As a member of this most unusual group of Wisconsin whitetail hunters, Tara Seiler had a most unusual encounter with the buck of a lifetime last season in early September.
With every whitetail buck harvested, there is a story to be told. Each hunter's history is different, and each hunter's story is unique. More often than not, that story is filled with passion and emotion. Tara Seiler of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, is one of many passionate hunters with such a story, and her story involves a one-of-a-kind 21-point buck.
Tara proudly poses with her massive and gnarly 21-point drop-tine buck. Her husband Brian captured the exciting hunt on video. The awesome bow buck grossed 184 inches and netted 176 inches and some change.
Tara grew up in a family of hunters. She entered the woods for the first time with her parents when she was 3 years old and obtained her hunter's safety license at age 12. But it was another 15 years before she bought her first deer tag.
It wasn't until Tara met her husband, Brian, that she began to see a new side to deer hunting. Brian had a passion for hunting and management that she had never seen before.
He encouraged Tara to pick up where she had left off years earlier by getting back out in the woods. He even surprised her on her birthday with a new bow in 2005.
Not only was she excited to receive such a special gift, but she was just as excited about the prospects of spending more time with Brian in the woods, just as she had done with loved ones while growing up. Having harvested numerous bucks since, Tara has found a new passion for whitetail hunting with her husband. That passion also includes a shared interest in deer management, and a strong desire to encourage others to discover the joy of hunting.
A WISCONSIN GIANT
The tale of Tara's 21-point Wisconsin trophy goes back to mid-July 2008 when one of her neighbors spotted a bachelor group feeding in a wheat field and noticed that one buck in particular really stood out. A few weeks later, the giant buck appeared in a hayfield on the Seiler dairy farm. Around mid-August, the buck disappeared. Then, one week before the Wisconsin bow opener on Sept. 13, he once again was spotted feeding in the same hayfield.
Now the debate was on as to who would get to hunt the big buck first. It all came down to a coin toss between Tara and her sister-in-law Shelly. Several years earlier, the two girls had formed a hunting group known as "Droptine Divas" (composed of female family and friends), and now each girl wanted nothing more than to sit in the nearest stand that first day and get a chance at this amazing buck. Not only was this Wisconsin monster a true trophy, but the deer also had a long drop tine that gave its enormous rack added character.
GOING FOR BROKE
Tara won the coin toss, but on the first day of hunting, she saw no sign of the buck.
Shelly in turn received stand rights the next day, but she, too, ended the day with no sighting. However, Shelly's father, Herb, glassed the 21-pointer that day feeding in a food plot some distance away.
Acting quickly, Brian set up a tree stand on the morning of Sept. 16 near where Herb had seen the buck. With the excitement and support from their family and the other Diva girls, Brian and Tara dropped off their kids, Brady and Jackie, at Tara's Aunt Eileen's with plans of hunting that afternoon.
Due to the wind direction, Tara rubbed corn silage on her SHE Outdoor camo. Then she and Brian parked the truck and walked to their stand. By 4 p.m., the ThermaCELL was on and the Beyond Backpack camo blind bag had been set up around the tree stand.
At 5:30 p.m., a nice buck -- a 140-class 10-pointer -- entered the food plot and started feeding on standing corn. An hour later, that same 10-pointer entered the woods near Tara's tree stand, followed by another buck that had come out of the standing corn. Brian was unable to get a clear look at the second buck because a small 8-pointer was standing directly under the stand and he couldn't move. Although Tara knew this second buck looked big, she could not confirm that he was the massive drop-tine buck they were hoping to see.
A MEXICAN STANDOFF
Moments later, Brian confirmed that the second deer was, in fact, the huge 21-pointer.
Now Tara and Brian were in a real fix. The 8-pointer was still directly under them, the big 10-pointer was only 15 yards away, and directly behind him stood the drop-tine giant.
Suddenly, the 8-pointer knew something was wrong and he snorted. With her heart racing, Tara knew she would have to act fast and do anything she could to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
As soon as the 21-pointer turned his head, Tara came to full draw, but the 10-pointer was blocking her shot. Fortunately, he saw her move, spooked, and ran 20 about yards and stopped. This cleared the way for Tara to put her sight pin on the drop-tine giant.
However, he was now facing her straight on at 15 yards, and she could not shoot!
A waiting game was now well under way. Tara stood at full draw, but the huge whitetail was frozen in his tracks. After what seemed like an eternity, Tara finally whispered to Brian, "I have to let down. I can't hold any longer."
"If you do, he'll be gone," Brian answered.
Then, with muscles aching, heart racing, blood pounding, bucks snorting in the distance, these encouraging words came from Brian, "You can do it! You have to hold!"
Shifting her right arm at a different angle in order to use different muscles, Tara held the shot longer than she ever thought possible. After many long seconds, the big deer finally began to turn to his left, presenting her with the long awaited broadside shot.
It was now or never. Tara touched the release, and the Muzzy-tipped Easton arrow hit its mark perfectly!
SAVORING THE MOMENT
With every arrow that is released at a deer, intense emotions always seem to follow.
Whether those emotions comprise pure excitement, thankfulness, appreciation, physical exhaustion, or a combination of all of these, reaching this zenith after much hard work and ending the quest abruptly in one very short second, hunters are most honest with their true feelings during these rare times.
However, moments like these are diff
icult to explain and can only be understood by other hunters. Seeing it on a DVD or reading it in a narration is not enough. It's something that only a hunter can understand.
Tara immediately broke down and cried, knowing she had just experienced the hunt of a lifetime. Everything leading up to the moment when she released her arrow was part of a most incredible experience, and it hit her all at once. She remembered turning to Brian, who had been filming the hunt, and while fighting tears of joy, she tried to explain the thoughts that had been going through her head as she had held at full draw for so long.
Minutes after the shot, Brian and Tara heard the buck crash. They wanted to give him plenty of time and not risk bumping him, so at dark they made their way back home and burned up the phone lines calling various family members. With friends and family at her side, Tara went back to the woods a few hours later and recovered her buck just 70 yards from where he had been standing.
Tara's 21-point Wisconsin bruiser sported a gnarly 5x6 rack with 10 additional abnormal points, including a 10 1/2-inch drop tine. The rack grossed 184 inches and netted 176 non-typical B&C points.
Tara was excited about her chance to harvest such a marvelous buck, but sharing the experience with Brian was icing on the cake. Such a memorable moment will always be special between them. To watch the build-up of excitement and the rush of emotions, and then to have the realization that her dream buck was captured on film, is something that she and her family will cherish forever. With all the passion and excitement involved in her hunting pursuits, Tara is very enthusiastic about watching her children, Brady and Jackie, follow in their parents' footsteps.
Most of us may never have the chance to hunt a buck as massive as this Wisconsin whitetail, but never will we let the dream lie dormant and never will we give up hoping that, at any second, a buck of this stature could walk out of the corn!
ABOUT THE DROPTINE DIVAS
The Droptine Divas and their male counterparts, Team Droptine, have put together an impressive hunting resume over the last three years! In 2007, the idea of the Droptine Divas was born while watching a Packers game and talking hunting (an average Wisconsin Sunday afternoon!). With support of family and friends, the vision became reality when a DVD of Season 1 was released in January 2008, followed by Season 2 in January 2009.
These videos are based on do-it-yourself, fair chase, family-style hunting, something every American hunter can relate to. Whether it's two brothers, father and daughter, or husband and wife, each team puts in countless hours before, during and after hunting season, hoping that all of their hard work will pay off for that one second when it all comes together!
And over the past several years, things have come together for many of the team members! From one team member getting four bucks over 142 inches in two years, his sister getting her first deer with the bow, and two different girls getting bucks of a lifetime, and capturing it all on film, it has been an exciting ride to say the least!
The 2009 season is sure to bring many more exciting whitetail encounters that will be featured on the Divas' Season 3 DVD, Workin' for Whitetails, available in January 2010, at www.droptinedivas.com.