-By Brandon Wikman
Last weekend I drove to Buffalo County, WI to check images on a few trail cameras I had placed along some heavily-used deer trails. The cameras were set, baited and left untouched for an entire month. My anticipation for a few incredible snapshots was high, which is usually the case when I’m in the woods doing anything related to hunting. I love to think positive and hope for the best!
I typically set a camera parallel to a surefire deer trail. Oftentimes it takes a longer time than expected to find a perfect tree to accompany your trail-cam - it’s no different than locating the ideal tree for your tree stand. It takes a lot of decision making and problem solving. I always spray the unit’s outside body with a scent-eliminating spray to minimize odors. Using rubber gloves for installation is another necessity. After everything is pre-visualized to what I at least hope to happen, I spread shell corn or mineral around the area to draw in game.
There’s been word and sighting of a slammer non-typical buck that would easily score in the 160’s bravely stomping through crop fields at dusk. He’s been eluding hunters time and time again along the adjacent pieces of the property I hunt. I’ve never seen the buck personally, but he’s getting his share of fame, whether he knows it or not.
I learned that pin-pointing a buck of this caliper is extremely difficult. A mature deer’s uncanny ability to alter its pattern of movement, change routines on a daily basis and suddenly go nocturnal is all too familiar. I felt as if I had the hunting premise under a security lockdown - three cameras on each end of the 200-acre chunk would hopefully catch the ol’ boy red-handed!
Well, I was wrong.
I inspected each camera yesterday. Surprisingly, each memory card was chocked full of pictures and video. I figured there would be at least one solid buck snapshot I’d be able to take home and fill my dreams at night. I’m saddened to admit that I had received zero photographs of him or any trophy class bucks for that matter.
There was one picture in particular that caught my eye though! On October 14th, during the midnight hours, my Moultrie scouting camera snapped a picture of a gigantic bodied deer sporting a less impressive set of antlers. After examining the picture on the computer, I was able to zoom-in for extreme detail.
The 5-point buck, tipping the scales easily over the 200-pound mark, appeared to be well over 4 ½ years of old. His blocky-styled face, saggy front chest and swaying belly directed attention to his age and maturity rather than antler size. I’ve never seen this buck before, which was kind of neat! He definitely lacks trophy genetics, but his wily characteristics helped him survive over the past few hunting seasons.
As November approaches and the whitetail rut blasts, be ready for anything. Just because I didn’t have any pictures of trophy bucks, doesn’t mean I’m officially out of the game. So don’t be discouraged if you’ve experienced the same. Remember, bucks are beginning to roam; there truly isn’t any telling what will show up on any given day from now until the end of November. Welcome to the wondrous world of whitetail.