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Must See: 2023-24's Largest Typical Whitetail Deer By Bow?

Aron West first encountered a buck he called Skyscraper during the 2021 hunting season. After three full seasons of trying to figure out this incredible typical, Aron finally arrowed the Iowa giant on Oct. 29, 2023.

Must See: 2023-24's Largest Typical Whitetail Deer By Bow?

Going into the 2023-24 hunting season, Aron believed Skyscraper could score 200 inches typical. The giant came very close to reaching that monumental number! Photo courtesy of Aron West

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Aron West hunts on land by permission in the urban zones of southeastern Iowa. Aron shares the properties with two other hunters, his dad and a friend, Ken. The three hunters work together to gain permission and share intel.

Aron first discovered a buck he named “Skyscraper” on Oct. 31, 2021, when the deer showed up on his trail camera. A tall-framed 8-pointer, the buck was easy to identify because of his towering G-2s. That was Aron’s first season running trail cameras in the urban zone. Having no history of any bucks in the area, Aron guessed Skyscraper to be a 3 1/2-year-old.

Aron says that fall he targeted an equally impressive 8-point with more mass and a bigger body than Skyscraper. Throughout the 2021 season, Aron had Skyscraper on trail camera 24 times, but he never once saw the buck on the hoof. Having tagged his target buck on Nov. 6 that season, Aron continued hunting into January, so he could take the required three does to qualify for a buck in the 2022 season.

Just prior to the 2022 season beginning, Aron was eager to deploy some trail cameras in September. Aron patiently awaited Skyscraper’s return, but the buck was a no-show. Aron reassured himself by remembering that Skyscraper never showed up the previous season until the end of October.

“November 1st in 2022 brought a bright and clear evening,” Aron says. “I had rattled up my target buck from this location the year prior on the same date, so I thought I’d give the antlers a crack.”

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In 2021, Aron named this buck “Skyscraper,” because of the towering G-2s the deer had. Ultimately, Aron arrowed the giant on Oct. 29, 2023. Photo courtesy of Aron West

Before Aron even finished his rattling sequence, he had a small 10-point sprinting to the base of his tree. He quickly realized something was up and turned back and went in the direction he had come from.

Aron hung up the rattling antlers and started scanning the area with his binoculars. Appearing out of thin air along the grassy wood line was a large-framed buck. When the deer was 65 yards away, Aron told himself, “That’s a shooter.” The buck stood and inspected the open area cautiously. “After starting to walk my direction, the buck finally made it to 25 yards quartering to me,” Aron says.

After looking the buck over, Aron recognized him as Skyscraper. However, he had grown into a 10-point with a busted G-4 on the left side. “As the buck continued, he ended up coming directly at the base of my tree,” Aron recalls.




Hunting out of a Tethrd saddle, Aron was able to swing around to the backside of the tree for concealment. Aron remembers saying to himself, “If he comes to my left, it’s an easy shot. If he goes right, I’ll have to swing around the tree in order to pull off a shot.”

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When Skyscraper finally showed up again on Aron’s cameras in October 2023, Aron knew he needed to target the mega typical. Photo courtesy of Aron West

At just seven yards away, the buck decided to pass by the right side of Aron’s tree. At a mere three yards away, the buck stopped slightly quartering away. Unfortunately, as Aron drew his bow, he realized he clipped the D-loop under the bridge of his tether, making him unable to draw back. “The giant buck finally caught me moving as I tried to get resituated for a shot,” Aron says. “It was heartbreaking watching the mid-170s 10-point retreat back from the direction he’d come from.”

Aron would continue hunting through January, logging over 40 hunts but never laying eyes on Skyscraper. He als did receive photos of the buck on any of his trail cameras.

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“With the season over and not having him on any trail cameras, I figured he had been shot,” Aron explains. Aron put out three cameras in September 2023. On Oct. 17 and 19, Skyscraper showed up. The legend was alive!

“We were in disbelief at what he turned into,” Aron says. “We guessed him around 200 inches typical. We had picked up a new property that I scouted for the first time on the 24th. So I put out three cameras to cast a net and try to locate him and his travel routes. I checked all five cameras on the 28th and he had been on four of them in that four-day timeframe. There was not much of a pattern to go on, but it confirmed what I suspected: he’d travel off in one direction for a couple days before coming back through.”

Aron’s father had hunted a few times in the area, and on the morning of the 24th, he had Skyscraper come running right under his stand. They later found out another bowhunter 200 yards away had bumped the buck. “On Oct. 29 I called my dad,” Aron explains. “That’s his birthday, so we often go out and hunt on the same evenings. I told him, ‘We have to get out there tonight.’”

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The staggering typical tipped over just 15 yards from Aron’s stand after the shot. Aron sent a picture of the buck from his stand to his father, who was hunting close by. Photo courtesy of Aron West

The last photo Aron had gotten of Skyscraper was on the new property that had never been hunted. That is where Aron wanted to go on the 29th. “It’s a four-acre woodlot with lots of white oaks and a couple thick patches of cover,” Aron explains. “There is one small ravine running north and south. Dad was going to a different property about 150 yards away.”

Arriving at the base of his tree undetected, Aron says he had only tied his bow rope to his bow and had his first stick up ready to climb when he realized he wasn’t wearing his tree saddle; he’d forgotten it! It was 3:30 p.m., and conditions were prime for the last two hours of the day. Without a second thought, Aron decided to drive home and get his saddle.

“It took me 30 minutes to get home and back to the base of my tree,” Aron recalls. “I didn’t feel as good about my setup after getting in so late. I wasn’t there long, and I spotted movement 100 yards at the head of the ravine. It was Skyscraper, and his giant rack stood high out of the brush he was moving through. He moved up the west bank of the ravine and stopped, shaking the rain off his back and looking to the northwest with the wind in his face.”

Aron pulled out his grunt tube and let out one contact grunt. The buck’s head lifted a little, but he didn’t turn and look Aron’s way. He took a few steps forward and Aron let out one more grunt. Skyscraper turned his head slightly, paused and then flicked his tail, walking out of the woodlot and out of sight. At 5:45 p.m., Aron spotted a deer to the east right where he expected Skyscraper to be coming back into the woodlot on an open path. Pulling up his binoculars, Aron saw it was a small 8-point buck. A few minutes passed and Aron looked back to the west and spotted another deer. It was Skyscraper, and he was moving on the same path as the small buck had.

With his heart racing, Aron slowly reached for his bow. The buck now stood at the split in the trail 30 yards away. As the buck stopped, he sniffed the trail and surveyed his two options. He could either follow the smaller 8-point, which would give Aron no shot, or he could drop into the bottom of the ravine with three scrapes within 15 yards of the bowhunter.

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With an official B&C score of 197 4/8 gross and 193 6/8 net, Aron West’s 2023 Iowa typical could be the biggest typical whitetail taken by bow during the 2023-24 hunting season. Photo courtesy of Aron West

“After a couple minutes, the buck turned and dropped down the trail to the right, coming right to the scrapes,” Aron says. “I thought, I’ve got him. Just be patient. At 15 yards the buck stopped at the scrapes and worked them over for 20 or 30 seconds. I felt he was about finished with that scrape, and I wanted to draw back with his attention still on the ground he was working over. At this point, if he turns to my right from the scrapes, I have a few holes to shoot through. And if he turns left, he’s in the wide open at 10 yards and broadside. At that point I’d forgotten all about the fact that standing at 15 yards for two minutes was a world-class whitetail!”

After coming to full draw, Aron went through his mental check list, waiting for the moment Skyscraper would turn left and begin walking. After the buck cleared the tree he stopped on his own, allowing Aron to take careful aim and squeeze off a shot. The buck only ran a short distance before piling up!

“I took a picture of him laying 15 yards from the base of my tree,” Aron says. “I sent it to the group chat. It was 6:02 p.m. The quest for Skyscraper was over!”

The massive Iowa typical carries great tine length and incredible symmetry. The buck officially grosses 197 4/8 and nets 193 6/8 typical, earning the No. 5 spot for all-time archery kills in Iowa. As of the time this article was published, to North American Whitetail’s best knowledge, Aron West’s incredible buck could be the biggest bow-killed net typical from the 2023-24 hunting season.

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