Hunter takes down a 181-gross buck on quiet Mills County tract

Every deer season is the best ever for some lucky hunter. In November 2014, it was David Podany’s turn. Podany shot a Boone and Crockett record-quality buck on a 150-acre Mills County lease that he shares with three friends.

The 12-pointer was the second deer that Podany had seen on the property since archery season 2013.

“There’s not much cover on the place, and we’re convinced that deer do not live there,” Podany said. “It’s not uncommon for all four of us to be hunting on a weekend and nobody will even see a deer.”

Podany, 63, lives in Cedar Hill. He’s been deer hunting since he was 12 and hunted for more than 20 years on a well-managed ranch. His biggest buck before 2014 was a 160-gross B&C nontypical with a lot of points.

“Nowadays, I’m just having fun, hanging out with hunting buddies and giving our wives a break,” Podany said. “We have deer feeders and one game trail camera, but the corn sometimes piles up under the feeders by the hundreds of pounds because there are no deer to eat it.”

The hunters were shocked to see the September nighttime game trail photo of a giant buck at a feeder. One of the lease members, Austin Bryan, registered all his friends for the big-buck contest at the Mills County General Store.

Podany was in the right place at the right time on the afternoon of Nov. 21. They call the spot “no deer valley.” As usual, it was living up to its nickname. The hunter had not seen a deer. He passed the time receiving and making business-related phone calls.

Now it was getting late, and Podany noticed a deer jumping the fence and coming into the pasture. It looked like a good buck, so he took the first shot he had and dropped the buck in its tracks.

“It was getting kind of late, and I got down from the stand and started walking toward the deer,” Podany said. “When I got about 70 yards away, I looked through my binoculars just to make sure the buck was dead. It looked very big through the binoculars.

“It was only after I got my hands on the buck that I realized I’d shot the deer from the game camera photos. I was so excited, I felt like a kid. I called my wife and was close to being hysterical. My wife thought I’d hurt myself, again.”

The buck drew a crowd the next day at the general store where Ginger McCoy is an official scorer for the Texas Big Game Awards.

She measured the buck at 181 gross, 1733/8 net B&C points. The buck will probably qualify for the B&C all-time record book, which requires a minimum net score of 170 points. It could be the best free-ranging typical whitetail ever reported from Mills County. McCoy’s husband, Rodney, feeds cattle on a small adjacent property and had found a set of shed antlers he believes came from Podany’s buck two years before.

The question is how a native free-ranging buck living in an area dominated by small properties got that big. Multiple people closely examined the deer and found no evidence of tattoos or any indication that there was ever an ear tag that might indicate a nonnative buck.

“One of the hunters who saw the buck when it was being scored said, ‘You guys must be feeding the deer a lot of protein,’” Podany said. “I just laughed and told him that most of the time our feeders don’t even work.”