November 05, 2021
By Blake Garlock
Breaking News Bucks 2021
During the late summer, one of the neighbors to Kevin Christorf’s hunting property shared a trail camera photo with him of a massive typical whitetail. Kevin was excited for his neighbor to have such a giant on his property.
“I told him, ‘Wow, it looks like you’re going to have a good hunting season,’” Kevin remembers.
The neighbor, Dakota, had named the buck “Hector.” Two days later, Hector showed up on the property that Kevin and his wife, Bayli, hunt.
“We thought, holy smokes, now he’s on our property,” says Kevin.
Kevin hunts on a family property, and the portion of the property that Hector was frequenting is a small, 5-acre parcel that has to be accessed by boat since it sits across a river. The buck was present on the property regularly throughout the late summer. And Kevin and his wife did their best to nail-down the buck’s pattern prior to Wisconsin’s September archery opener. However, it didn’t work out as they planned.
“September rolled around, and he disappeared,” says Kevin. “We didn’t have any photos of him, and the neighbors didn’t have any photos of him. Nothing.”
Kevin later found out that the buck moved over a mile away and spent September on another landowner’s property. However, Kevin’s luck with Hector was soon to change.
“When October rolled around, we started getting pictures of him again,” says Kevin. “The later it got in October, the more daytime trail camera photos we got of him.”
Kevin says that Bayli may be more into bowhunting than he is. Bayli had hunted Hector several times before Kevin was able to. Bayli actually had Hector within shooting range twice during October; however, both times the buck stayed just on the other side of the property line.
“When he did cross onto our property, there was too much brush in the way for her to take an ethical shot,” says Kevin.
Kevin had his own close call with Hector just days before killing the buck. As a young buck was making rubs in front of Kevin’s tree stand just before the end of legal shooting hours, Hector barged in and ran the young buck out of the area. Unfortunately, he passed by Kevin just four and a half minutes after legal shooting time.
“I was so close,” Kevin remembers. “After that encounter, my wife and I decided that if it was meant to be, it would happen. We knew we just had to be patient.”
On Oct. 28, Kevin’s opportunity came.
Kevin woke up that morning and saw that the forecasted rain was to hold off until mid-afternoon. So, he went hunting.
That morning, Kevin was canoeing across the creek to the 5-acre parcel when he heard a deer snort and then trot into the neighbor’s cornfield. He thought it sounded like a big deer, but he wasn’t certain.
About 40 minutes after shooting light began, Kevin heard rustling in the corn. It was Hector, and he was walking toward the river.
“The spot I was hunting was about a 50-yard-wide funnel,” says Kevin. “I knew if he came into that spot, I would have about a 50 percent chance of getting a shot.”
Hector was walking on a trail that led to one of Kevin’s shooting lanes. However, when he was 10 yards from the opening, the buck caught Kevin’s wind and began stomping. After walking toward the river near Kevin’s canoe, Hector turned and walked right to the tree Kevin was sitting in and began licking his tree stand steps.
“He looked right up at me,” says Kevin. “I fully expected him to run off.”
But Hector didn’t spook. Instead, he walked a few yards from the tree and stopped, and Kevin could tell the deer was getting nervous. Kevin grabbed his crossbow, and he settled the sight on the buck that was less than five yards away and fired.
“I hit him perfect,” says Kevin. “He took off fast, and I saw him run sideways and then I heard a crash.”
Kevin called his neighbor, Dakota, who had shared the original trail camera photo of Hector with Kevin. Dakota left work and helped Kevin follow the blood trail. The pair followed the blood to where the giant typical was lying dead.
“I got emotional,” says Kevin. “I wasn’t thinking I killed a potential state record, I was just thinking about how hard we had all hunted this one deer.”
The buck was green-scored by several people, but one scorer taped the buck at 200 5/8 inches gross and 196 7/8 net. Wisconsin’s current state record crossbow buck net scores 179 7/8 inches, and the state record for all archery equipment is 192 6/8 net inches. After the mandatory 60-day drying period, Kevin’s buck could break the record.
However, the potential for topping the state’s record book isn’t what means the most to Kevin.
“The best thing of this experience is the fact that everyone chasing this deer was so happy and supportive of me,” says Kevin. “They were genuinely happy for my success.”