September 22, 2010
Sean Lagacy's persistence and patience paid off after four seasons with an Indiana buck whose mass and frame are truly world-class!
By Dean Weimer
Sean Lagacy's heavy-tined Indiana buck carried an amazingly symmetrical mainframe with only 3 1/8 inches of deductions.
Illinois bowhunter Sean Lagacy (pronounced Legacy) is a dedicated deer hunter who, until the 2006 season, had done most of his hunting in the Prairie State. And, while he still hunts primarily in his home area, he also has spent the last few years hunting an area in Indiana just across the state line.
"A friend of mine told me he had been watching a decent buck using the general area around his property," Lagacy recalled. "After some conversation, I was given permission to hunt this deer. I had to buy non-resident tags, (but) this land is only a 20-minute drive across the state line from my home." It is a small tract of land covering less than 50 acres, but it offers a good mix of timber, pasture and farm fields.
Because he spends the majority of his hunting season among the Illinois treetops, Lagacy decided to hunt for the big Indiana buck only during gun season. After hunting three or four mornings during the Indiana firearms season, Lagacy finally saw the big buck.
"He was a 140-inch 8-point," Lagacy recalled. "He appeared from behind me, (and) at the same time I had seven does in front of me. I was only able to get a snap shot at him before he disappeared over the ridge -- a clean miss." Although Lagacy hunted his Indiana spot several more mornings, he never saw the buck again.
During the 2007 season, Lagacy once again only hunted the Indiana property during the firearms season. Although he had hunted the big 8-pointer for several days, he never did spot him. He was beginning to wonder if maybe he'd been killed by another hunter, but then he caught another glimpse of him towards the end of the season. "One morning, as I was climbing down from my tree stand, I saw the deer crossing a field," Lagacy said. "He looked to be a 160-inch deer with good mass. I never saw the deer again that year."
The following summer, Lagacy decided to dedicate some archery time to this buck. He also made a move on the property to try to improve his chances of another encounter. "I didn't do a lot of scouting, but I value every minute I'm in the tree to try and pattern where I see deer," he said. "The big thing I've learned over the years is to see how the lay of the land funnels deer. After hunting the area for a couple years it usually jumps out at you. I saw this deer only a handful of times over the years I hunted him, but when I did, he was in the same area, so that is where I moved my stand. It was a natural funnel."
When Sean Lagacy first encountered his massive Indiana buck in 2006, he estimated the rack would score in the 140s. Three years later, it scored 205 5/8 inches as a non-typical.
The season opened on Oct. 1, 2008, in both Illinois and Indiana, but Lagacy decided to bide his time on the big 8-pointer. "I didn't hunt the area much until the end of October," he said. "It didn't take long until I would see the deer I was after. I think it was November 3 when I had the most exciting hunt of my life.
"I heard deer crashing through the woods behind me. I turned to see a 140-inch buck running through the woods right under my tree. Sixty yards away was the buck. He had matured into a 185-inch giant with split brow tines on both sides. I tried grunting and snort-wheezing at this deer, but he would come no farther."
Lagacy studied him through his binoculars that morning, but the buck turned and walked away. Although he hunted for at least two more hours, Lagacy never saw the buck again that day. "I saw this giant twice more that year, but never as close as that day," he recalled.
PREPARING FOR 2009
In February of 2009, Lagacy decided to try to find the sheds off the massive 8-pointer.
"The first time I went out, I located one side of his rack," Lagacy said. "It proved my guess of him being around 185 inches. I spent several hours over the next few weeks looking for the other side but had no luck.
"This (past) season I decided to hunt this deer hard," Lagacy said. "I really thought the rack would go downhill, as this deer was at least six years old.
"Two days later, on the morning of October 11, I climbed into my tree stand a half-hour before light. It wasn't long before I heard rustling in the corn near my stand."
Moments later, Lagacy thought he heard a grunt. Soon there were more. "A minute or two later, I saw a doe come out of the corn into the woods I was in," he recalled. "It wasn't long and the doe disappeared. I then saw a doe moving along a fence. All of a sudden she jumped back and there was this monster buck. He was only 20 yards away."Lagacy drew back his bow as the behemoth passed around a pile of brush. After he cleared the obstruction, Lagacy released the arrow. The buck took off with the arrow sticking out of his side. "I had struck him too far forward. I waited awhile and then went back home," he said. He then contacted his friend, Chris Everingham, to see if he could help him track the buck.
Lagacy and Everingham found a blood trail quickly but ended up trailing it for more than 400 yards. "I thought (I would find the buck) dead at any moment," Lagacy said. "This was not the case. We managed to track the deer over half a mile. As I approached a corner in the fields, I saw a buck walking slowly across a cut bean field. There was also a coyote approximately 200 yards behind this deer. I hurried down the field to see if it was my deer."
As fate would have it, it was the huge 8-pointer. Lagacy believes the coyote was pushing the buck. They decided to go back home and give the buck more time. They waited about three more hours and came back. "Chris and I went to where I saw the deer in the standing corn," Lagacy said. "We soon picked up some blood and through tracks in the mud were able to track the deer for another 400-500 yards. As we came upon a small grassy area in the field we spotted the deer and were able to finish the deal. As I approached the downed
buck I realized he had grown to over 200 inches. What a surprise for a deer I thought would be going downhill."
A TRUE GIANT "8-POINTER"
There are many true 4-by-4 whitetail bucks in the world that have scored high enough to make the all-time Boone and Crockett book. And a few truly special 8-pointers have also netted over the magical 180-inch mark.
For any 4-by-4 to approach these world-class numbers, it has to have a few things going for it. Namely, it must have a good inside spread, long main beams, extremely tall tines, and excellent mass. Lagacy's buck is strong in all four areas.
The inside spread is an excellent 19 7/8 inches, and it has main beams of 30 3/8 inches on the left and 29 7/8 inches on the right. The G-2 tines are 15 2/8 inches on the right and 14 5/8 inches on the left; and the eight mass measurements gross 43 3/8 inches. To really put into perspective just how big the typical frame on this monstrous buck is, you have to look at the score of it after side-to-side deductions are taken away.
It's definitely worth noting here that the frame on this buck is amazingly symmetrical. In fact, a mere 3 1/8 inches of deductions exist when all 16 measurements are factored in, which is unbelievable. The buck's mainframe actually gross scores 192 2/8 inches! When the side-to-side differences are subtracted, this buck net scores 189 1/8 inches. If it were a clean 4-by-4, we might be looking at a world-record 8-pointer. But the buck has five non-typical points that total 16 4/8 inches. If Lagacy would have opted for the typical score, his buck would still make the book as a typical at 172 5/8 inches.
Instead, Lagacy took the non-typical route, so the buck ends up officially scoring 205 5/8 inches non-typical, making it the new Vermillion County, Indiana, record for archery-killed non-typicals. This is still extremely significant for a buck that has only 13 scoreable points.
Lagacy sums up the experience nicely: "A deer with horns this majestic did not grow them in one, two or three years. This special deer proves that age with good genetics is very important for a whitetail to reach its full potential. This is proof positive what can happen if we let the little ones go."