November 08, 2022
By Cameron Coble
The last day of Indiana youth season proved to be successful for one Hoosier deer hunter. Caiden “Midge” Dodson and his dad, Chuck, set out in west central Indiana. The pair decided they’d try their luck one last time. Having hunted Saturday evening and seeing only three does, the action was less than eventful the next morning.
During mid-day, Midge and Chuck were sitting around camp, listening to the Indianapolis Colts football game. They were trying to decide where to hunt their last evening, and Chuck thought a strip of timber near a corn field would be good. A levee runs parallel to the river to prevent flooding in the crop fields, and Chuck figured that’s how they’d walk to their spot. With weeds growing knee- or chest-high in some spots, the two hunters began walking atop the levee.
Midge, armed with his bow, was walking just ahead of Chuck and stopped instantly and signaled that he spotted a deer bedded on the levee up ahead of them. After careful inspection he determined it was a buck. “I got down on my hands and knees and began to army crawl towards the bedded buck,” Midge says.”
As he closed the distance from 80 yards down to 25, a doe and fawn that neither Chuck nor Midge saw emerged from the tall grass and bolted towards safety. All the while the still bedded buck was watching the doe and fawn. “It happened fast,” says Midge. “As the buck stood from his bed trying to figure out what was going on, I stood up from my crouched position and stood as well.”
At 25 yards, the buck was now standing broadside for a clear shot that Midge capitalized on. After the shot, the buck bolted and ran down into a deep ditch towards a weedy standing cornfield. Chuck had a clear view of the entire event, so he walked up to Midge and said, “I think you just shot a 140-inch buck.”
The shot looked good, and the pair waited a bit before beginning the tracking job. They began tracking the buck for a short distance, but with less than ideal blood Chuck decided to back out until the next morning. Concerned about possibly losing the deer, Chuck made a phone call to local deer recovery expert, Ron Sliver. The two talked on the phone for about an hour, and they both decided to wait until the next morning to take up the trail.
Arriving early the next morning at the hunting grounds, Chuck and Midge met up with Ron and his tracking hound, Jewel. About 20 minutes into the track job, Jewel located Midge’s buck! Arriving at the downed buck first, Ron yelled back to Chuck and Midge, “He’s over here, and he’s bigger than 140!”
Chuck and Midge were astounded by the size of the buck they originally thought would be a nice 140. It turns out Midge’s buck unofficially grosses 178, sporting 26 5/8- & 27 4/8-inch main beams. With a 22-inch inside spread, this is one impressive Hoosier whitetail!