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Paul Keller: 229-Inch Wisconsin Non-Typical Trophy

Paul Keller: 229-Inch Wisconsin Non-Typical Trophy

Hunter: Paul Keller

State/County: Wisconsin

Score: Net non-typical green score 229 2/8 inches

When a world-class whitetail hits the dirt in a deer-deranged state like Wisconsin, it can be easy to lose your cool, to begin tossing around phrases like "state-record" and dreaming about the next Boone & Crockett Biennial Awards Banquet.

But what tends to get lost in the mad rush to rewrite the record books are the roots of the story, the meat 'n potatoes that make the hunt so worthy of recognition.

Having chased whitetails in Wisconsin since 1978, Marion bowhunter Paul Keller is no stranger to monster bucks and rocking-chair racks, and as of September 18, he's no stranger to the frenzy that surrounds a hunter who's killed a mega-giant.

On that evening, Keller let fly a well-placed arrow through the lungs of a buck that, with a net non-typical green score of 229 2/8 inches, will likely rank among the top five non-typicals ever killed in Wisconsin. The deer's rack awaits an official score after the 60-day drying period expires, and though it's unlikely to challenge Wayne Schumacher's standing non-typical record of 243 6/8 inches, the Keller buck is certainly in the right company.

For Keller though, the real story is not relegated to his buck's record-book implications or even the single evening sit that saw its demise. Rather, the story is one of a lifetime spent in the woods learning the intricate ways of mature whitetails, of putting hard-earned knowledge into play and of passing those lessons on to his 10-year-old son, Seth.

Keller's 26-point giant and the story of the hunt that brought him down are perfect examples of exactly that. This buck was no stranger in Waupaca County, and, according to Keller, a number of neighbors had seen and even photographed the buck feeding in surrounding fields.

"I had heard plenty of buzz from neighbors that there was a large buck in the area, and my neighbor to the north actually had the buck on camera," Keller said. "He was a very well photographed deer€¦ It takes a neighborhood to grow a deer like this. Anybody who scouted this deer or had photos or shed antlers from him had a hand in it."

At the end of the story, the buck felt comfortable on Keller's 80-acre tract, which he has owned and hunted for decades. Through a combination of low-impact scouting and last-minute adjustments, Keller patterned the massive-framed buck and waited for the perfect time to make his move.

The buck had been feeding in a neighboring farmer's alfalfa field and a soybean field less than 1/2 a mile away, and he was using a timbered ridge and a 40-acre standing cornfield on Keller's property to move between the two.


"The deer was actually feeding in both the alfalfa and the beans, and he was using my standing corn as security cover or a sanctuary," Keller said. "The security provided by the corn was a big reason why he was there.

But as Keller arrived at his property in the mid-afternoon shadows of September 18, he discovered an unsettling scene.

"I passed by the cornfield on my way in, and the farmer that had leased the field was chopping the corn," Keller said. "I about drove into a ditch. I knew it was a death sentence. My best stands were right on the edge of that field, and without the standing corn, the buck wouldn't have the security he needed to stay there."

For the exclusive, inside story on how Keller adjusted his strategy on the fly and brought down one of Wisconsin's biggest whitetails ever, check out the July 2013 issue of North American Whitetail.

Kyle Heuerman

Any serious whitetail hunter knows that it's not often that we get a second chance on the buck of a lifetime, or even a first chance for that matter. But luck was on the side of Kyle Heuerman and his girlfriend Jennifer Weaver when they put an arrow through this 196-inch Illinois brute. Read the full story.

Joe Franz

We estimate he was 7 1/2 years old. That's based on photos from 2010, when he clearly wasn't over 3 1/2. When I got him he weighed over 300 pounds on the hoof, as suspected. Official B&C measurer Glen Salow came up with a 'green ' gross score of 258 7/8 inches. After the 60-day drying period, he again taped the rack. This time he got a gross non-typical score of 261 3/8, with a net of 230 7/8. The gross score evidently makes this the highest-scoring wild whitetail ever harvested on professional video. Read the full story.

Jon Massie

Jon's no stranger to free-ranging whitetails across the central plains, having guided a number of clients to trophies and harvesting many big ones himself. In fact, going into 2013 he'd shot two net Boone & Crocketts: one a non-typical scoring over 200, the other a typical from public land. With such success behind him, Jon felt all of his hunting dreams already had come true. At least, he did until a buck he'd never seen showed up on one of his trail cameras. Read the full story.

Tom Boyer

Knowing I couldn't even come to my knees without breaking the little concealment we had, I decided to lie on my left side, using my left elbow for as solid a rest as could be achieved within the slight incline of the old fencerow. But when I shouldered the rifle, the sight of the crosshairs oriented at a 10-4 o'clock angle was definitely a different look from the normal 12-6 position we all practice from. Even so, I didn't figure that would matter if I aimed at the right spot and squeezed off a clean shot. I settled the crosshairs where I needed to place the bullet and steadied the rifle. Whispering 'fire in the hole ' while floating the crosshairs on the spot, I gently squeezed the trigger until the recoil removed the buck from my view. Read the full story.

Teddy's Buck

With a whopping 40 inches of non-typical growth, he has a gross Boone & Crockett score of 215 3/8. The rack's 21 6/8-inch inside spread certainly helps to show off its unique character. He was just a special deer, and very much a result of patience in both management and hunting. Read the full story.

Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan was only 19 when, during the 2013 season, he arrowed an Arkansas buck of gigantic proportions. Like many of his fellow Arkansans, Ryan is a deer and duck fanatic. For several years, however, he gave up most of his duck season to lock horns with the world-class buck. Read the full story.

Junior Key

Junior's outstanding whitetail is the biggest ever recorded from Monroe County, and he ranks as one of the Bluegrass State's top bucks from the 2013-14 season. This great non-typical also is the latest member of Kentucky's all-time Top 30 list. Read the full story.

Mikell Fries

At 16 yards, Mikell took aim at the giant and released his arrow. In an instant, the shaft had passed through him. The deer instantly whirled and ran out of sight . . . but then, within seconds the archer heard him crash to the ground. 'I remained in the stand for several minutes to gather my thoughts and calm down, ' Mikell says. 'I'm sure the entire encounter only took a few minutes, but it seemed an eternity. ' Read the full story.

Bill Robinson

Three double-digit tines of 10 2/8 to 13 5/8 inches, plus 7 1/8- and 9 3/8-inch brows and a 21 3/8-inch inside spread, add plenty to this regal crown. Put everything together and you have a gross 9-point frame score of 193 6/8. That's as big as it sounds. Typical asymmetry and 11 6/8 inches of abnormal points total 25 1/8 inches of deductions, so as a typical, the deer nets 'only ' 168 5/8. But the 8×5 rack's total gross score of 205 4/8 is much more reflective of its stunning size. Regardless of score, the Robinson buck is clearly a marvel of nature. Read the full story.

Nick Drake

The action was fast and furious right from the get-go. At daybreak a doe busted through the cedar thicket with an eight-point suitor following close behind. The doe, however, wanted nothing to do with her pursuer and jumped into a nearby pond in an attempt to flee the buck. This, however, wasn't the last of the action. Nick continued to watch several bucks harass does throughout the morning, but chose not to take a shot at them. Read the full story.

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