Take a look at these sheds. I did. That’s me holding them during the 2007 South Dakota firearm season. My outfitter friend Dave Tatum (firstname.lastname@example.org) turned me on to the buck last season, but try as we might, we couldn’t get a handle on the buck’s pattern or whereabouts.
The 220-inch giant is using the open prairie and rugged badlands terrain for its home. Our efforts centered on a 15,000-acre ranch where for the past two years the giant has wintered.
The elderly rancher has picked up sheds from the buck in his yard where the buck visits to beef up on stockpiled corn and alfalfa put there for wintering livestock. The rancher isn’t a hunter, but flatly states he’s never set eyes on the buck who visits the ranch during the dead of night.
Tatum and I watched several nearby alfalfa fields and creek bottoms for signs of the buck over the course of our hunt, but to no avail. The creeks provided cover for the deer and the alfalfa fields lured in dozens of deer each night including a handful of bucks, but not the owner of the oversized sheds. My hunch is that the buck doesn’t live nearby and is traveling extensively to reach this ranch for winter security. On the other hand he could be a nocturnal genius and one of those bucks that ignores does, and doesn’t engage in rutting games. Researcher Valerius Geist has documented this in ungulates. Regardless, I was left standing with leftovers, but with hope for next season.