In October 2008 I first blogged about a giant whitetail that was living in the city limits of East Sioux Falls. Somebody posted a Youtube video of him (I don’t see it online now) and it caused mild hysteria amongst hunters and non-hunters alike. At the time people figured the buck was the walking state record non-typical for South Dakota. He was a 12×14 and people figured he might score 250!
The buck would come and go between the city limits and bordering private lands, where people tried to hunt him. Rumors flew like they always do with a Big Deer—“somebody poached him…no, he’s still out there…he got hit by a car…”
For 7 years I’ve tracked this amazing deer with the help of Kelly K., who has watched the buck and found his sheds a couple times. Kelly wrote me yesterday with this picture and update:
Mike: The East Sioux Falls Youtube Buck is still around! Cannot believe he is still going, his horns are on the way down.
Kelly figures the Sioux Falls Buck is at least 12 and maybe as old as 14. Amazing. I hope this deer lives forever!
Thanks Kelly for the update and keep us posted.
Here’s an update on the biggest and coolest buck I’ve seen growing in the summer of 2015.
The hunter reports: So a storm blew over the tree this wireless camera is on, but you can still see he’s put on some serious growth since the last picture I had of him a month ago.
This deer has a relatively large body, but his antlers actually make his body look small.
The sleepless nights have already begun….
I wrote the hunter back and told him good luck, he is about to hunt the buck of a lifetime. He responded:
I’ve never seen anything like him before, and probably never will again. I would just love to see this deer in person! He’s amazing! I’ll send you more pics as they come in.
We look forward to it.
Two weeks ago we put out Anilogics minerals and attractants, and the first 3 images below came from those camera sites:
Tanner sent this buck also growing in VA:
Danny sent this image below, saying: “The Freak.” I don’t think this was caused by an injury though. I have noticed over the years that we have a few yearlings that will have a normal spike on the right side and then have a small mess on the left side.”
Finally, thanks to Dan H. for this cool mama and white fawn!
Some years ago Michigan biologist John Ozoga wrote a great book entitled, Whitetail Country. In it John points out that the first good-sized rubs–on trees 2 to 4 inches in diameter–that you find this September were made by bucks 3½ years or older to mark their home ranges and “to proclaim their control over a given area.”
Other bucks and does will see the fresh blazes, and they might come over and lick or rub their heads on them. Those deer will get a whiff of the rub maker’s fore-head and salivary scent, and they’ll know who’s living there large and in charge.
Finding clusters of rubs like that in September is a key strategy for your entire season. From late September through December, most of the bucks that blazed those rubs will spend 90 percent of their time on the same ridges and in the same bottoms where you find the sign.
So this fall, find the early rubs; scout out from them a couple hundred yards for the best food sources, trails, funnels and bedding thickets; and hang some tree stands on those strategic points. Hunt those stands smartly all season, without putting too much pressure on any one stand, and you’ll see bucks.
From our friend Wren, who manages and hunts for big, mature whitetails on a low-fence ranch in South Texas:
Mike: Photo of large non-typical taken on The Martinena out of Encinal by Lias Bubba Steen. His son Jennings is holding the buck.
Bubba, Jennings and Jeff Steen had been hunting the buck since he was seen during one of our helicopter surveys.
Bubba and Jennings saw this deer the evening before he was harvested. Sometime overnight, the buck had broken off another short “beam” and a large drop-tine with kickers.—Regards, Wren
Awesome buck, I would have loved to have seen that rack with a third beam and especially the drop! A buck breaking off points or even a beam overnight when a guy is hunting him happens more than you think, especially when the bucks are fighting in the rut. To me, this makes for a more interesting story, and gives a giant like this even more character.