September 22, 2010
Avid bowhunter Scott Fiala had seen this buck in 2007 and he hoped to see it again in 2008. He set up in a 20-acre patch of woods that turned out to be the "right spot."
By Ron Willmore
Scott Fiala of Enfield, Illinois, is half owner of S&D Archery, an archery pro shop. He not only knows how to tune a bow, but he also knows how to shoot one very well!
Scott arrowed his Illinois monster on the afternoon of Nov. 7, 2008, after working the night shift the evening before. A series of grunts and doe bleats lured the buck in close enough for a perfect shot.
Having bowhunted for 24 years, Scott has several Pope and Young bucks to his credit.
Last year, he added to that growing list with his largest buck ever, a giant non-typical that netted 219 2/8 inches.
Scott saw the deer several times in 2007. On one occasion, he had the buck quartering toward him at 22 yards. However, he opted not to take a marginal shot.
As soon as the 2008 season began, he had high hopes of getting another chance at the big bruiser. He concentrated his efforts in a 20-acre patch of scrub timber that was surrounded by crop fields.
TIME TO HUNT
Scott works the night shift at a local coal mine. On the morning of Nov. 7, 2008, he got off work at 7 a.m. While driving home, he passed by his hunting land and noticed that the local farmer had just started picking corn. The fall of 2008 was a tough year for bowhunting because most of the corn in the area had been planted late due to an exceptionally wet spring. That meant a late harvest.
Radio-tracking studies have shown that big bucks will spend a high percentage of their time living inside large fields of standing corn. These bucks frequent the woods at night and return to the corn to bed during daylight hours. This pattern of behavior makes it very difficult to see mature bucks during the day early in the season.
The 20-acre patch of woods where Scott was hunting had a small drainage ditch that bordered one side and standing corn on the other side. This allowed him to quietly slip into his stand on one end without spooking deer. When Scott realized that the farmer had started picking corn, he knew he needed to be in his tree stand. He immediately drove home and went to bed for several hours. He got up at 1 p.m. and headed to the woods.
Around 3 p.m., Scott saw four button bucks in the field just south of him. Later, while surveying the area with binoculars, he noticed movement along a narrow fencerow just inside the timber. What he saw next suddenly increased his heart rate considerably!
Coming toward him was the giant non-typical whitetail he had been hoping to see all season long!
Unfortunately, the buck was headed down a trail that would put him directly downwind before Scott could get a shot. Sure enough, the buck suddenly stopped as if he had hit a brick wall. The deer put his nose in the air, turned and ran back in the direction from which he had come.
Well, you got away again, Scott thought.
Amazingly, Scott saw the buck again about five minutes later. This time the deer was slowly working his way along the edge of the timber. Scott grunted and then used a doe bleat to try to entice the buck to move closer to his position. Much to the hunter's amazement, the buck did exactly that! When the big buck had closed the distance to 50 yards, he started looking for the "bleating doe" that he'd been listening to.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING!
Just as the giant non-typical started to get a little nervous, the group of button bucks mentioned earlier entered the timber. Several other deer also appeared, including a nice 130-inch buck. As soon as the big non-typical saw the smaller buck, he seemed to calm down. Once again, he started moving toward Scott. When he had closed the distance to 30 yards, he stopped behind a tree.
Scott ranged the buck at 31 yards. All he could see was part of the buck's shoulder and vitals, but that was enough. Without hesitation, he drew and released his arrow. The arrow, tipped with a NAP 100-grain Spitfire XP, found its mark. Scott watched as the buck ran about 60 yards and fell over!
"I knew this buck was going to be a Booner," he said. "But I had no idea it was going to score almost 220 inches!"
TIME TO CELEBRATE
Scott climbed down and called three of his closest hunting buddies: Reed Roundtree, Dave Marshall (the co-owner of the archery shop), and Lyndall Chapman. All three of these men are distinguished hunters with at least one B&C buck to their credit. Scott also called another friend, Bryan Williams, who came and helped him get the buck to the truck.
Scott's awesome trophy sported a 183 1/8-inch typical 10-point frame with only 3 2/8 inches in deductions. When you add in the 39-plus inches of abnormal points, it's easy to see how this extraordinary buck ended up with a net non-typical score of 219 2/8 inches!
Mounted by taxidermist Doug Westfall, Scott's deer was the largest non-typical buck by bow at the 2009 Illinois Deer Classic held in Bloomington, Illinois, in February 2009.
The big non-typical also walked away with the Best of Show award at the classic.Scott and his buddies take their bowhunting very seriously. "I have three good hunting partners," he says. "When one of us kills a nice buck, there is never any jealousy or back-biting. No nasty rumors are ever spread; we just all pitch in and help each other out. A love for whitetail hunting, good hunting buddies, and occasionally getting a decent buck on the ground -- that's what hunting is all about to us!"