading his information I decided to simply copy and paste the details as Mitch wrote them. The following is the information I received:

Uncle Larry,


I guess we haven’t really discussed the hunt in full detail due to more excitement about the size of the deer. I will do my best to recount the details of the hunt. We arrived at the farm around 3:45 p.m. due to a last minute decision to go. On the walk to my stand I came across three deer (2 doe and 1 young buck) in the food plot that I was planning to hunt. I patiently waited as they continued to eat the 

vegetation, and eventually go on their way. It was approximately 4:15 p.m. by the time I was completely settled in my stand. Within the next 15-20 minutes, a decent sized doe came out directly across the food plot from my stand (approx. 100 yds). She grazed within 10 yds of the tree line for a few minutes before another doe came out accompanied by two yearlings. After a few minutes, these 4 deer converged in the center of the food plot where they continued to eat. About this time, I heard something over my right shoulder. As I was repositioning myself to get a better look, I heard a loud blow that seemed to be no more than 30 yds away. I remained perfectly still until all the deer in the food plot were no longer alarmed. Shortly after (approx. 5:15 p.m.), another doe made her way to the center of the food plot from the left tree line. As this was happening, I noticed all the other deer in the food plot look up in that direction. This got my attention due to their previous indifference to my movement. It was the monster buck!

Trotting out into the field like something you might see in a movie, he was trailing the doe in front of him.  At that moment I knew he was a shooter, and perhaps the big deer we had seen on camera. I did my best to remain calm and focus on the shot. I raised my gun and released the safety. By this time the buck had reached the center of the field and was standing broadside at ~50 yds. I slowed my breathing and steadied the crosshairs and squeezed the trigger. “Click”, nothing happened. I checked the safety, it wasn’t engaged. I then remembered that my dad had encountered a bad round that wouldn’t fire on a previous hunt. I quickly, yet as silently as possible, ejected the round into my free hand. By the time I reloaded and was ready to shoot again, the buck had made his way to the opposite side of the field. He was now standing broadside against the tree line (no less than 100 yds). As you might imagine, my heart rate was fairly elevated at this point. I knew this was my last chance to get a shot. I once again slowed my breathing and squeezed the trigger. “Bang”, deer ran in every direction. I had no clue whether I made a good shot or somehow in the excitement missed the biggest deer I have ever seen.

I immediately called my dad, who was on a stand about .5 mile away. His first words were, “Did you get him?” I responded with a quite shaky voice, “I’m not sure, but he is a monster!” We then proceeded to trail the deer, and were able to find him within 30 minutes of last light. He made it no further than 50 yds from the point of impact. Upon finding the downed deer, we both gasped in sheer amazement. It was the largest deer either one of us had seen, both in body size and antler mass. It is a moment I will never forget.

Thanks, Mitch 

Subsequent to the hunt, the word spread about a monster buck being taken in the general area. As the chatter progressed, we learned that this particular deer was a roamer.  After Mitch killed the deer, Steve and Mitch soon learned that a member of a hunting club on nearby land had at least one (1) trail camera photo of the buck while in velvet.

Around the same time, I happened to be eating dinner at a friend’s camp and discovered the friend had a trail camera photo of the deer after the velvet had been removed.  Both the hunting club member and my friend kept the secret of the monster buck confined to very small groups, and they were hunting him hard until they discovered Mitch had become the lucky/blessed hunter who had already harvested the deer.

As with the Brett Mosley buck, after drying for the required 60 day period, the buck was scored by Rick Dillard, an official Boone & Crockett Club measurer.  Rick scored Mitch’s buck as a typical whitetail which requires, among other things, a Final Score (gross score, less required deductions) of 170 in order to qualify to be entered into the Boone & Crockett Club All Time Record Book (“the Book”).
Upon completion of the scoring process, Rick found the buck to have a gross score of 184 7/8, and after reducing the gross score by required deductions, the Final Score (net score) came in at 170 2/8.
All of our family members were elated!
 Rick’s score sheet, photos, Mitch’s application and other required materials have been submitted to Boone & Crockett Club in Missoula, MT for review, verification and acceptance. Per Rick, it typically takes 2-3 months (or more) to work through the Boone & Crockett Club review and verification process. However, assuming all measurements and other details as determined by Rick do hold up and Boone & Crockett Club officials do verify and accept it as scored, Mitch’s buck will be entered into the Boone & Crockett Club Record Book.
Regardless of the final decision of Boone & Crockett officials, Mitch’s buck is an animal which is superlative to the max!!! To be given the opportunity to even see an animal of this quality in northeast Madison County, Mississippi is a truly rare event. Probably as rare as goat feathers. To be able to harvest such a buck at anytime, anywhere is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a true blessing. 
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Boone & Crocket Scoresheet:
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