Our property is just 35 miles west of Milwaukee and its getting pretty built up. We have planted some clover, soy beans and have some hardwoods plus lots of swamp. Its about 250 acres altogether. We've been trying to practice Quality Management for about 5 years.
We have been seeing some really big bucks on our land the last few seasons. We had a road kill last fall that would have been in the Wisconsin's all time top 100 (and you know Wisconsin has some world class bucks!). I've missed enough of them personally to know they are out there. I was after a pretty specific deer. We found his last sheds and they rough scored 157.
Anyway, because I know they are out there, I'd been hunting really hard. It was early October, still a bit before the rut. The bucks are easier to pattern then, if you don't spook them too much. On Friday night, the 10th, just before dark I saw him going into the clover. He was about 150 yards away, coming out of the thick. He was heading away and didn't pick me up. I thought if I could move my stand to the corner of the clover field I could get him just as he came out of the swamp.
So Saturday morning, the 11th, I hung one of my portables at the edge of the field and the thick. I setup early in the afternoon to make sure I was way ahead of him. I was using a relatively new setup. Going high tech just a year or two ago and switching to a release, I added a new Darton Cyclone bow drawing 70lbs. I matched that with 100 grain Wasp Thunderheads (expandable broadheads) on beautiful Gold Tip graphite arrows.
Just a bit after 6:00pm I heard something big coming through the thick. Quite a bit of noise and commotion. I got ready, raised my Darton... but it turned out to be two does and a spike. About 6:15 I heard more noise. I could hear him coming from 50 yards away. Seven more steps and he would be in the shooting lane. Then he stepped out. Man! What a rack! He was only 8 yards away. I was already standing at full draw (I don't sit still till the last minute like most of my friends). I focused on his massive chest not looking at those horns and let the arrow fly. It was a solid hit, but with a buck this size I knew he could travel for quite a while. He headed back into the thick, this was going to be tough.
It was 6:20 and getting dark fast. After waiting what seemed like forever, I climbed down and checked the for sign. I Saw enough to be hopeful then headed home to call for friends. We got back to the stand in total darkness. With our lanterns, we poked our way into the marsh. I've gotten lost out here after dark so the going was slow. The trail was massive, this deer was not going to suffer long, nevertheless, he could still cover a lot of ground. He cut back out of the thick and headed into the sod farm. Suddenly Mark my neighbor and good friend shouted, "found him". "Do you mean we will find him?" "No, look over there in the field." Mark was pointing east and I spotted one side of his rack sticking up over the long grass.
This was a hunt of a lifetime for me. I thanked the Lord that he had given me this great buck. He rough scored at 170, easily making Pope & Young. I've harvested a lot of deer, but this was something special. Next year I'll be after his bigger brother (which I've since seen a few times).