Three or four minutes after a spike crossed the ridge he was watching, Logan Sewell saw a much bigger whitetail approaching and lifted his binoculars.
One quick glance, and the 16-year-old hunter knew he was going to shoot the deer. He saw only a couple of tines, but both were more than a foot long. And those 24 inches were backed up by lots more.
The teenager immediately reached for the muzzleloader lying on the ground beside him.
Seeing such an enormous whitetail in the flesh was a new experience for Logan, though he’s seen bigger on the family walls. His late grandfather, for whom he’s named, had the world-record shotgun buck (taken in 1947 by Joseph Shields) hanging above his mantle in Vidalia, La. His grandmother has a buck in the record books, and his father, Joe, has four, among several others that have yet to be measured.
In fact, had this deer come 10 yards closer a couple of weeks earlier, Joe’s name might be associated with it.
Joe was hunting the same 440 acres when he saw it, but two-thirds of a mile from where Logan encountered the buck three days into Illinois’ first firearms season. Instead of going to his bow stand that day, Joe stopped short and went into an old barn.
“That buck was the first deer I saw that evening,” he remembers. “It and a doe passed between 30 and 35 yards of the tree with my stand in it, and then they disappeared. They came back right at dark and, that time, walked within 12 yards of the tree.”
The duo eventually were just 40 yards from Joe’s vantage point in the barn, but he chose not to take the shot.
Logan accompanied his father during the firearms hunt. The first couple of days weren’t so good for the Sewells’ setups. The wind was wrong. On the third day, Nov. 20, conditions were perfect.
It was a quiet morning with only a slight breeze. Logan took his time approaching the ridge he wanted to hunt because the leaves were dry. Every time he took a step, it sounded as if he were planting his boot atop a bag of potato chips.
The ridge was on the far side of a bottomland food plot. After crossing the field, he hiked about 100 yards into the trees before clearing a spot beside one and sitting down to wait and watch. Joe was hunting somewhere beyond the ridge.
About 10 minutes later, a spike approached to within 80 yards. Three or four minutes after that, Logan saw something else moving in the distance and picked up his binoculars. A second later, he was holding his muzzleloader and looking for his opportunity to put fire in the hole.
“It was walking too fast, coming uphill,” Logan said. “For a minute there, I was worried I wouldn’t get a shot.”
By the time the buck slowed, it was quartering away from the wide-eyed hunter. The bullet struck it behind the rearmost rib and angled in to destroy the 235-pounder’s vitals. It might have run 30 yards before stopping and looking back, while Logan frantically reloaded his muzzleloader. When it resumed walking, it took five steps toward Logan before collapsing.
Logan watched the deer for about 30 minutes before going to the animal. He approached it from the rear and poked it, and nothing happened.
“That’s when it really hit me,” he said. “I couldn’t believe I’d just shot such a monster.”
Logan couldn’t get cell phone reception where the deer fell, so he ran to the top of the hill and began calling people. Afterward, he drove around and found his father, who made him wait an hour before returning to the deer.
Joe had heard the blam, but the echo made it difficult to pinpoint the origin. He hoped it was Logan because he knew if his son shot, it was probably at a great deer. All the landowners in the area are picky when it comes to tying a tag on antlers, and so the resident bucks live to ripe ages.
“All the neighbors pass up 150s,” Joe said.
Logan, a student at Trinity High School in Natchez, Miss., who looks like he could be a slam-dunker on the court, is a diehard deer hunter.
“He gave up basketball because it interfered with deer hunting,” Joe laughed.
Hunter: Logan Sewell
BTR Official Score: 188 4/8
BTR Composite Score: 205 6/8
— Photo Courtesy of Logan Sewell This article was published in the November 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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