December 12, 2022
By Josh Honeycutt
Midwest Land Group Land Agent Sam Vedvei hunts in South Dakota, and this season he shot a giant, 200 6/8-inch prairie whitetail in a wide-open setting. The 7 1/2-year-old monarch wasn’t one he expected to shoot, but he’s sure glad he did. Hunting since he was 12 years old, and always hoping for a huge deer, this was a dream come true.
With two years of history, it’s an incredible way to end the journey. Vedvei had three trail camera photos of the buck last season, and five this year. Never a daylight photo, though. He didn’t think the deer was spending a lot of time on the family farm he’d hunted for 19 years. Still, he had hope.
On Oct. 18, he was rewarded for it. With 40-degree highs, the conditions were right. Hunting in flat, open ground full of ag and not much timber, he only had a couple places to sit. He chose a tree he thought would work.
As the afternoon sun burned lower in the horizon, the action remained slow. Not a deer moved. In fact, he’d sat there four previous sits without seeing a deer. Then, with shooting light waning, a twig snapped. Vedvei turned to see antlers sticking up out of the grass. It was him.
The deer walked all the way to within 25 yards, stood broadside and posed for the shot. Vedvei drew back, settled in and sent it. The arrow struck slightly back in the back of the lung and liver region. The deer spun and ran right back where he came from.
About three hours later, Vedvei returned to search for the deer. He blood-trailed it through the tall grass and into a small patch of timber. Eventually, he reached a dirt road, and found the buck lying in the ditch beside it. In total, the deer went about 400 yards.
“This deer is incredible,” Vedvei says. “I’m still a little in disbelief that I was the one to kill it. These opportunities do not come by very often. It is surreal to see a deer of that caliber on the hoof. It’s a testament to being familiar with the deer and knowing how they travel and respond to the area. I didn’t pattern the deer, but I patterned the deer in the area.”