Updated: Dec 17, 2021
The story of "Edward Scissorhead" started on December 6, 2020. A random giant buck showed up that night for one sequence of photos on a scrape below what's now the Arrowhead plot. Back then, with it being the beginning of December and the first time the deer had ever been on cam, I figured he was just a random buck from the river bottom a mile away or a random buck moving through to the winter range. That was the first and last time that buck was on camera in 2020.
Fast forward to late October 2021. I had been hunting our Arrowhead plot full of Brassicas from Kaup Forage & Turf for a few of this year's target bucks and noticed them coming up from the river bottom a fair amount of the time but not getting to the plot until near or after dark. I decided to do an observation sit from the opposite ridge overlooking the plot from several hundred yards away as well as the travel routes from the river. Right at sunset the first buck I took this year "The Imposter", and a big 4.5-year-old 4x4 "Riblet" came up onto the flat ridge top and postured around each other and a younger buck that came from another direction for a while before heading to a pond for water.
Younger buck on the left, Riblet in the middle, and The Imposter on the right.
At last light, I saw a bigger-bodied deer come up the same trail. Through my binos, I could tell it was a giant antlered deer that looked to have at least one big split tine. Immediately my mind went to the random buck from last December, thinking it was likely the same buck. The next two pictures are cropped in at last light from about 500 yards, not high quality, but this is the buck.
The next day I moved cameras around to try getting pictures of this deer and the rest of the bucks to narrow down their travel routes. A couple days later we got this picture. While not able to distinctly make out tines, it was for sure the same buck from the ridge that night.
It wasn't until the morning of November 7th that we got the first set of decent trail camera pictures of him, confirming it was definitely the same buck from last December, at the exact same location as last year. But, we didn't know he'd been back until after the landowner rifle season the 6th-8th, and after the opener of regular rifle season the weekend after. After this set of pictures, Carsen gave him the name "Edward Scissorhead".
With only night pictures and not showing up often, I assumed there was slim to no chance at him and still had no idea how we would hunt him even if he was around due to how open the country is out there so we didn't try. Cameras were left unchecked again until November 29th. To my surprise, he was there two more times the week of the 20th, but again only at night.
Getting excited at this point with him showing up more frequently but only on one cam, it was time to move cameras again to new trails. The very next morning, I about had a heart attack when I got this picture from the cell cam. It was him, in daylight! Game on.
On December 2nd I was able to make it back up to the ranch and the first thing I wanted to do was go out and scout more trying to find a spot to sit on the ground and hunt him since there were no live trees to hang in. I ended up following a trail to a tiny tiny pocket of live trees I have always overlooked because it was "too small" and "too open". Once I got above it on the ridge it actually looked decent. I grabbed a stick and chucked it into the pocket from above to see if anything would come out. Instantly three young bucks ran out and over the ridge but I heard a fourth run and stop still in the pocket, so I waited. A few moments later, none other than Scissorhead Ed slowly trotted up and over the ridge as well, never looking back and not seeming too spooked. I don't think I've ever thrown the binoculars up to my eyes so fast. I knew this was the spot, it had to be here. Right after bumping them, I headed back to the truck for the stand, sticks, and saws. The plan was to try the Bump N' Dump technique of bumping a buck out of his bed, hanging a stand nearby, and killing him. It worked all too well as I found just the right tree, and conveniently the only tree possible to hang in and have the wind in my favor. I got the stand up quickly along with a cell cam and licking branch trying to get out of there before dark in case they came back through. The next morning I had several young bucks and does come through early, but no Ed. Shortly after the rest of the deer worked over the next ridge I heard what sounded like 2x4s knocking and rubbing against a tree just west of me. It had to be him, but I couldn't see him through the cedars next to me. Finally, I caught movement through a gap in the cedar with the binos. It was him! He was only about 75 yards away making a rub. I only caught about 15 seconds total of him before he moved off out of sight and I'm still not sure exactly where he went. Finally, I felt I actually had a chance as long as I sat that stand every morning that I had the right wind.
The stand setup, only a small opening in the tree pocket to shoot in.
The next day on the 4th I was unable to sit there because of the wind direction, but guess who walked through right by the base of the tree.. The camera never caught his head, but it did catch his half missing tail (see last year's pictures).
On the morning of the 5th, I was able to sit the stand again for the second time. No Scissorhead, but several young bucks and does again. On the 6th, with the wrong wind for me to be there again... Talk about cat and mouse.
The morning of the 7th I didn't have the right wind for the stand but decided to do an observation sit from the ridge above where I was safe. Again, Edward was a no-show. With the wind switching in my favor for the afternoon, the choice was easy. I ended up having one of the best sits of my life and experienced HOT second rut activity for the first time as several nice bucks chased and fought hard after a doe all evening all around me, but no Ed. With the wrong wind again on the 8th I spent the day working on some video projects and prepared for the next morning which looked perfect. I told myself several times that night "You're going to get him in the morning." just for motivation haha. The next morning I woke up before my alarm and couldn't fall back asleep so I got ready and headed to the stand super early. After getting everything set up, I sat in the dark for about an hour telling myself over and over "It's going to happen this morning." and visualizing it in my head, but as most hunters know it almost never happens that way. At first light I watched a young buck we knew come up over the ridge and work my way. Not long after, Riblet made his way down the open ridge to the other buck about 50 yards from me in the brush. They fed around and sparred for about 10 minutes before four does worked around the tip of the same ridge the bucks did. The last two does got nervous and trotted ahead real low to the ground. Usually that body language means there's a buck pushing them. I no more than finished that thought and this was my view. It was actually him..
Him and the does disappeared out of sight for about 5 minutes in the next small burned cedar draw next to me, but I could still hear them moving around. Finally, the does came flying out of there with Scissorhead hot on their trail as he pushed them past me out of range to the top end of the pocket above me.
As soon as I heard them running around in the top of the pocket I grabbed my bow and got ready to draw as they got closer. The close trail pops out at 15 yards but the only thing you can see is their legs until they get closer and their head comes out from under the branches.
One doe. Two does. Three does. And the highest anticipation I've ever felt as the fourth doe finally stepped out and I knew he was next.
He didn't follow right behind her though. I caught movement coming across the 30-yard trail almost at eye level and it was him. I slowly came to full draw with all 4 does below my tree feeding and he walked out.
With him walking and quartered to I decided not to try stopping him thinking he'd walk right down to the does right in front of me or to the scrape at 10 yards giving me a better opportunity. But instead, he went back up onto a trail that leaves the pocket and he stood there staring at the bucks ahead of him and then back to the does below me. At this point, I was feeling like I messed up.
As the younger buck from earlier stepped into the pocket and towards the does Scissorhead turned on a dime and came straight at me, stopping at 13 yards and staring at them. Still at full draw feeling nervous about which direction he'd turn, it felt like it took forever.
Finally, he turned the perfect direction and walked broadside to me at 12 yards.
With 4 does below me, him at 12 yards, and the younger buck at 15 yards right in front of him, I decided it could be a bad idea to try getting him to stop, so I lead him a little with my pin and pulled the trigger.
He ran off around the side of the pocket and uphill out of sight. 20 seconds later he appeared on the hill in the same place as this morning, stood there for a second, and then trotted down into the top of the small burned cedar draw.
Once he came back into sight he was at about 100 yards and barely made it up the other side of the little draw before bedding in the open just a minute after the shot. As the other deer ran past him he stayed bedded, which made me think he was about to go down any second. Not long after, he got up and slowly walked down into the big burned valley below him on the other side. He didn't look like he would make it much longer. Not seeing him go down in sight let all the what-ifs creep in that almost every hunter has probably had before. Deer are tough creatures and can make it a long ways and live through things that don't seem possible. Although it didn't look like a bad shot to myself and some others I sent pictures of the shot to and we thought he'd be down not far from where I last saw him, I didn't want to risk anything with this deer and decided to wait until the afternoon to look just in case. I was way more nervous than everyone else haha. At 2:30 my cousin Ryan Kinnaman, friend Jacob Nelson with his family and buddy Kyle's dog Rip Heeler, and friend Beau Purviance showed up to help with the recovery. We set up around the edges of the valley he went into in places that we could see him leave if he somehow was still alive. I worked my way up from the bottom slowly with my bow ready. When I was about halfway up I saw a spot that I thought could be him but it was just a dead white log. As I kept going and got to the top of the burn where it got narrow, past where he disappeared with no sign of him I was about to panic. Not much time left before dark to find him and a snow storm coming in the next morning, it wasn't looking good. I checked the same spot that looked like a log and it wasn't him again. Now it was time for Jake to go into the valley with the dog to hopefully catch the scent. As they were doing that, I called our neighbor across the fence to tell him what had happened and ask permission to search part of his with the dog before dark since that was the closest place the buck would've headed. Just after he gave us permission I thought I heard Jake yell "BBD!" from the bottom of the canyon but almost didn't believe it until he yelled again "BBD baby!" while I was still on the phone. To say I went from lowest of low to highest of high in a second would be an understatement. As I was working my way down into the draw through all the dead cedars I realized that the log I stopped and looked at through the trees TWICE was actually the buck. He died belly up in the ditch and all I could see was a patch of white. He ended up being stiff as a board less than 100 yards from where I last saw him and expired right after as well. The 1.8" REK expandable broadhead did its job. All that waiting and worrying for nothing, but better safe than sorry.
Edward Scissorhead is my biggest buck to date and a once-in-a-lifetime class buck for most hunters throughout the country. I couldn't be more thankful to have been able to hunt a deer like this here in Nebraska let alone have it actually work out. For sure the most accomplished feeling I've had as a hunter is patterning and harvesting such a big mature buck with a bow. This is a story and a buck I'll be trying to top for years to come I'm sure and possibly will never do, but that's part of the fun in it. After checking the cell cam, I saw these pictures. The first is Edward walking in just before the shot and the second is him running off on the top right and the glowing nock in the top left.
Also to add to the story, about 10 minutes before jumping him out of his bed before I hung the stand, I found this old shed on the trail. There's no way to tell for sure, but it looks like a pretty close match. The shed looks to be off of a 2.5-year-old buck and looks like it has been lying there for 4 or 5 years, and by my best guess Scissorhead is at least 6.5 years old. I'll never know, but pretty cool to think about.
A big thanks to Ryan, Jake and his family, Beau, and Kyle & Rip for the help with him, couldn't have done it without them. And thanks to everyone else that has helped in any other way, we couldn't do the things we enjoy if it wasn't for the support and teamwork. Always so much support and motivation from friends and family especially chasing these bucks every year. We can't wait to put out the deer episodes from this season, they're going to be good ones. -Garrett Heikes