May 30, 2012
Early October is the time to catch mature bucks coming out of thick bedding areas and heading to a fulfilling food source. On October 3rd I decided to take my Lone Wolf climber to a new spot I had never hunted on some prime public land property in Dunn County Wisconsin.
Around 1:30pm I hiked back three-quarters of a mile to a thick sanctuary that I knew some mature deer must call home. It was 60 degrees and clear with a slight westerly wind. I climbed atop a ridge which bordered some tall grass and thick brush which also held a few apple trees. The west wind was perfect for my setup. Upon cresting the top of the hill I was pleased to find a few rubs and some oak leaves rustled up from where deer were obviously feeding on acorns. I climbed 20 feet up a straight white oak which was placed between the sanctuary and a bean field which I presumed was a destination food source.
I sat in my tree patiently waiting to see my first deer, confident this spot would produce. The minutes ticked away and turned into hours. Soon the sun was setting upon the horizon and I hadn't seen a deer. I stood up in my stand like I usually do for the last prime 20 minutes of light. I caught movement to my west where the bedding area resided. I strained my eyes and to my delight saw the beautiful 11 point rack silhouetted against the red sunset 60 yards away. He worked his way towards me feeding on acorns completely oblivious to my presence.
Soon he was within 15 yards and hadn't turned for a broadside shot yet. He continued feeding to a mere eight yards below me. Finally he turned his head and took a step giving me a broadside look. While his head was down and turned away feeding on acorns I drew my bow. I settled my pin behind his shoulder and let the Rage tipped arrow zip through his hide.
He trotted off flickering his tail, stopped for a short five second period and then jaunted off over the crest of the ridge and out of sight. I knew I'd hit him good by his post-shot body language and felt confident about where my pin was settled when I let the arrow fly.
I sat down and caught my breath for a few minutes shocked at what had just happened. My hands trembled and knees shook as I thought about the few minutes preceding. The biggest buck I had ever seen in the wild just gave me an eight yard broadside shot! I put away my gear and climbed down from my perch. It was now dark out and I looked for my arrow but couldn't find it with the poor light conditions. With a cool and rain-free weather forecast I decided to go home and think things over.
I sped back to my college rental house and told my friends what had just happened. Without seeing him fall within sight we decided to track him in the morning. I didn't sleep a single minute that night and the anxiety was setting in. Finally daylight broke and I went to look for him with my dad, Ken Welch, and good friends Jared Fern and Matt Kaner.
We got to my stand location and found my blood-soaked arrow quickly. We followed the blood trail to the edge of the ridge when I spotted a white belly laying ~100yards from the stand. We ran to the deer and grasped his horns, giving high-fives, and shaking each other's hands! The shot had been good, passing through both of his lungs, meaning he had likely died soon after he trotted out of sight.
The deer ended up gross scoring 165 2/8" with 11 scorable points. Quite an incredible score, but even more impressive was his 240 lb. field-dressed weight! We gave him a grand tour driving around town showing him off to friends. People even flagged me down on the road the next day as I took him to my taxidermist, Jack Dodge!
An incredible trophy, incredible experience, and incredible imagery that'll forever stay fresh in my mind! -- Tyler Welch
Thanks for the great story Tyler and congrats on a great buck!