Cory Johnston and his brother, Chris, take their deer hunting seriously, as do most near their Canadian homes just north of Lake Ontario. So Cory was thrilled after taking a buck that was the talk of the area.
Cory’s post of the 8 1/2-year-old deer the Johnstons have been tracking almost half its life simply started with, “The legend has fallen.” He said finally bringing down “The Big 9” was bittersweet, mixing his sense of pride with knowing the interesting pursuit was over.
“I got it on camera the first time four years ago,” Cory said. “I felt it was a pretty young deer and didn’t really want to kill it. I didn’t shoot it. After that it just kept getting bigger and bigger.
“We’ve hunted it for four years and only ever seen it three times. One time I had him at 80 yards, but I just couldn’t get a real good shot and let him go. This year he walked by at 60 yards, 10 minutes after legal light, and that was that.”
The Johnston brothers are coming off a successful first year on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Both were in the hunt to win several tournaments and vied for the Toyota Angler of the Year title. Cory was at Power-Pole meetings when the Canadian firearm season started, giving Chris a head start, yet Chris was happy the deer stayed in the family.
“It didn’t matter if it was me or him that killed. It was just one of those deer we wanted bad,” Cory said. “It wasn’t a 180-inch deer, but he was just one of those ones that was super special. You’ve put so much time and effort into to figuring out where he is, where he’s going. And we followed him for four years.”
It was somewhat of a miracle the buck even made it to Cory’s stand that morning. It was a hotly pursued deer known to by most in the area. The Johnstons own a decent amount of land and have permission to hunt about 1,000 acres in the region, mostly spread on 100-acre farms. Cory said there’s a lot of agriculture, tree lines, small bush lots and, most concerning, a lot of highways.