Rack Magazine

Pleasantly Surprised

Pleasantly Surprised

By Mike Handley

Indiana bowyer can thank a tree for blocking his shot at the world’s largest forkhorn.

It’s a pretty safe bet that he wasn’t thinking about deer hunters when George Will, the Pulitzer-winning newspaper and magazine columnist, once said “The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.”

Dave Shedron, a 61-year-old volunteer firefighter and bowyer in Walton, Ind., won’t argue with that.

So convinced last season that the buck at the top of his Most Wanted list was seconds away from slinking — or streaking — out of his life, Dave ignored the don’t-look-at-the-rack rule and gawked.

“I was so sure my hunt was done, that I began counting points for my big-one-that-got-away story,” he laughed.

But the story didn’t end the way Dave thought it would. And skewering a state-record buck wasn’t the only plot twist.

He knew the 60 acres he hunts in Carroll County held promise in 2013. He’d collected trail camera photographs of two fabulous whitetails in the creek bottom between corn and bean fields.

The larger of the pair was a 15-pointer; the other was a clean, at least 22-inch-wide 5x5.

On Oct. 29, Dave’s friend, Guy Klegstad, and his wife, drove over from Minnesota for their annual three- to five-day bowhunt.

On Nov. 3, Guy went to his spot, and Dave dropped off Guy’s wife before continuing on to a ladder stand in the timber flanking a standing cornfield. The trail cam photos had been taken nearer a bean field, which was about 100 yards away, but the deer there usually switch to corn when the beans turn brown.

Dave’s 12-foot ladder was at the top of a hill that sloped down into the creek bottom. He’d been there about an hour and a half when he heard and then saw a massive 4-pointer jump a nearby fence on its way closer.

“I thought, I’m going to kill him,” Dave said. “It was the biggest 4-pointer I’d ever seen.”

The buck came up the hill to within 15 yards and stopped abruptly — behind a tree, of course. The wind might not have been blowing, but the deer was getting a noseful of something offensive.

While waiting for the buck to take a step or two into the open, Dave glanced back down into the bottom, saw the bigger of the two trail cam bucks at between 30 and 40 yards, and then promptly fell out of love with the beefy forkhorn.

“I came within 10 seconds of shooting the wrong deer,” he said.

Afraid the 4-pointer might bust him and ruin his shot at either, Dave looked back to confirm his worst fear.

Rather than blast out of there, however, the 2x2 began walking away from him.

The big buck saw this and started up the same trail. Not surprisingly, it also got a whiff of Dave and stopped.

Dave was certain the deer was one tail-flick away from being in another zip code, but, like the forkhorn, it simply turned and began easing back the way it had come.

“It was sneaking back down the hill,” Dave said. “When I mouth-grunted, the deer stopped (at a later-ranged 24 yards), and I released. Afterward, it ran through a high-tensile fence and down into the creek bottom. I heard some thrashing down there, for a while.”

Pleasantly SurprisedHe hoped it was death throes.

“The buck took off so fast, I didn’t know where I hit it. All I knew was that (the impact) sounded right,” he admitted, which is what he told Guy when he called him moments later.

While waiting for his friend, Dave scoured the area where the deer had taken the arrow. There was no blood, no hair and no arrow, which bothered him.

When Guy got there, they eventually found the rearmost 10 inches of arrow. From there, they followed a sparse blood trail to the dead deer, which had run into and entangled its rack in a copse of ash saplings.

Perfectly centerpunched, it had run 75 yards after the shot.

Dave was gobsmacked when he saw the antlers up close. What did I just do? he wondered.

After hugging and celebrating, the guys went back to the house to get the four-wheeler. They scored the rack that night at around 182 inches (missing about 6).

“Everything has to fall into place to get a deer like this, and it did,” Dave said. “I’m not super religious or anything. I’m a Lutheran. But all that comes to my mind is that I was blessed.”

Dave began hunting with a recurve, an old Ben Pearson model, when he was 16 years old, and he got his first buck with it the next year. He’s since arrowed between 75 and 100 whitetails.

“I don’t see hunting with one as a disadvantage,” he smiles. “But I’m not a purist or anything. Lots of close friends shoot compounds. And I don’t make my own shafts, though I fletch them myself. I shoot Easton carbon arrows.”

He began building his own bows in the mid-1990s, mostly out of necessity, since buying a new one was beyond his budget. He’s been building them ever since, and he now owns Birdsong Archery.

This deer, by far, is his career-best.

“You know how some deer get smaller the next day?” he asks. “Well, not this one. The day after I shot it, I walked in the room and thought, Wow, he’s still big!”                             

Hunter: David Shedron
BTR Score: 188 3/8
Recurve Bow

– Photos Courtesy Dave Shedron

This article was published in the September 2014 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.

Read Recent RACK Articles:

But He Got His Buck: Here’s yet more proof that the coolest gift for a deer hunter would be an INSTANT REPLAY button.

The Deer in the River: Ask not for whom the buck swims. It swims for thee.

No. 1501: After pining for time to go hunting, this Ohio man was only too happy to end his season the first time he climbed into a stand.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd