By Bernard Yantz
-- For 32 years, I had been looking for a white-tailed buck of this caliber.
The day I found him, it was 18 degrees, the morning wind had kicked up, and I was freezing. The usual knobbed bucks and does had left the feeder I was watching. I was thinking real hard about going for hot coffee, but said to myself, “Give it five more minutes.”
Two minutes later, I heard a loud crack to my right and downwind. I looked over and saw antlers coming. The deer was at least 100 yards distant. “Thank you for letting me see you,” I said in a quiet voice.
When the buck kept walking south toward my feeder, I thought, “I might get a shot at this big guy.”
He walked up to the feeder, turned and came straight toward me. What a brute! No doubt, he was king of the Saint Joseph Island, Ontario forest.
Twenty yards, 15 yards, 10 yards — the distance shrank. I drew my 70-pound-pull Browning bow when the buck’s head was behind a maple tree.
The buck stepped into full view again, turned quickly and continued toward me.
Now the buck was 5 yards from the base of my ladder stand. I was 15 feet above him, looking down my sights and contemplating shooting between his shoulder blades. Thinking it would not be wise, I held.
The buck stared at my scent dispenser, and then looked straight up at me. When he turned very quickly to run, I let the arrow fly at his shoulder area.
Whack! The muzzy broadhead passed through his shoulder blade and penetrated one lung. The buck fled, stopping about 80 yards away in thick brush.
I called my pal Paavo Pollari and nephew Larry Robinson to help me find the great stag. The plan was to meet me at 12:30 and commence tracking.
My wife, Elizabeth and daughter Kaitlyn joined the tracking party. Paavo’s children were not big enough for this endeavor, which doomed Elizabeth to monitor the radio for action updates.
It was not an easy search, but we recovered the buck several hours later.
My neighbor, who scores for Pope and Young, said the whitetail would easily make the archery record book with a score of 130. But after the mandatory drying period, the buck scored 123 1/8, just short of the Pope & Young minimum.
What an adventure, and oh, man, what a trophy!