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.
Nebraska Bow Giant
On Oct. 24, 2007, Jon climbed into the stand. Things were slow, so he grunted a few times. A fawn bleated out in the corn. He pulled out his bleat can and tipped it a couple of times. Here came the buck, walking the corn edge.
The monster was going to miss him, so Jon grunted again. The buck started his way, but stopped about 40 yards on the other side of the trees. The buck then turned to leave and Jon grunted one more time, louder. The buck stopped, ripped a tree, pawed a scrape and peed in it. Jon called and the giant got mad. He stopped urinating in mid-stream, turned and walked straight toward the hunter's stand.
When the animal crossed the tractor path, Jon drew and shot. The arrow was perfect; the buck ran 50 yards back in the timber and nose-dived into the grass. Jon knew he was big, but he was stunned when he pulled the massive rack out of the grass. The 19-pointer officially scored 2215/8 gross and netted 2125/8-the third-largest buck ever killed with a bow in Nebraska.
Lessons Learned: Focus on areas where you find big sheds and see big bucks lounging in the summer. Scout those places, narrow things down, find a pinch point for your stand and shoot a whopper like Jon did. When things are slow, grunt and/or bleat and try to make something happen; in fact, grunt at every buck you see and call hard if you have to turn a buck or bring him closer. It doesn't always work, but if it works just once like it did for Jon, you'll be happy.
The Long G3 Buck
Then David Lindsey got in the game. He got some great footage of the velvet giant last summer, watched it and vowed to hunt the beast all season. The buck was a homebody; all those aforementioned encounters occurred in an 80-acre patch, which is also where the buck dropped all his sheds. David figured that if he hung tough and hunted smartly, he'd have a chance.
Lessons Learned: Many bucks like Long G3 are homeboys who live forever in small areas. Generally the older a homeboy gets, the more his core area shrinks. Hunt smartly there until you get him, like David did. Use trail cameras along with shed hunting and visual sightings to pin down a buck's core area and keep tabs on him.
Living on a farm with tons of prime food and cover, Long G3 put on 37 inches of antler in his third year, and then 15 to 20 inches in subsequent years. Not many hunters will (or should) pass a 182-inch buck like Drury did. But it goes to show that if you plant crops and clover, harvest a good number of does, hunt low pressure and let bucks walk and age you never know how darn big they might grow.