Deer stories are tough. They just don't have the same romance that an active hunt out west or up north has. They're kind of dry in comparison. More chess and less "well hell let's just go after him!" kind of thing. Either way, I'll give it a go. What else do I have to do while waiting on a baby.
And thus begins this 2021 story; of "Feeling the Pinch." I chose this title for two reasons. 1) I am anxiously awaiting a baby boy with a due date of Nov 10 and knew my deer hunting days were numbered, and 2) for my recent near complete conversion to saddle hunting. With the saddle fit I had last year, I would often "feel the pinch."
In order to tell the story properly I'll need to back up to last year, where there is a farm I haven't hunted much because it is basically a large bluff. Difficult to hunt without blowing deer out that can wind you. Anyways, they were feeding on the East side of it, so I thought I'd go in really early one October morning and dive into it from the West side. I had a trail camera in the middle of the bush in basically the only opening I'd found in it the past winter. Not much of an opening, just the bush was a little thinner.
Anyways, I am walking in there at O dark thirty and just as I near the bush edge I hear a deer jump up and run into the bush. It was running towards where I believed that opening to be. I had this funny thought of: "Well it would be really cool if it went past that camera and I got a photo of it lol.
Well I went and hunted that morning and when I checked the camera you would not believe what I found. The deer that I had spooked in the morning HAD in fact run past that camera, and it was insane.
This deer was ridiculous. Never in my life had I had pictures of a deer like this. I nearly fell out of my skin seeing something like that. Just a wall of tines!
I immediately placed a few more cameras on the fringes of the bush. Being October, I did not want to crash into the timber. Scared I would relocate the buck. I had permission to hunt the southern 2/3 of the bush, and there was another person hunting the East side. I didn't immediately hunt the buck, but wanted to learn a little more about him.
In the following weeks I learned this buck knew exactly what he was doing. He would generally feed on the East side, but would exit out the west side. After exiting the west side, he would circle the bluff heading around the south side before heading north up the west side. With the piece of timber being 190 yards across at this point, it made it impossible to set in the timber in any wind and NOT have him wind you. To make matters worse, he went to bed early in the morning as I had experienced that first morning I bumped him. Now sometimes, we would go feed before legal time was over, but I couldn't see a way to ambush him the way he was doing what he was doing.
Of course my brother and I bat all kinds of strategies etc around. In talking with him, he suddenly realized that he in fact had pictures of this same buck from the year prior. He had gotten them about a mile and a half away. The buck was considerably smaller, but obviously the same deer. We guesstimated using the two data sets that this year (2020) the buck was almost certainly 4.5 years old. He had also made a giant leap from 2019 to 2020.
Now if you know me, I'm not the kind of guy to tell people to "leave him another year." I'm more of the "if he trips your trigger, squeeze the trigger" mentality. The buck was being hunted on all sides. Yet, I couldn't shake the thinking that this deer could potentially be something insane in another year. Besides, I had unfinished business the a most likely 9 year old bush buck that I could just never nail down. This 6 was also not making things easy with the his feed/bed pattern.
I decided to focus my efforts again on the old heavy bush warrior.
A photo of the old bush warrior near a scrape. This a 2019 photo. They don’t do his mass justice. I hunted the buck for 4 years and only saw him for the first time the 3rd year. I hate hunted bush bucks, I’m not that great at it I’ve learned. I do much better in the ag lands. the guys that can kill big bucks in the heavy timber have my utmost respect.
Like in the years prior. Hi whipped me. I seen him twice, and could have taken an iffy shot, but elected to wait. In 2019 I had my chance but screwed up when my top limb hit my bow hanger on the shot and he was at 18 yards. Sent one sailing over his back. Never to be seen that year again.
After some seriously frustrating bush hunting I decided to head back to the ag and give a new spot a go I had yet to hunt.
It was the evening of Nov 12, it was scary cold, and I was starting to feel the pinch. There's only a couple weeks left, and I hadn't had many great hunts. I hung my saddle in a big oak tree in a windrow that overlooked a hay field that does like to frequent. Early in the night I saw what looked to be a good buck a half mile away across a mile road run out and check a doe. I rattled, seemingly to no avail. I had my boss buck set up 20 yards to the South of me, facing me. About an hour later I watch about 8 does filter out in to the hay roughly 150 years west of me. Shortly thereafter I see a buck marching across the hay field on the north side of me (I am in an east/west windrow between two hay fields, one north and one south) He is on a B line to where those does are so I rattle at him to try and change his course. I had to act fast, so I hardly looked at his rack. In the moment I saw him he looked good and I remember seeing a bladed brow. Unable to turn him, he vanished from sight behind a long section of scrub brush that met up with the windrow I was in.
A mere minute or two later I saw him burst into the group of does on the S side of the windrow. All night long one had been acting funny, and he hooked her out and they headed......my way.
With the decoy out, and the wind right, I knew my chances were good. Long story short, he worked right in, and after sitting in the freezing wind and negative temps all night, I didn't make a great shot. He was quartering to a bit, and about to take out the Boss buck.
I left him in the field that night, and came back 4 hours later. Matt and I found him alive, and when we saw his eyes light up in the bush I got a glimpse at his rack. It looked to be a fairly average 2.5-3.5 Canadian 5x5. A good buck, but about a 120 or so. Well, it wasn't what I was hoping for, but things happen fast sometimes I guess I misjudged in the moment. I had had high hopes for this year, because of a job change I had more time to hunt than ever.
We accidentally bumped him out, so I decided to come back in the morning. In the morning I came back with a good friend and took up the trail from where we bumped him. I painstakingly followed his tracks for another 600 yards to where he finally lay. He was still alive, but unable to move. Only his chest rose and fell. I dispatched the buck, pleasantly surprised that in the lights at night I was unable to see his G2's and instead of finding a fairly average 5x5 I was now standing over a very nice 6x6!
All the while my thoughts kept returning to the wide 6x6 in that bluff. He had disappeared from pictures and I wondered where he went. Would he survive? All i had left to do was hope.
Which brings about 2021. As you now know, by late spring I knew it would most likely be a year like none other. A baby due in the rut, I would have to plan differently. I managed to plan a moose hunt, and basically put all my eggs in that basket. Our moose spot is a good one. I should come back with a bull, and if I got a moose, that would already be a great hunting season.
Summer came around and time to once again visit to the wonderful landowners that allow me to hunt. The I've hunted most of these places multiple years. They always say "Oh sure of course" and almost seem surprised that I ask again, but you know how it goes. The spot with the big 6x6 was my least concern as they were a friend/coworkers parents. I stopped by and was absolutely floored to find they'd sold the house and the land.
I immediately cursed myself for "saving" the buck another year. I NEVER do that! WHY did I do that?! There are always so many variables involved and what a dummie I had been. Anyways, I managed to get the name of the individual who bought the property who sounded like a fairly large farmer. Not something I've had great luck with in the past. I gave him a call as I had no idea where he lived. What was working in my favour is that the transaction was fresh, and hopefully no one else had moved in.
I called a few times with no answer. With no other option I left a message. Cringe. #1 in person, #2 phone, anything else is a distant #5. To my surprise I got a call back when I was away and message left on my phone to go ahead and hunt!
Overjoyed I managed to get ahold of him later, thank him profusely and made sure to pay him a visit about a week later. A bunch of meat gifts turned into about an hour long conversation about hunting and food field to table etc. Went really well and he offered me other fields to goose hunt, though I'd have no time for that this year. Super nice family and great people to meet.
And then the biggest surprise of all... ( I have to post picture posts separately from my phone)
I had left a SPYPOINT Link camera on a scrape on the field edge last fall. I had last put Kirkland AA batteries in there in like October. Well the thing had amazingly still been sending the odd picture throughout the winter and into spring/summer. Literally the DAY I get permission I get a photo of the giant 6x6 sent to me lol. AN YOU BELIEVE IT? This big buck was most likely been bumped from his bed and now was walking along the edge of the canola field to find a new spot for the day
I found a couple things very interesting. #1 - I couldn't believe that camera was still working. #2 - the buck looked nearly identical to the year prior from a quick observation other than #3 - there looked to be some serious junk coming off of his bases.
Late summer found me setting up more cameras than I ever had. I like cameras, but I don't rely on them if you know what I mean. They're good, but they tell a fraction of the story. My problem was, that I had put all my eggs into this years moose basket. It would take a large amount of time, and my season would be short with the baby coming. I knew September would see no hunting time, and I would be ready to go in October. I figured I could count on an over/under of 6 whitetail hunts before potentially the biggest blessing I've had in 7 years came along, or it was just too difficult to hunt at that time. In my mind, if things went really well, maybe early November could offer up a hunt or two, but that would be bonus time.
By setting up 4 cameras along the fringes of the property on the side I could hunt on, some pictures started rolling in. I'd get about 1 every 4 days from the buck, though not necessarily doing the same thing.
Then another game changer. When going to hang cameras, I found where the neighbouring landowner had cut a new quad trail in the bush more or less parallel to an edge of the field, but about 20 yards into the bush.
I figured for sure the buck would use this to scent check the edge from the security of cover. I remember telling my brother “I’m gonna kill him on that trail! He’s so done!” I finally thought there was a piece that gave me an advantage I’d never had before on this buck.
I hung a camera on it to see if he’d use it and a day later got a picture of him.
I would get a picture of him on that trail every week or so, which was indicative of high use to me. The trail is fairly long and I had no clue how often he was hitting a different part of the trail. A camera only covers such a small window. At this point I had set up whatever cameras I had and was simply waiting - while every extra moment was spent getting ready to moose hunt.
Was out in moose camp from the 15th to 23rd. Spent the week building a cabin from scratch and the weather was unseasonably warm. We went early, had loads of wolf tracks in the area, tons of time spent building and the crazy warm temps and a full moon made for a slow moose hunt. My buddy whacked a great MB bull with a rifle one night, but I never had a chance at one. No calling, and hardly any movement. Oh well, it was a very fun hunt, we had a sweet cabin for next time, and I still got half a moose of great meat! For the first time ever after a major trip I took the next day off work and dealt with the meat. What a great feeling to have everything wrapped, ground, and in the freezer by the end of the day instead of dragging along all week every night.
Getting all that work done quickly also made for better life on the home front and allowed me to get to scouting this buck quicker. Sep 30 found me inside my truck behind the glass on the edge of the property. Well before dark a beautiful 7x5 came out. Then shortly after, out comes the one I’d been waiting for. I’ll attach video of both of these bucks. Interestingly enough, the big 6 walked out and fed for a few minutes before bedding. He even fed on the winter wheat while bedded! I’d never seen that before. It seems he is a lazy king!
Ordinarily, the 7x5 would have been a deer that would have been worthy of my efforts, but with the history and size of this 6x6 I could not let my focus slip. I knew which buck the 7x5 was as well. I figure he is either 4.5 or 5.5 years old this year. Last year he did not have the inside tine, but sported about a 9" blade coming up from one base beside his brow.
This is again where I must come back to trail cameras. While helpful, this one night of scouting did more for me than months of running multiple cameras. They simply cannot replace scouting. I do believe that cameras save more big bucks lives than they kill. The number of times I hear from bow hunters that the buck they are after “isn’t coming by regular” or they “aren’t getting much on cams” makes me chuckle inside. I basically shifted every camera I had to this small property and even so, I would only get pictures of this buck nearly twice a week. And my cameras were in primo locations. But after a couple nights of scouting I was convinced this buck was in the winter wheat 95% of nights. And in shootable hours too.
What really got interesting, is that over the course of a couple nights of scouting, trail camera usage etc I noticed he would use two areas to enter this one inside corner to feed. What didn’t make sense, is that when I checked the wind direction, it wasn’t like he was looping downwind before entering the field. He would enter with about a dozen other deer, so maybe there was safety in numbers, but he was acting SO differently than last year.
He would feed well into daylight, seemingly without caring about the wind, then waltz into the field and bed down.
I also can't understate how big of a game changer it was when the farmer planted winter wheat. It became the go-to food source. Even over the beans that were planted on the north side. Every deer in the bluff was utilizing it. It kept him anchored on the piece that I had permission on, though I was guessing he was bedding off my permission and into the neighbors. But I left the bush alone and didn't worry about it. The plan was to get him on the feed as he was so regular.
I decided I knew enough to pull the pin on a hunt. They seemed to enter the inside corner, feed for 30-60 minutes, and then the whole herd would work it’s way south. My plan was to hunt on a NW wind ideally and I went to “Stand 1” location. I was about 100 yards from the corner, and my plan was to get a shot as they worked their way south after initially feeding in the inside corner.
As I hung in my saddle, feeling “less pinch” than last year due to a different saddle, my heart rate averages about 120bpm (measured) with nothing in the field. I knew he would come out, and felt incredibly confident this could happen.
Guess who pops out as first deer in the field? HOLY $h…!!!!
He was feeding about 100 yards away, but working my way. I was texting a few close friends and my brother to add to the excitement. More deer add to the mix, and the group slowly fed my way with the 6x6 towards the back, when out of NOWHERE my N wind switched to an East wind. Blowing into the field. I had a few inches of zipper open on my attack pants and I felt it instantly through the mesh. NO, no, no, no! I remember thinking I am screwed if this holds! Double check windy, double check the weather network…nowhere calls of east winds….but lo and behold a doe and fawn work their way into the edge of my scent stream.
I cringe and hold my breath….there it is, she should hit it right about now….sure enough – up comes the nose, a quick blast and they jog back to the group tail up! All deer are on high alert, but eventually go back to feeding. Only thing now is, they start to move NW instead of S. My initial hope was to shoot the buck, and if not, exit after they moved South of me, but I knew it was a gamble. A gamble that now screwed me as the big buck bed at the bush edge in the inside corner until well after dark. Now what to do? I slowly got down with my saddle and platform, and left my sticks attached to the tree knowing I had another set at home. Once down and pitch black, I did my best coyote howl and moved out into the field. Hearing a snort or two, I knew I’d cleared the field and hoped they did not connect it to human behavior.
October 9 found me scouting again to look for more patterns.
Once again he comes out and does not disappoint. Vacuuming the winter wheat. once again he beds in the field shortly after entering the field. Before dark, he fed over to the bush edge and beds again. The 7x5 comes over to him to spar. He doesn't even get up while sparring. This thing is lazy to the supreme!
Then suddenly, like a bad thought always does, I start to wonder...what if he's hurt? What if someone gut shot him? The poaching pressure in this area in unreal, and he is waaay to visible. I hope he doesn't die!
Heart rate is through the roof. I picked a new tree as I often do. I had to saw a couple branches unfortunately, but this tree is so perfect. Couldn't be in a better location and loads of cover which is super rare here. Today is the day. Heart rate climbing. Setup can't be better. Tonight is the night. If I've ever felt it, I feel it now.
Oct. 10 was NOT the night. No idea what the deal was. Weather was misty, visibility was low, had a doe and a fawn come out at 20 yards and that was it. I thought the weather was big buck weather. The field was eerily empty. Had they heard me set up? No idea. So strange.
Oct 11. Trail camera pic comes in. Lazy pants is in the field…bedded again. A doe came by and tripped the camera. I can only assumed we walked right out the trail I was sitting last night. Agh!!! So close and yet so far.
I completely forgot that on the 1st sit I had to restrain myself and pass the 7x5 a 40 yards as he came to meet the group of deer. He came from the south and came past me and stopped broadside in my window. Biggest deer I'd ever passed. I figure he is into the 150's gross.
October 16, N Wind. Back at it, same spot. It’s a numbers game now. Got to play the odds. Only problem is deer are no longer exiting the field. So every hunt is a risk reward gamble. I’ll have to blow them out to leave.
It’s mid October. Baby due in 3.5 weeks…….pre-rut unpredictable behaviour starting in roughly 4-10 days………starting to feel the pinch
West wind tonight crom field directly into the bush. I gamble that deer won’t be bedding directly in from where I hang. From the tree I don’t see much. A spiker walks parallel to the bush edge coming from the S. He gets to 20 but is constantly looking back where he came. I keep straining to see that way. Nothing comes until…..
….darkness. The spiker works back the way he came. I sneak to the edge and glass to the south. Close to a dozen bodies out there. One big one. Is it him? I can’t tell….too dark. I try and sneak out. Don’t notice anything take off. Maybe, just maybe tonight wasn’t a negative on the scorecard, although I still left scent going in and out.
In my recollections I am missing a couple nights of scouting. I scouted 4 times before Oct 18. Every night he was out.
October 18. The weather is nasty. Cold front. You know what they say about october cold fronts. Weather is just above freezing. Very windy. Raining. East Wind. Ugly. Pure ugly. Big buck weather. Sometimes I have found on nights like these nothing moves except the big boy.
I grab my saddle, platform, and a few sticks and plan to hang on the west side of the inside corner he frequents. The idea being to shoot him should be enter the field using that north access which he has favored recently according to my scouting nights. Upon arrival, I can't find a tree in a suitable location and end up having to hang about 100 yards north into the timber. Kind of a random spot but I hummed and hawed and this was the best I could think of.
Now before I left I was talking to my good buddy who shot the moose above and he asks me: "What are you gonna do if the other big buck comes by?" He knows my timeline, and he knows I am running up close to the end of it. "I can't do it." I reply. A number of years back I had a buck I hunted for 5 years suddenly be pretty regular. There was another god buck in the area as well. I had been on a nearly 5 year dry spell, and decided I would shoot either buck. Of course I shot the smaller one. Chances were actually better to shoot the bigger one as he was more predictable, but I nailed the other one. A great buck, but the big one got poached at night a couple weeks later. It went 172, and it hurt. I didn't quite realize he was that big, even at 9 or 10 years old. He never changed much since his prime. I had shot the #2 once before, this time I felt I needed to stick it out.
Well I sat all night and saw nothing until about 40 mins before dark who steps out and walks beside the quad trail and comes by at 25 yards absolutely perfectly? You guessed it - the 7x5. OUCH!!!! Man he was a hard buck to pass, and with so little time remaining on my clock! He ended up circling all around me, finally catching a whiff, but not able to nail me down in the nasty weather. The saddle helped me remain hidden as I hid behind the tree. I saw a bear later in the sit that cut my wind and came to the tree before bolting. I also had an empty bear tag......but like HUNT told me when I texted him that I had a chicken in range on a different night....stay focused! lol
As I left that night I was walking through the field when I noticed deer coming from the North. I pancaked and spent 15 minutes within 100 yards of the big 6x6 as they fed in the field. Eventually I had to break things up in the darkness and finally leave. The wind was good, I hope I didn't spook him.
The cameras tell me he has gone back to the inside corner the following night…once again while I am not there.
He’s got my number!!! Is he winding me when I set up? How is it that the ONLY nights he DOESN’T frequent this corner seem to be the ones I hunt? Is it coincidence?
I start to realize the pattern is breaking. Over the past week the herd has completely changed their routine feeding pattern. They’re feeding south, north, and not at all on my side. My “sure thing” is over. I am sliding down the back half of a bell curve. The chances are slipping. It hurts to face reality.
October 20th and 21st bring clear stable weather. Cold and crispy. Highs of about 6 degrees celsius. Beautiful deer hunting October weather. The 21st looks like NW winds. Maybe I can make that day work. Should I bring a decoy? How do I increase the odds?
Mentally I am nearly in full gamble territory now. One more hunt. I'll do one more before I go full gamble and decoy. Decoy is a gamble, because with that many deer, the most likely scenario is something else approaches it first, and the gig is up. This buck also doesn't appear at all aggressive. Back against the wall, but a little more patience needed. Give it a go.
Oct 21, I return to the same tree "Stand 2" on my drawing where I initially thought it was going to happen. What the heck. Might as well. I mean I prayed. I'm not gonna lie. We all do it. The selfish prayer. God I know I'm selfish, but ya know it would be really nice.... lol But if I don't tell him how I feel, then it wasn't really vocalized ya know?
Anyways, it's a beauuuuuutiful night. Check it out:
I'm going to throw up some pictures here. There are some crazy aspects to the kill that I will fill in later. All the bedding in the field started to make sense after some further analysis.
Disclosure: There simply wasn't a way to take pictures of this deer that made him look as big as he really is. One of those weird ones. He is so paranormally wide that it makes everything else look small. With a gigantic body, it only further caused that illusion. The buck is a once-in-a-lifetime animal and I had no part in growing it. I was simply lucky enough to hunt a property that he called home. So, so, lucky.
But first, I might as well take you along as I walked up to him for the first time. I made a call or two from the tree as I let the nerves settle down. My buddy Manny called me back as I ended the video. I knew he was working but I called him anyways! lol
When the buck came out I ranged him at 36. Mentally locked in at 35, and then he walked a couple yards. I held a shade low in case he ducked, and ended up drilling him through the leg bone, through ribs and cut his heart.
Bottom of the heart I presume. I remember hearing the smack and thinking I was high enough and thinking that it went deep enough but then he started to run. At about the time I thought he should stops he seemed to go another 20 yards. He went 90 on a full sprint before tipping. A few last breaths of steam in the sunset light and we went to join the light.
I remember thinking the arrow looked to be about 3” above brisket, wouldn’t want to be any lower. He never ducked at the shot
I’ve come to like the Paul brothers for their posts. This was better, Congrats! Is this how the Conn. live hunts go? I put Mikes moose hunt up thinking we were done with all those great stories. This was great
Thanks guys. I still think...and stare at the buck in disbelief. I could never have imagined having the opportunity to hunt a buck of this caliber. And then to get him....on a truncated season yet. So utterly thankful. The buck really, when I look at him is just crazy. All season long when I shared photos with friends or talked about him, people would ask me: "What do you think he scores?"
I would tell myself he was smaller than he was, while score is nice because it is a measurable comparison, I really don't care. I just love how mature deer look. But I knew if there was a year where I didn't get him it might be this year, so I wanted to mentally soften the blow to myself if it didn't happen lol. Even so, after looking at him in person , and in pictures, he really knocks your socks off when you stand beside him and stare. These pictures are great, but they actually don't do him justice. Or maybe it's because I never look at deer of that caliber. Either way, I am obviously still on a high and can't believe it.
Thanks for the kind comments everyone. I knew I would need to write something up on him. It was a cool 2 year journey, with quite the cat and mouse this year. Now we can all wait for T-roy to kill 2 bucks bigger than this in 2021.
Wow, just WOW! What an amazing buck! Incredible story and well told! Love hearing about your history with a giant like this and that you were able to finally outsmart him and make a solid shot! Congratulations! Well done!
Oh, and definitely plenty of “romance”!
Looking forward to what you find on his back end there.
The Good Lord was certainly smiling down on you for this one!
As a whitetail nut, I loved the story. Again, congrats on a very impressive buck! You also provide instruction on how to be careful hunting an warrior of a buck. You can never be too careful, but then sometimes you just have to take a chance. Well done!
Man oh man!! Incredible buck and some great story telling. You are correct that pictures don't do a very wide rack justice. Wide racks need to be seen in person to fully appreciate. Congratulations on "sealing the deal" on a buck that most deer hunters dream. Also, hope all goes well with the upcoming delivery! Having that buck in the freezer should make it easier to focus on the joy of having a baby.
Just thinking back through some of the amazing adventures you and your brother have shared on the bowsite, I’m gonna have to just make a special trip up to Manitoba to meet you and Matt in person and spend some time just kicking back and listening to your stories in person. It would be well worth the price of admission!
Congratulations Apauls! Great deer and great write-up. Makes u wonder how that injury affected his movements! Such amazingly tough critters! Btw…it appears as though u r running a whisker biscuit, why would u do that to yourself? :)
Thanks again guys. Dean, I really do believe the injury altered his movements in a manner that gave me an advantage I didn't have before. It seemed like he was moving from bed to feed in a far more direct manner than he had in years past. As with any study, if not in a contained environment you can't really isolate the one variable, but my gut says it played a big part. Maybe he liked the safety in numbers, or maybe after living there for a couple years he just felt really comfortable. But I doubt it.
For a deer of that age status to NOT use the wind as often as he didn't, just mystified me. In one way, it made him more difficult to shoot, because there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to when he would come out where. On a north wind I would have expected him to loop more from a southern position before feeding back up into the wind, or at least to check the field. Meanwhile sometimes on a north wind he would come from the north, and well within daylight. It just made no sense. It isn't like the buck knew he was being hunted and was just trying to be unpredictable. If that was the case he wouldn't have fed during daylight.
All this to say, I do believe it played a part in his consistent feeding, and I think it increased his desire to feed earlier in the evening. He was packing on weight, and nutrients. He must have felt the need to add nutrients.
What a great gross score! I understand the need for net scores for official reasons and for giving credit to a truly symmetrical buck, but I don't like them.
Interesting about this bucks use, or not, of the wind. That's one of the things that makes these WT's so hard to figure out. Just when you think you've got a sort of pattern they change it up. I killed a buck on Tuesday that walked the exact same trail at the exact same time on Friday night with the exact opposite wind. I couldn't believe it! Couldn't get a shot Friday but it worked out this week.
Adam, Congratulations! Buck of a lifetime...or maybe the first of many more monsters! Great writeup, super fun to read this and see the photos and know how hard you were working to get him. And congrats on the upcoming addition to the family! Kurt