Next week we will be traveling across Wisconsin and filming hunters who have shot giant bucks, telling their stories and featuring their bucks for a special episode of BIG DEER TV to air later this fall. Here’s one of those bucks that appeared on the blog in 2010:
Tom Taylor has more than one reason to remember September 26, 2009. That was the day he was married—and the day a giant buck stepped in front of his trail camera. After Tom returned home from his Mexican honeymoon he retrieved the camera and couldn’t believe the image he saw. He named the gnarly-racked deer “Wedding Crasher.”
The 09 season came and went, and Tom never saw the buck. The next spring he looked for the huge sheds, to no avail. He worried the buck might have died over the winter.
Tom thought a lot about the buck and how to hunt him during the offseason. But in August, he became consumed with something much more important. He learned that his oldest brother, Jeff, who had never missed a deer season, had kidney cancer. Jeff would have to have his kidney removed. “As I was hanging my stands that summer I decided to dedicate my deer season to Jeff,” Tom says. “I prayed every day I was in a stand that my brother would recover.” Afterthought now, he hoped the Wedding Crasher had somehow survived the winter and might still be in the area.
Tom got his answer on October 6, 2010 when the tremendous non-typical posed for another picture on his camera. “At least I knew he was alive,” says Tom. “But I kind of forgot about him after that, figuring I would never see him in daylight.”
That would all change on the morning of November 2, which began in a weird way. On the way to his stand, a small twig plucked a contact lens from Tom’s eye. He forged on, but started to second guess his decision when it got light. “Scanning the brush with one good eye and one that is blurry is not a lot of fun,” he says.
Around 7:45 a.m. Tom heard a deer approaching from downhill of his position. He figured it was a small buck, but he got up, drew his bow and turned to look just in case.
The Wedding Crasher was point blank! With his good eye, Tom put the sight pin on the buck’s vitals. When the giant stopped at 15 yards, Tom hit the release and watched the arrow hit behind the shoulder. The monster ran about 50 yards and lay down.
Shaking, Tom watched the behemoth with his binoculars for about 10 minutes. Suddenly the deer got up on wobbly legs, walked 5 yards and lay back down. A few minutes later he got up again and wobbled out sight! Tom began to second guess. “I was just numb,” he recalls. “Did I really shoot that big deer? Will I get him?
He stayed on stand another hour, hoping to give the buck plenty of time to expire. It was Election Day. He decided to slip out, go vote and give the deer even more time. “At the polls I got worked into a frenzy thinking about the buck,” says Tom.
Finally, around noon, he went back. He couldn’t find the arrow, so he followed the blood trail toward where he last saw the giant. There he was! The Wedding Crasher was even bigger and more impressive on the ground.
After getting the buck out of the woods, Tom had one thing on his mind—go show his brother. But when he got to Jeff’s house no one was there. Jeff had been readmitted to the hospital. Sadly, on the day Tom Taylor was to share the most exciting day of bowhunting in his life, the doctors told the family that Jeff would have precious days left on Earth.
Jeff Taylor died 6 days later at the age of 52, and although he never laid eyes on Tom’s buck, a friend of the family showed him a picture of it before he passed.
The giant non-typical gross-scored 233 6/8, with a Pope and Young official net of 226 4/8”, making it one of Wisconsin’s top 5 all-time archery non-typicals.
For Tom Taylor, shooting the record-book Wedding Crasher was bittersweet. He says, “I know that somehow Jeff had a hand in all of this. Jeff, this is for you, man!”