North Dakota- I first encountered 6er (the buck I shot) in August on one of my trail cams. I had pictures of him twice in the same spot in August. Once velvet started shedding, he disappeared for 2 weeks. I finally got him back on cam September 13th on a camera a half mile south of this location. I was hunting September 13th where I originally had him pegged when he showed himself at this southern spot in shooting light. I already had a stand by my south camera, so I switched my focus to that stand for the next couple of weeks. Around October 16th he was finally more consistent by my stand and he showed up at last light twice on camera when I couldn’t hunt because of an unfavorable wind direction. We had a big cold front coming with high winds starting October 25th. I sat October 24th and saw 21 deer that night but unfortunately not him. October 25th, I had to sit again as the front was due to hit around 9pm but I didn’t see a single deer. I checked the hourly weather for the following day and between 6-7pm the wind was forecasted to go from 26mph to 13mph. I knew this might be the chance I needed to put this buck on the ground. After not seeing a deer the night before, I knew the deer were going to move once the wind started to die down. I climbed into my stand at 4:50pm on October 26th and at 6:05pm I saw my first deer coming up out of the draw.
There were 8 deer total in this group, all mule deer does and fawns. At 6:42pm I had a little 3x3 whitetail come out past me at 20yds and around 7pm I saw 2 bucks emerging from where the 3x3 came out. I grabbed my binoculars and took a quick look, they were head on and all I could see was that one was a dandy buck so I got ready. They came right in and stopped on the trail 20yds from me, and looked back behind them. I had a good look at them now and saw that it was a little 4x4 and a 140-145” 5x5. I had 3 does to the east of me about 30yds just browsing by this point also. As I turned back to look what the bucks were watching, I see a big deer coming out. I’m sky-lined bad in this stand (why I’m wearing snow camo) so I need to keep movement to a minimum more than usual. I already had my bow in hand and release hooked so all I had to do was draw. As the deer got closer I knew it was 6er. He continues heading up the trail when the little 4x4 turns and walks toward him. 6er stops about 5 steps short of my shooting lane. What seemed like 5 minutes was probably only 30 seconds as he stands there just out of my lane. As he’s standing there, a doe to the east of me starts blowing, and all I can think is, “you have got to be kidding me!”. She blows 3 times and to my luck, the 5x5 and 6er pay no attention to her. 6er takes a few steps right into my shooting lane. Only problem now is he’s behind the 5x5 so I have no shot. 6er turns and starts walking away and all I can think was no way this is happening. Right then, the little 4x4 starts coming back up the trail toward me and 6er stops and turns broadside. 6er and the 5x5 turn their heads away from me so I draw back and get settled on him. I had about 6 inches to clear the 5x5’s back to dead center 6er at 21yds. I touched the release on my trigger and watch my lighted nock find its mark. 6er tucks his tail and takes off, arrow still in him. I grab my binoculars quick as he’s running away and watch him stop and tip over straight backwards after about 70yds.
I immediately climbed down before I started really shaking and walked back to my truck to call for help. I waited for my 2 cousins about 35-40min before they finally showed up. By this time, it’s pitch black so we grabbed the headlamps and went to go get him. Walking up on that deer is something I will never forget as he was bigger than I thought, he had ground grow-age. It was high fives, hugs, tears and smiles all around. My 2 cousins with me taught me how to hunt so it was bittersweet they were with me to recover a deer of a lifetime. Still can’t believe it and it is my first deer over 120”. Just blessed that I was given the opportunity to kill a true giant that1 will look great on the wall for memories and stories to tell.