These obsessed whitetail hunters like you hit the woods, beat the odds and shot dream bucks last season. Add the racks together and you come up with an amazing 1,191 total inches of bone! Here are their stories, along with some takeaway lessons that we hope will help you tag a monster this season.
Manitoba Velvet Monster
He waited 20 minutes and saw a doe ... then a buck. The 3x3? No, bigger! The animal ghosted from the willows without a sound, walking slowly, very much at ease. Its coat shone summer red; its rack was dark, shiny and so huge it was unimaginable.
The giant walked 10 yards below Colin's stand and stopped broadside. The kid aimed and let the arrow go.
Thwack! The animal lunged forward and ran away low and hard.
The deer went all of 80 yards and died 100 yards from the house. Colin shivered as he stared at the monster lying in the grass.
Albert came home without a buck, but he was as happy and proud as a father could be.
The rack had 18 points, long beams, killer brows and good mass throughout. Albert, a taxidermist, mounted the buck as Colin had seen it that summer afternoon, in full velvet. Once the water had dried from the velvet, the rack scored 199 inches non-typical. From my research I am convinced this is the largest wild buck ever shot by a 15-year-old bowhunter in North America.
Lessons Learned: You don't always have to drive an hour or two (and burn up $4 gas) to shoot a big deer. A monster might be living under your nose. Investigate and hunt some of those 50- to 100-acre pockets of prime habitat near home. Albert notes that neither he nor Colin nor any of their neighbors had ever seen the titan before. You never know when or where a big buck will show, so stay on your toes and expect the unexpected. If you don't have a lot of experience, no sweat, just hunt. When you see a big deer, stay as calm as you can, rely on your instincts and react like Colin did.
Lessons Learned: Watch the deer movement every day, think, size up the situation and move your setup a few hundred yards if you have to so that you get in on the action the next day, like Lisa did. You don't need 400 acres or more to manage for big deer. Lisa shot those bucks on the 80 acres where she and Jeff have 3 acres of beans and corn, and three smaller green plots. Jeff built a pond in the middle of the property, where they also established a 10-acre no-hunting refuge.
Jeff and Lisa pass young bucks and hunt low-pressure. Their first rule: If you're not going to spend $600 to mount the buck, it's too small. They stay out of the buck refuge. "All these things make a huge difference," Jeff told us. "Our 80 acres are part of my dad's original farm of 520 acres. Lisa's last two gun kills are the largest bucks ever taken off those 520 acres since my Dad took it over in the 1950s."