Bing Bryant Buck: 211-Inch Non-Typical Bruiser
December 04, 2014
Being three generations of hunters, fishermen and sportsmen in general, the Bryants of southeastern Saskatchewan have developed a great family legacy in the outdoors. And they've enjoyed special success on mega-bucks, having taken a number of big deer over the years.
When September rolls around, the guys pull out the archery gear and game cameras. It's "go" time. Living in good whitetail country, they've always tended to focus on that species, but in 2013 another opportunity came along. Bowman Bryant, the youngest of the clan, drew a mule deer tag.
On a cold September evening, Bowman and his dad, Darby, were out spot-and-stalk hunting for a trophy to fill that tag. After an unsuccessful hunt, they started the long walk back to the truck. They were close to reaching their destination when all of a sudden Bowman stopped in his tracks.
There it lay: a 100-inch whitetail shed in the grass by an old grain bin! Darby saw him lift it up like the Stanley Cup and rushed over to see the magnificent antler for himself.
That evening, I had the pleasure of viewing that monster right antler, and the Bryant boys quickly changed their tune from muleys to a once-in-a-lifetime whitetail.
Later that week, the guys headed out to the majestic whitetail's area and started placing game cameras in areas they thought the big boy might pass by. The main worry these hunting fanatics had was whether or not the giant had survived one of the area's toughest winters in recent years. After a grueling Saskatchewan winter with heavy snow and wildly cold temperatures, it's never hard to imagine a mature buck might have succumbed to nature and be gone forever. A buck could shed his antlers and still die prior to green-up.
A week went by with no game camera pictures of the giant. Then, in mid-September, the Bryants' farmyard neighbor told them about the huge, drop-tined whitetail he'd seen the night before. The next day the guys took the shed to his house to see if it had any resemblance to the buck he'd seen. The neighbor is a shed fanatic and expert hunter, and upon seeing the antler assured them the deer was still alive.
The Bryants spent hours that week setting up more game cameras and moving to new spots where the deer had been seen. That weekend, the final camera they checked revealed a set of antlers that filled the computer screen. It was him! The buck now had six drop tines and more mass than imaginable.
That weekend, I went over to see the photos of this giant. I couldn't believe what I was looking at. I assured the guys this was a once-in-a-lifetime deer. Nobody understood that better than longtime hunter Bing Bryant, the family patriarch. Owning a family bakery, Darby is accustomed to not getting a lot of sleep — but nothing makes your pillow harder than dreaming about how to outwit a monster whitetail that has six drop tines!
The next week the family put up several stands for muzzleloader season, hoping the non-typical might travel past one of them. They could only hope he'd become a regular at one of their spots. But as moose season started in their home area, other hunters began touring the big buck's home turf. This left the Bryants with only a few pictures over several weeks, and even those had been taken miles apart. This magnificent whitetail was a giant for a reason, and they knew they could just hope to get one chance at him.
It was now only two weeks until opening day of the regular gun season: time to move the cameras to see if they could pattern this giant once and for all. After a week, the Bryants headed out to check their cameras. After going through all of the spots with high expectations, they were disappointed to see photos of but a few does and a handful of small bucks. It left them with little hope of finding what they were looking for.
Then, on one of the last cameras, they discovered pretty good deer activity. Flipping through that card's images, the three hunters suddenly cracked smiles that had been bottled up for a few weeks. There the buck was, in all his glory. He was a regular at this new spot, coming to feed daily and running does past the camera. The chances of harvesting this great whitetail had just increased in a big way.
Of course, the hunters still had to be realistic. This deer had lived as a king for years, all while limiting his profile to one found shed and one known sighting. Even with photos now showing him to be locked in on this new location, shooting him didn't figure to be easy.
The next day, the Bryants set up the blind they'd take turns calling home for rifle season. On every good wind, you could count on one of them being in the blind, awaiting the appearance of mega-mass and drop tines.
A rare east wind on opening day of gun season took the blind out of play, but every day for the next week someone was in it — all without a single sighting of the buck. In fact, there was minimal deer activity of any kind there.
The second weekend of the season, I called the guys to see how things were going. We'd talked about the winter storm that was only a day away and that the big boy might just show himself because of it.
Conditions were perfect as the Bryants set out for their weekend hunts. However, the giant still didn't show. Seeing every deer but him from the blind made the hunters wonder if this king of a buck might be onto them.
When Monday came around, it was time to start the work and school week for Darby and Bowman. Bing, having the afternoon off, decided to slip into the stand and put in some more time.
After a few does came by, all of a sudden the hunter saw what looked like a moving tree coming through the brush. It was the buck — and he was walking right in, only yards from a perfect shooting lane!
Bing, being a veteran hunter, couldn't believe the feeling of buck fever the giant immediately sent through him. As the buck approached the lane, he lowered his nose and took off after a "hot" doe, leaving Bing to watch his tail end fade away into the trees. In his entire hunting career, the eldest Bryant had never known such a feeling.
Ten minutes went by, feeling like a full day in the blind. Bing's stomach was turning circles, and his mind kept replaying what had just walked away. But then it happened: The buck showed himself again! This time, he was coming from a different direction, following the doe and weaving his giant antlers through the snow-covered poplars.
Bing raised his 7mm Rem. Mag. and set his sights on the small shooting window the majestic whitetail was headed for. When the deer's vitals reached the crosshairs, the veteran marksman put a bullet right on target. It felt as if lightning struck as the shot echoed in the crisp evening and the big brute crashed through the frozen trees. All then came silence — except for the sound of Bing's heart pounding in his chest.
After waiting a few minutes, the hunter walked down the trail and came to the magnificent whitetail the family had spent all fall after. Bing then called Darby, along with Bowman, and awaited their arrival so all three hunters could lay their hands on the prize together.
When the Bryants lifted the heavy, dark rack out of the snow, they couldn't have had a better family feeling. They'd achieved what they worked so hard for. All had played a role in harvesting the Bryant buck. After taking some photos with the monster, the hunters returned to the family farm, where we friends were able to lay our own eyes on a truly great Saskatchewan whitetail.
This magnificent buck took the Bryants on a hunting adventure that will stay with their family forever. It's the kind of deer story most can only dream of, but with hard work and determination, three generations of hunters were able to make the fantasy come true.
This tremendous buck ended up measuring 216 2/8 gross inches, with a net of 211 2/8. Now Bing, Darby and Bowman can't wait to get back into their deer stands this season.