After some close calls, Nathan Elzey, of Cumming, finally was able to get a shot at “Frying Pan,” an 11-point Taylor County buck, on Oct. 29 during the second week of gun season.
The tall-tined buck earned the nickname Frying Pan during the early part of archery season when Nathan laid eyes on the deer for the first time while hunting with his 11-year-old son, Mason. He said Frying Pan seemed to fit because when he first saw the deer, it was like getting hit in the face with a frying pan. The almost 160-inch buck has one tine that measures almost 14 inches long.
“It was a big shock to us when he came out because that’s the first time we knew he existed. We had no pictures, and we hadn’t seen him before,” Nathan said.
From the first time they saw the giant buck, Nathan and Mason were on a mission to exclusively hunt that deer.
“There is a 100-acre soybean field adjacent to us, so in the evening the deer will cross the powerline going to the beans for the night. In the morning, they will come back across and bed behind us in our pines,” Nathan said.
Nathan and Mason hunted from a box stand on the powerline. They were able to get a video of the buck along with another nice buck.
“The first time we saw him was the third weekend at bow season, but he was too far away, and we saw him the fourth weekend of bow season, which is where the video was filmed,” said Nathan. “Someone asked me if I could do any better filming, and I said, ‘You get out there and try to film a deer like that.’”
The plan was for Mason to kill Frying Pan. His opportunity came during the state’s muzzleloader week, which is also when youth 15 and younger can deer hunt with centerfire rifles. Frying Pan showed up in the powerline 120 yards away.
“My son tried to shoot him, but he was too nervous, and we didn’t want to take a shot because we were scared we’d lose it,” said Nathan. “He was just too nervous. I could hear him breathing and see the gun moving, and he knew better because we didn’t want to scare the deer off. When it was all over, I thought, man I can’t believe he didn’t shoot it, but when it came my time to shoot I was just about as bad as he was. I thought, I could handle it a lot better, but it was tougher than I thought.”
Nathan said Mason has killed several deer but nothing in the ballpark of Frying Pan. Nathan wanted Mason to be the one to take the deer, but he figured he better be the one to try it since Mason was so shook up.
“After he had his chance at it, I started talking him into letting me have a chance,” said Nathan. “I would have liked for him to take the deer, but when that episode happened and he got so nervous, I knew I better start talking him out of trying to shoot it.”
Nathan said the 11-pointer would always come out following a 10-pointer. This is exactly what happened on the afternoon of Oct. 29.
“Once the 10-pointer came out across the powerline, we hoped he would be there like he had been prior to this hunt, and he was,” said Nathan. “When he got to the spot where he stops to look down the powerline, Mason said, ‘Kill him,’ and the rest is history.”
Nathan’s 120-yard shot connected.
“I will admit it was not easy to stay composed for the shot,” said Nathan.
They were able to come up with a gross score of 158 inches. Nathan said the buck is fairly symmetrical, and he thinks there should only be 4 to 6 inches of side-to-side deductions.
“It’s got one tine that’s right around 13 7/8, almost 14 inches,” said Nathan.
Nathan mentioned that the drought had affected how the deer were moving during daylight hours in order to satisfy their need for water.
“The property I hunted doesn’t have any water on it, and the day I killed the deer it was about 89 degrees. I figured the deer were laying around and waiting to go out and feed at dark,” said Nathan. “They were having to travel to the property next door to a swamp.”
Nathan said he thinks it was a thirst for water that kept driving the buck to get up in the daylight hours. It was the fourth time he had seen him in the daylight.
“He came out in daylight a lot, which is unusual for a deer like that,” Nathan said. “We knew he was there, and we just stayed in the same stand and tried not to bump him, and it all worked out for us this time.”
Nathan figures the 10-pointer that was running with Frying Pan will score 145 to 150 inches, but he hasn’t seen him since.
“I don’t know what happened to him. They were running together in the beginning, and then I don’t know what happened with that deer,” Nathan said.
Nathan said him and Mason made memories with this deer that they will never forget.
“It was a lot of fun. We hunt a lot, and this has been the funnest experience we’ve had for a certain deer,” said Nathan.
If you have a picture of a deer you’ve killed, GON would like to see it. E-mail your picture and full caption info (name and hometown, county, and details on the buck) to letters @gon.com.