December 31, 2023
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Brent Wiesenburger manages 600 acres of property in South Dakota in exchange for deer hunting privileges. The property is a mixture of CRP, cedars and spruce trees. This summer, a unique buck showed up on one of Brent’s trail cameras. Even with minimal antler growth at the time, it was obvious that this buck was unique. The buck’s left antler eventually grew out into a huge mass of thick, palmated bone, sporting only a brow tine and a G2.
Having killed several nice bucks in the past, Brent focused all his attention on killing this incredible buck. Focused may be an understatement when it comes to describing Brent’s effort to harvest this deer. With over 200 hundred hours logged of scouting and prep time, as well as more than 4,000 miles covered on his truck, he was determined to put this buck on the ground.
Brent hoped to kill the buck with his bow, and he almost got that chance on the last evening of the archery season. The buck had been traveling a particular fence line with frequency. So, Brent opted to set up along this travel route with a decoy. Unfortunately, the buck later appeared 300 yards away at a water dugout, right in front of a blind Brent placed that day for the upcoming rifle season.
On Saturday Nov. 18, Brent drove to his spot well before daylight. He wanted to be in position with plenty of extra time before shooting light arrived. It was a good thing, too, because disaster nearly took place.
Brent had dressed relatively light, planning to rely on his propane heater for warmth. When we went to light the heater, the propane tank made a hissing noise and wouldn’t light. He turned it off for a few minutes and then tried to light it up again. What he didn’t realize was that the heater had a faulty valve. In an instant, the whole inner blind lit up like a huge fireball. Unable to extinguish the heater, Brent quickly kicked it out of the blind to the nearby frozen dugout. He busted the ice then submerged the heater.
The first hour of shooting light had passed, and though Brent tried to tough out the cold, he was freezing in his light clothes without the heater. So, Brent snuck a few hundred yards through a shelter belt to a tower blind. Once inside, he was able to turn on another heater without issue and get warmed up.
While thawing himself out, Brent noticed the unmistakable frame of his target buck. The gnarly, palmated buck appeared only 100 yards away in a clearing of CRP. With ease, Brent lined up the crosshairs of his Swarovski scope and executed a perfect shot with his .300 Win. Mag. Brent was so excited when the buck went down that it took him a good five minutes to calm himself before he could text his wife the news.
There are a few things of interest to note about this buck. One is that a large tumor had grown at the base of the buck's chest. A trail camera photo later revealed that the tumor had burst. Full of pus and likely infected, the buck may not have even survived the winter.
Also, the buck’s antlers were so disproportioned that the buck walked with a lean to the left. With no known photos of the buck from previous years, it is unclear if the buck would have grown the antler back the same way again.
Another unclear thing is how to score such an unusual rack. Currently, the buck is being evaluated by official measurers from Boone and Crockett. It will be interesting to see how they score this awesome buck!