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!


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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

On this edition of "On Target," Pat Hogan highlights the importance of applying the fundamentals of the draw cycle when it comes to the bow you select.

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

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

How to Control Predators on Deer Hunting Property

How to Control Predators on Deer Hunting Property

In this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss ways to help control predators on deer hunting property.

North American Whitetail - Canadian Conundrum

North American Whitetail - Canadian Conundrum

Pat Hogan heads to Saskatchewan, Stan talks Browning Hells Canyon clothing, and Dr. Kroll tells how vital it is to manage your hog population.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional requirements will not only increase your chances of harvesting a good buck, but also your enjoyment of whitetail hunting. Land Management

What Do Deer Eat?

Dr. James C. Kroll

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional...

Here's a look at some of the new deer rifles from SHOT Show 2020! Guns

Best New Deer Hunting Rifles for 2020

Lynn Burkhead - January 29, 2020

Here's a look at some of the new deer rifles from SHOT Show 2020!

Not figuring the correct range to the target is a common mistake. How-To

Bullet Drop & Range Estimation

Travis Faulkner

Not figuring the correct range to the target is a common mistake.

Even snow-white deer are fairly common in comparison to those that are abnormally dark in color. Deer Behavior & Facts

Rarest Whitetails Of All?

Gordon Whittington - September 22, 2010

Even snow-white deer are fairly common in comparison to those that are abnormally dark in...

See More Trending Articles

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...

Unlike most other hunting stories that begin in the woods, mine starts in my basement with a few Deer of the Day

Georgia Double

Adam Woods - October 04, 2016

Unlike most other hunting stories that begin in the woods, mine starts in my basement with a...

Although Jenna Gregg grew up around hunting with her family and friends near Williamsport, Indiana, Deer of the Day

Jenna Gregg Buck: 212-Inch Indiana Non-Typical

Dean Weimer - May 31, 2016

Although Jenna Gregg grew up around hunting with her family and friends near Williamsport,...

The unlikely events that led me to a 200-inch Ohio whitetail in 2014 actually began back in 2012, Deer of the Day

Zach Singler's 203-Inch 'Out of Nowhere' Buck

Zach Singler - July 19, 2016

The unlikely events that led me to a 200-inch Ohio whitetail in 2014 actually began back in...

See More Deer of the Day

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now