By now most everyone is aware of the 26-point buck that was poached in Coshocton County on November 7 th, 2018 by Junior Troyer a local Amish man. If you are like us anytime there is a 229" buck killed on your home turf you want to know the details! Turns out Tory Hardesty had been hunting the buck for the past several years and was a wealth of information!
Tory who had nicknamed the buck “Hay Rake” had the buck at 40 yards a few days earlier on October 25 th and needed him to take 3 more steps to clear some brush for a clean shot. He hit the trail where Tory walked in and just turned and walked away much to his dismay.
Tory had a small group of friends who were aware of the buck and as a group they would keep each other informed of sightings, trail cam pics and anything else to do with the Hay Rake. One of the friends would search Facebook each day since he realized a buck of this caliber would be big news.
2017 Trail Cam Picture of Hay Rake
On the morning of November 10 th Tory got the news he did not want to hear. His friend from Columbus called him to tell him there was a picture on Facebook of the buck. A local taxidermist had posted the picture holding the rack of none other than Hay Rake!.
Tory immediately called the taxidermist to ask details and find out if he could stop by to see the antlers. Tory said the taxidermist was very evasive and expressed concern over the antlers being stolen and stated that he had them in a vault. Tory continued to press and finally the taxidermist told him an Amish hunter had shot the buck and asked him to do a European mount and did not want the deer scored. Finding this very odd Tory pressed even harder and finally got him to agree to allow Tory to stop by several days later to see the antlers. However, when the time came the taxidermist called to cancel and said he had to reschedule. On their next scheduled date, the taxidermist called Tory at 10am to cancel stating that he had to take his children to the movies. Tory tried contacting the taxidermist again, but he was now being ignored.
In the meantime, the taxidermist contacted a local deer scorer to score the deer. The person who did the scoring contacted Tory’s cousin Todd Hardesty and told him there was absolutely something not right about the buck he just scored. He said he had been told 3 different stories as he was scoring the buck.
At this point one of Tory's friends decided to contact a game warden and ask him to check the Coshocton County records to see if anyone had checked in a 26 pointer. The answer was “no”, so Tory's friend suggested checking Tuscarawas county since the county line was near the property. There was no hit for Tuscarawas county either but on a hunch the game warden checked Holmes County and sure enough a 26 pointer had been checked in.
Realizing that the buck could not have been shot in Holmes County the Game Warden paid Junior Troyer a visit. Junior totally denied any wrong doing but the Game Warden wasn’t buying it.
After pressing Junior, he finally admitted to shooting a 130” eight pointer the morning of November 7 th. He then went out to hunt that evening and had Hay Rake walk by him. Junior let greed set in and shot the buck. He decapitated both bucks taking the body of the 8 pointer and the head of the 26 pointer as one buck and tagged it in. The next morning, he returned and took the headless body of the 26 pointer and checked it in as a doe. In the meantime, he took the head of the 8 pointer and threw it in a ditch which law enforcement later recovered.
Some amazing facts about the buck are that he was shot on camera last year, but the arrow hit low and the buck recovered. Tory and friends will be putting the video out at a later date. In addition, the ODNR aged the buck at only 4.5 years old. Tory stated that the buck had no pattern and no core area which made him very difficult to hunt.
The amount of exposure a buck of this quality brings to an area is amazing. Even though Tory and his friends had kept quiet word was out in the neighborhood about Hay Rake. Tory says he had about $700 in trail cams stolen off his property this year alone.
It is sad to know that this buck will hang in the offices of the ODNR and could not have been harvested legally by an ethical hunter. He was front page North American Whitetail material. Instead because of the greed of one man the story of Hay Rake comes to a sad end.
Win a $500 Gift Card by Correctly guessing Ohio Deer Harvest CLICK HERE
In case you missed our first Article Regarding Hay Rake CLICK HERE