Minnesota Bow Buck, 156″
The 2013 season was a tough one for me. Not tough in regards to harvesting deer, but my schedule didn’t allow for me to get in the woods near as much as I would have liked. I was very fortunate to take a nice doe during my first sit of the season on September 15. Between that day and November 6 I was only able to hunt four more times. One of those times being an awesome hunting trip to Wisconsin with the rest of the Suburban Standout Outdoors pro staff team.
However back in Minnesota, I found myself hunting a cold and rainy day on October 20. Due to my limited opportunities I decided to take a gamble and push a little bit on my best rut stand. I figured with a good wind and the damp ground to soak up my scent, the pressure would be minimal. Sure enough I ended up spotting a buck that I had never seen before. A buck who came very close to getting an arrow through the ribcage that morning, and a buck I would see alive only one more time.
We got trail camera pictures of him (now named Slingshot by my dad) on November 3. I had a hunt planned for the 6th and things were shaping up nicely. A huge front with lots of moisture was moving through the Midwest. Thankfully, it cooled down enough for the moisture to accumulate into snow, that beautiful white stuff which makes tracking and seeing deer exponentially easier.
With the huge front blowing through, and the rut just kicking in, I had a feeling the big bucks were going to be on their feet. We went in planning to sit all day. I had three bucks in mind, with Slingshot atop my list. Before I got into my stand I put some doe estrus scent at the base of my tree, hoping one of those three big boys would catch a whiff of it in the northwest breeze.
It was about 7 o’clock when I saw Slingshot cruising through the woods about 150 yards away. I’m confident I never would have seen him without the snow. I could tell he was moving parallel to me, so I grabbed my grunt tube and blew three loud aggressive grunts at him. He stopped and threw up his head but kept moving when he couldn’t see any deer. He was out looking for does, and without competition he could immediately see he wasn’t straying from his mission.
What Slingshot did next is pure speculation on my part, but I have to think it’s pretty accurate considering the circumstances. When he got down-wind of me he caught a whiff of that estrus. With the grunts still fresh in his memory he couldn’t resist the temptation to go and check out the situation.
I saw him when he stepped out into the opening of the power line. From the time I saw him to the time I touched off my release was a grand total of about 5 seconds. When he stepped into my lane I was at full draw. My arrow found its mark and he crashed off into the woods. 20 seconds later I heard him topple over.
My Dad quit his morning hunt to come help me find and deal with my biggest buck. I’m glad he did, because I can’t think of another person I’d rather share the moment with. Plus, I really needed the help. Hunting bluff country in SE Minnesota offers great opportunities at big bucks, but also makes for some daunting drags. Two hours later we got to the truck tired, sore, and very happy.
I green scored Slingshot later that day at 156 gross, which makes him my biggest buck by roughly 10 inches. At 190 pounds, dressed, he also had 15 pounds on any other buck I’ve shot. To say it was the best morning of my hunting career would be an understatement. A morning when it all comes together is what I live for as a bow hunter, and to share that moment with my favorite hunting partner was just the icing on the cake.