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?