Anniversary Bucks, Luke Hegge

Anniversary Bucks, Luke Hegge

My husband, Luke Hegge, applies yearly for an exclusive hunt on a military camp, Camp Ripley, which is located in Central Minnesota. This is a lottery hunt with about 2,500 guys being allowed to hunt a 53,000-acre area. Hunters line their trucks in a double line outside the gates, this in itself being a pretty cool sight.

About an hour and a half before light, the MN DNR starts to let the line go in two vehicles at a time. It's like the running of the bulls or the start of the Daytona 500 of bowhunting.


While the "Ripley Rookies" look for a spot, hunters like Luke, know where they want to be and get quickly set up and hope to have an encounter with a mature buck, either by natural movement or by being pushed by a rookie stomping through the beautiful oak ridges of this Minnesota whitetail wonderland. The hunt this year coincided with our fifteenth wedding anniversary, but I was willing to share this date with his passion for bowhunting.



On the morning of October 20, Luke was sitting in the same tree he'd taken a 10-point buck from the year prior. His hunting buddy, Dan Moon wasn't too far away from his stand.

After two close encounters with shooter bucks and a black bear, Luke heard footsteps coming toward him from over the ridge at around 10 a.m.


"As I looked to the ridge top, the first thing I saw was the tips of the massive antlers rising up the ridge, heading straight for me," shared Luke.


He marched confidently down the ridge with a serious attitude; bark and sap dripped from its antlers. This buck was on a mission, heading straight for the action. In order to calm his nerves, Luke recited to himself "you shouldn't have come by me" rather than the negative pressure of telling himself "don't screw this up, don't screw this up!"

At 10:05 a.m., he shot this 160 class, 10-point buck as it passed under his stand at about three yards. It was a good clean shot and so it crashed within sight only about 50 yards away.

His buddy heard the commotion and within a few minutes headed over to Luke to congratulate him. "Only you Hegge!" were his friend's remarks.

They field dressed it and took pictures. The two thought about celebrating with a cold one back at camp but instead decided to continue hunting. Luke and Dan have party hunted for many years together. Legal in this part of Minnesota, party hunting allows a hunter to shoot a buck for another hunter.

Luke offered his "hot stand" to his friend but Dan refused the generous offer. Generous because 10 minutes later an even larger buck would fall to Luke's arrow'¦

Not long after they settled into their stands, to my husband's disbelief, an even larger buck clamored over the oak ridge. This was a buck he'd seen earlier in the day, but was unsuccessful at calling into range. Spooked, most likely by other hunters, he knew if he was going to take this buck, he would need to be quick.

The big deer stopped abruptly, smelling that unfamiliar scent of human. It was staring straight at Luke's tree, standing only five yards away. It started to stomp backwards, suspecting something wasn't right. Reading his body language, Luke took his two-second window to make the shot as the deer turned and ran.

The buck ran right under Dan's stand, close to the swamp, and actually shook the tree he was in as it ran by. Being the good-natured guy he is, all he could do was laugh as he saw this buck run by, bleeding heavily.

The second buck was a 160 class, 10 pointer with a 21 5/8-inch inside spread!

Some people give the credit to "luck" but I give the credit to Luke's drive, dedication, and passion for bowhunting. I mean, after all, he was willing to put off celebrating our 15-year anniversary of a happy marriage to his third passion in life (first and second being God then family.) I hope you enjoy this tale of the "anniversary bucks" as much as I did. -- Danielle Hegge

Editor: Congrats on two great bucks Luke!


Recommended for You

Whether you cook it around a smoldering campfire or over a charcoal grill, this Braai'ed Deer Heart Recipe is a good one to add to your after-the-hunt rituals. Venison Recipes

Braai'ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Whether you cook it around a smoldering campfire or over a charcoal grill, this Braai'ed Deer...

Restore the predator balance on your land. Land Management

Managing Hog & Coyote Populations for Whitetail Properties

Mark Wooley

Restore the predator balance on your land.

In blackpowder hunting, details always matter. Don't learn the hard way. Guns

Choose the Right Load for Your Muzzleloader

Gordon Whittington - March 05, 2019

In blackpowder hunting, details always matter. Don't learn the hard way.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Mike Clerkin is hunting the alternative weapon whitetail season in Missouri with his S&W revolver.

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore explores the pitfalls of puppy training.

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

On this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss tactics for establishing warm-season food plots.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Here's how to crack the summer code. Early Season

3 Types of Late-Summer Bucks & How to Hunt Them

Garrett Tucker

Here's how to crack the summer code.

In terms of coloration, which whitetails are the rarest of all? Most hunters would claim that Deer Behavior & Facts

Rarest Whitetails Of All?

Gordon Whittington - September 22, 2010

In terms of coloration, which whitetails are the rarest of all? Most hunters would claim that

Improve the nutritional benefits that your land offers local deer. Land Management

No Matter the Season, Deer Orchard Work Brings Big Benefits to Whitetails

Lynn Burkhead - June 27, 2019

Improve the nutritional benefits that your land offers local deer.

See More Stories

More Deer of the Day

Any serious deer hunter knows timing and location are everything. However, putting the two together Deer of the Day

Matt Portscheller Buck: 186-Inch Illinois Tank

Ron Willmore - July 12, 2016

Any serious deer hunter knows timing and location are everything. However, putting the two...

Way back in 2012, Stuart Everett was relaxing in his pickup truck under an old cedar on his Deer of the Day

Stuart Everett'™s 240-Inch "Cactus" Buck

Haynes Shelton - August 09, 2016

Way back in 2012, Stuart Everett was relaxing in his pickup truck under an old cedar on his

Although January's not a time typically associated with killing huge bucks, many Midwestern states Deer of the Day

Steve Niemerg Buck: 197-Inch Illinois Giant

Bernie Barringer - May 10, 2016

Although January's not a time typically associated with killing huge bucks, many Midwestern...

See More Deer of the Day

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×