By Mark Kenyon

As many of you saw, last Thursday I got a shot at the Ohio buck I’ve been hunting the last two years, Jawbreaker. He was the biggest bodied buck I’d ever seen in the wild and the biggest racked deer I’d ever had a shot at either. I’d had hundreds of trail camera pictures and four close encounters with him over the past two years, needless to say it was the opportunity I had dreamed of and had worked towards for years.

That said, for those that don’t follow Wired To Hunt across Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I wanted to provide a quick update to the blog I posted last week.

In short, I was not able to recover Jawbreaker.

After hitting him Thursday evening, I believed the shot was back, so I backed out and waited til the next morning. Later, a friend was able to slow-mo the video clip of the shot for me, and we were able to confirm that the shot was indeed quite a bit back, looking like a stomach or intestine hit. Also apparent in the slow-mo video, you could clearly see that my arrow hit a limb and deflected, which looked to be responsible, at least in part, for the poor hit.

That night a friend from Michigan drove down with his dog that he’d been training to track deer, to help me film and track, on what we thought would be a relatively easy track job (this was before I got to see the slow-mo video). With the hit I thought I had, I figure’d he would bed after about 150-200 yards, and as long as I didn’t push him, he’d be there the next day.

Long story short, this didn’t happen. We tracked the whole next day, with almost no blood, and eventually lost the trail. Later that evening another friend came up to help, and we grid searched several of the main bedding areas we thought Jawbreaker might use. Still no luck. A little before dark we called it for the day, as I’d gotten ahold of a professional blood tracking dog handler who thought he could help the next day. On day two we started back at the beginning on the trail and continued to searched again for most of the day, again with no luck. Around 5:00 he had to leave, and so I finished off day number two grid searching a few more bedding areas on a neighbors. After two days and nearly 24 hours of actual in-the-field tracking, I had to head home, without Jawbreaker.

As you might imagine, I am devastated.

That being the case, I’m not going to share the full story and all the details today, and am instead going to wait for our next episode of The Wired To Hunt Podcast. I think it will be easier to talk through this once for the recording, get it out of my system, and then be able to move on. That said, if you’re interested in the full story of the hunt, the recovery effort, and what I’m trying to learn from this, be sure to check in on Thursday for that episode.

I also wanted to, again, publicly thank all of you who shared encouragement, advice and kind words on social media over the weekend as I provided updates on the hunt and track job. Your kindness helped me push on harder, as the track job became ever more desperate, and your encouragement is now helping me gather myself back up and push on.

As one W2H reader mentioned to me on Facebook, “Last fall I remember you posting “When you’re down to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!” Well tie your knot…”

That I will.