"The scope was set on 9X, and I was having a hard time locating the buck in it," Adkins recalled. "About the time I got a decent sight picture, the doe spotted me and bolted. The buck twitched, and I knew I couldn't wait any longer. I saw the white patch on his neck, put the crosshairs on it and pulled the trigger."
The buck went down.
"I got pretty excited," Adkins said. "I had an awful time trying to climb down from my tree stand. I had forgotten my safety harness, so I had improvised one from my drag rope before I climbed up. Well, when I went to climb down I was all tangled up in rope. I was a mess."
Adkins' brother, Seth, came over from his hunting spot to investigate. He got to the buck before Jonah did.
"Seth said, 'Oh my God, it's huge!' I said, 'I thought he was pretty good.' And he said, 'No, man, it's huge!'"
The fallen buck had a tall, wide 12-point rack - a 10-point frame with two "kicker" points.
"We high-fived and took pictures for a few minutes, and then Seth said, 'Good luck gutting it. I'm going hunting.' And he took off," Adkins said.
The buck created a stir when Adkins pulled into the parking lot at the game-checking station in West Hamlin.
"We had several people stop and take a gander at it," he said. "Later, when it was at the taxidermist's, people who had heard about it dropped in there to check out the rack."
At the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show in Charleston, a Division of Natural Resources scorer measured the rack at 175 gross inches, with a net score of 163 1/8. The score easily qualified for entry into the state's Big Buck Contest, and earned Adkins the award for the year's largest gun-killed whitetail.
Adkins acknowledged that the award was nice, but he added that he was more proud that it was what he called a "completely legitimate trophy."
"One of the most rewarding things about that buck was that I went into the woods with no idea it was there," he said. "It wasn't lured with bait, and it hadn't been fed any [game food plot] supplements to grow those big antlers."
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.