We have all had those hunts where it seems like we had someone looking down on us providing us with something a little more spiritual than luck. For Dale this story certainly seems like one of those occasions. I’d like to thank Dale for sharing the story of this giant Minnesota 8 point buck. Enjoy the story

– James

On Monday November the 10th a winter storm warning was in full affect for a good portion of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Up to 18 inches of snow was expected to fall somewhere in the affected area. As I settled in and sat on the cold five gallon bucket, I couldn’t help but think that I made a mistake in passing the nice 11 pointer the night before from this same stand.

As I waited for legal shooting time, I replayed the events of yesterday evening. A hot doe was in my area and I was covered up in bucks. I saw breeding, heard grunting, and saw chasing. A half hour after I first spotted the doe and the buck that mounted her, the two made their way past my stand at eight yards. I glassed constantly through the thick brush but this was the first really good look I was getting of him. He had tall G2’s and his rack was outside his ears. A flyer came off of his right G2 making him an eleven pointer. For whatever reason, I passed on the shot and watched the two saunter past heading towards the cabin. Maybe it was the weak G3’s and G4’s or maybe it was a bit too spindly. He appeared to be a young deer. I am not sure why but I did not shoot.

Nevertheless the show that took place after this was well worth the pass. Buck after buck materialized around the two. A busted 10 point and busted 8 shadowed the two. A fork horn just 15 yards away watched me as I glassed the group. I wasn’t too concerned about the fork horn giving me away as I could see the lust in his bulging eyes. He gave me 20 seconds and joined in the chase. Several does that joined the pair were now being chased by the nondominant bucks. With five minutes of legal shooting time remaining an eight point with a snow white rack raced by at 10 yards trying to catch up to the party.

If you have never experienced a hot doe near your stand you are in for a treat when it happens. It is magical and something you will never forget.

I thought about Grandma’s (motherinlaw’s) funeral on the opener and how it was probably the only Minnesota deer opener I missed in 37 years of deer hunting. My Wisconsin archery hunt was also cancelled due to her untimely passing. Skipping the Wisconsin hunt and the Minnesota opener was the right thing to do as family comes first. My wife and daughters needed me and I needed to be there for grandma.

The wind had shifted from the west to the northeast blowing my scent in the area where most of the action took place the day before. This was good as I expected the deer would be feeding at night in a picked corn field to my north east. The field was just picked the day before and somehow deer have an uncanny ability of finding a freshly picked corn field. I swiveled my bucket, faced into the wind and readied my gun. A light sleet pelted my face as legal time was at hand.

As soon as the time was right, I pulled out my rattle bag and lightly clanked the sticks together. I let out a couple of bleats and four grunts. Mature bucks are different creatures and proceed with caution. Unlike a year and a half old buck, mature bucks take their time surveying the land. They normally don’t race in and experience has taught me to be ready.

Several minutes passed and something caught my eye to the east. I slowly pulled up my binoculars and glassed the down falls. A fox squirrel ran along the ground foraging for nuts. Dismissing the movement, I continued to glass the rest of the area looking for any sign of deer.

Fifteen minutes later I pulled out my bleat call and let out another series of bleats and grunts.

It still amazes me how deer can appear out of nowhere. Straight to the east directly in front of the blow downs I glassed earlier, stood a majestic looking buck. The buck was looking my direction, not at me, but directly under my stand. At 70 yards I could tell this deer met the 4 point antler restriction in place for Southeastern Minnesota. Slowly raising my binoculars, I now could see what a beautiful 8 point rack he carried.

The buck started walking my direction and I immediately replaced the binoculars with my gun.

As the deer approached my stand I could see the nice tall tines and see the symmetry of his rack. Now at 25 yards the buck turned broadside to me in the wide open. I already had the crosshairs on him but wanted to look at the rack one more time to be sure he was big enough. It seemed surreal that this big 8 was right there. I thought what a great bow shot this would make. With the buck starting to walk away I mouth grunted at him softly and he stopped, turned around and looked back at my stand. The big buck dumped to the ground at the shot and kicked himself another five yards closer to me.

Beautiful symmetry on this big 8pt
Beautiful symmetry on this big 8pt

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was in stand for one hour and my season was done. I hunted a total of one day and one hour. There was no tracking job to do. He was right there.

The big eight grosses 140” and has only 1-3/8” of deductions. And I just want to end by saying, “Grandma, this buck’s for you”.

Dale with his trophy
Dale with his trophy

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