Illinois: Goetten Buck “Monster of Mass”

goetten buck compressed

One time at an outdoor show I bumped into Illinois hunter Chad Goetten, who pulled out this picture of the giant he had shot the previous fall. My jaw dropped. I was amazed then, and still am 10 years later. One of the most impressive wild bucks I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a bunch of big deer in 30 years of writing and blogging about them.

The mass on the 234 7/8-inch, 25-point rack is just freaky: 7-inch bases, and thick as a beer can all way out through the main beams. The 8 mass measurements total nearly 55 inches. Boone and Crockett says the Goetten Buck will go down as one of the top whitetail racks ever recorded in terms of total mass.

“The rack alone weighed 10 pounds,” Chad told me. Think about that. This buck had ghosted around the woods and fields of Jersey County for 5 or 6 years, and at least 2 of those years wearing a rack that weighed 10 pounds. The deer was only seen 2 times that we know of. Amazing!

The story of the Goetten Buck confirms 3 things I’ve been writing/blogging about all these years:

One: On Nov. 18, 2002, Chad missed the buck with an arrow on his father-in-law’s farm. On Nov. 22 the following year, he killed him with a slug from a stand 100 yards from the miss site. You need to remember that most big, mature bucks like this are homebodies. And the older they get, the smaller their core areas get.

Two: Chad saw Monster of Mass exactly 2 times—the day he missed him, and a year later the day he killed him. Chad’s father-in-law roamed the farm every day back then, and he had never seen the giant. Nobody else in the county had seen the deer either. Chad would have heard the stories about this giant around town. A lot of 5-year-old, world-class bucks are secretive and nocturnal every day and all year, until a hot doe puts them on their feet in daylight for only a few hours one day in the November rut.

Note: I don’t think Chad was using trail cameras on the farm back then. Today, he might have gotten a few cam pictures of the giant. But I’ll bet the images would have been few and far between and all at night. This buck had a secretive personality.

Three: Forget all the pros and big talkers you see on Sportsman or Outdoor Channel. Most of the world’s biggest wild bucks are shot by everyday hunters like Chad during their week of fall vacation. And that’s the way it should be.

Where does Chad’s Monster of Mass rank on your wow factor?

Indiana Man Stalk-Crawls 185” Buck!

 

in mercer buck 2013

Today’s guest blog is written by Dean Weimer:

Roy Mercerr’s “Bed of Pain Buck”

Indiana hunter Roy Mercerr got to his 152-acre hunting area considerably late on the morning of November 18, 2013. He parked his vehicle, and he and a buddy set out quickly on a familiar trail toward their chosen stands. They might be late, but at least the north wind was right, blowing their scent back toward the road.

A short while into their hike Mercerr looked to his right, down into a low bedding area where a week earlier during the bow season he had spooked a big buck. He saw a huge set of antlers atop a buck that was lying in the middle of several blow downs! The buck had not seen the hunters, so they quickly and quietly lay down flat, which was no small fete for Roy (more on that in a bit). “I thought this might be the same buck, but I wasn’t 100% sure,” says Roy.

This time the buck was approximately 100 yards from the hunters, facing due east. Roy thought he might be able to pull off a crawl and stalk.  But here is where the troubled started.

Back in 2002 Roy broke his back while carrying rafters on a construction job. He has had several procedures on his back since, and to say that he has a tough time being agile and mobile is an understatement. Crawling especially is a near impossible activity for Roy. But he was looking at the buck-of-a-lifetime, and we all know what those kinds of bucks can make us do.

Mercerr was trying to point out the buck’s location to his buddy, who couldn’t see it at first. Roy crawled over to help his friend get a bead on the buck, and with the sun rising over the trees, his bud finally saw the sun glinting off the thick rack above the blow downs.

Roy whispered that he was going to try and crawl up on the buck. When he got close enough for a clear shot, he’d raise his hand. That would be the signal for his buddy to grunt one time on his call. Hopefully the buck would stand up and give Roy a good shot.

“I was already on my knees, and I prayed to God to help me kill this buck,” Roy says.

The crawl started around 9:30 that morning. Mercerr slowly and methodically worked his way toward the buck on the damp woods floor. He was in excruciating pain, crawling through thick brush and briars and over logs, but he was determined. “I was hurting,” he says.

Using only his feet and hands, holding his shotgun flat in his right hand, Roy worked his way slowly toward the buck. It was thick in there, and tough to see. After a while Roy rose up a bit and peeked to see where he was–and saw a piece of the rack right there! Amazingly he had crawled to within 10 feet of the bedded buck, which still had no idea he was there.

Roy noticed about a one-by-two foot opening in the thick blow downs to the top of the buck’s vital area. He gave his buddy the hand signal; the guy grunted, but the buck didn’t hear it. He hit the call again, louder. Mercerr was aiming his shotgun at the buck through the small window in the brush when the deer started to move just a bit. Roy decided it was then or never. His first nearly point-blank shot grazed the top of the buck’s vitals, but the second shot hit its mark.

Not too long after the hunt I unofficially green-scored the buck at 185 4/8” non-typical. The buck’s most distinctive characteristic is its mass. The 11-point rack racked up nearly 44” of total mass, with the left side H-3 measuring just shy of 7.” Main beams are 23 3/8” right, and 25 2/8” left. Inside spread is 18 2/8” and the collection of 4 forked tines and a single sticker point that shoots from the right main beam toward the middle of the rack combine to add 25 2/8” of non-typical antler.—Dean Weimer

Should an Illuminated Arrow Nock Disqualify this 188” Buck from the Record Book?

WI sean 2009

Got this from Sean on Facebook yesterday:

“Just wanted to share a story and some photos with you about a buck I was lucky enough to harvest in the 2009 bow season in Wisconsin. This old guy scored 188 6/8″ non-typical and was aged at 9 years old by the taxidermist. Because this buck was shot with a ‘lighted nock’ it is not eligible to be entered into the Pope and Young book. In the end I could really care less because it is the trophy of my lifetime. But what is your take on that ruling?”—Sean G.

First off, that is a dream buck. Look at the incredible mass. The 3 drops that I so desire, 2 of them off a third beam. Beautiful dark antler coloration. Just awesome man, one of the coolest racks we’ve ever posted on Big Deer, and we’ve posted a bunch of cool racks the last 6 years.

Now to the P&Y rule of fair chase that Sean is talking about: An animal is not eligible for the archery record book if killed “by the use of electronic devices for attracting, locating or pursuing game or guiding the hunter to such game, or by the use of a bow or arrow to which any electronic device is attached.”

I told Sean that while I commend the club’s commitment to “ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit of free-ranging wild game animals in a manner which does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the animal” I do believe this ”technology rule” is outdated, vague and arbitrary. Does an illuminated nock really give an honest and skilled hunter like Sean an unfair advantage as he holds it together and makes a lethal shot on a 9-year-old 188” monster of a lifetime? No. And I would argue that a lighted nock is not an electronic, at least not in the common sense of the term.

What if you use GPS to pin and guide you to your tree stands…trail cameras to pattern bucks… a laser rangefinder to range a big deer before you shoot it?

Bowhunters have been discussing and fussing about the P&Y rules for years. This comment from a hunter at an archery forum pretty much sums it up for me:

“This discussion will go on forever. The P&Y rules have become ridiculous and do not flow with how hunting is done nowadays… Is a trail camera a part of it? If I use a flashlight to find the deer does that mean it can’t be put into P&Y? Almost all of the bows out there are set at 70% let off and above… The rules are dumb and I think the folks running it need to get with the times. Maybe more people would like it.”

What do you say?

Nebraska: Rut-Crazed Bow Buck, 175”

NE connor 2013 buck

Today’s guest blog is from Connor J. Chance-Ossowski, who shot this great buck on October 30 last year in south-central Nebraska:

My stand is located in dense woods on a transition point between a bedding and a feeding area. In 2013, I harvested a mature 4×4 out of the same stand on October 26th. It’s safe to say the last week of October is and will always be my favorite time to hunt.

I believe one weather condition—the first true cold front of the year—helped with my recent success. When a cold front occurs in this area in the fall, we typically get heavy fog and humidity, and cooler temperatures. This is when I’ve observed the first heavy rutting activity; the deer movement seems to pick up with the foggy conditions. This has happened the last two years during the last week of October, and I believe it has been a big part of why I’ve shot the two mature bucks out of this area.

Plus, who doesn’t love being in your tree stand with fog swirling around? I will always love these foggy conditions while I’m in a stand.

The temperature was in the mid-30s, with the fog and a light drizzle. I climbed into my stand around 4 o’ clock…7:29 was sunset on October 30. It wasn’t very long until I started to see rutting deer, the first rutting activity I had seen all year.

Around 5:15, two young bucks chased does around…then another buck came by…and they kept getting bigger…around 6pm, a mature 5×5 came to 30 yards, on a hot trot for a doe. I grunted to try to catch his attention, but nothing was going to get his mind off the hot doe. I couldn’t get a shot as the deer moved away.

I sat there frustrated, and turned my attention to a flock of 15-20 turkeys that were crossing the creek 125 yards to the south of my stand. Then I got an idea. I’d blow a series of challenging grunts on my Extinguisher call. Maybe I’d get the buck’s attention, and he’d turn around and come back my way.

As I grunted for about two minutes, I watched the turkeys. Suddenly they began to spook and fly, and I saw why. A big buck was coming on a dead sprint! He ran down the bank, crossed the creek and was coming up on my side. I had called in a different buck! And likely the largest I’ll ever get a crack at with my bow.

Once he got to my side of the creek, I gave another low grunt, and that is what he wanted to hear. It wasn’t a run and it wasn’t a walk, but the buck came on a confident, cocky trot on a path that led directly to my stand. I shook and tried to maintain focus. When he got to 15 yards, with his head hidden behind a small tree, I decided to pull back on my bow.

Just then the buck dipped his head out from behind the tree and looked directly up at me as I finished my draw. He and I had a stare down for a good 30 seconds. My heart was beating out of my chest, and I knew I had busted him. Whether it was luck or prayers answered, something got his attention, and he forgot about me just long enough to look and turn broadside. I released the arrow, and the rest is history.

It had happened so fast that all I knew about the buck’s rack was that the main beams curled around until they almost touched. I had not noticed the split brow tines on his right side, what would have been a triple left brow tine, or all of the points he ended up having. He had 19 countable points, 10 on his left side and 9 on the right. I could not believe the sight of those antlers when I laid my hands on them for the first time. He rough-scored 175 ¾”.

From the adrenaline that flowed through my veins the moment I saw the buck, to the time he crossed the creek, to staring into his eyes for 30 seconds, to finally getting off the shot… It will be a hunt I will never forget. And to top it off, I was lucky enough to have my father, who introduced me to the outdoors at an early age, there with me to share the moment and to help get the giant out of the woods.—Thanks, Connor

Great buck and awesome story. And there are some solid lessons here to remember for next season, as I have blogged about and said on TV many times:

–October 26-31 is one of the best weeks to bowhunt anywhere in North America, regardless of weather, moon phase, etc. In this “hard pre-rut” the mature bucks start to roam and look for does, and they are ready to fight.

–The first true cold front of October gets the deer moving; when the first front happens to occur the last week of October, bingo, conditions are perfect.

–Most hunters don’t grunt enough, especially in the pre-rut the last week of October and first week of November. During lulls in the action, try blowing a one or two-minute series of long and fairly loud “challenging grunts” from your stand, like Connor did that afternoon. You might pull in a buck looking for trouble.

VIDEO: Texas Drop Tine Buck

A few weeks ago, our friend Wren sat in a new stand location on the ranch he hunts in South Texas and filmed this beautiful drop tine buck, which he aged at 3.5 / 4.5, in a sendero. “I filmed another really nice main frame 10 with a drop one weekend, too,” he said. “Can’t help but think about you each time I see one of these unique racks.”

There seems to be a strong drop-tine genetic on that ranch, and Wren has invited me down to hunt there next year. I am going to take him up on it. My desire for a drop-tine buck still burns deep.