Sorry to horn in on Mark's time, but can we all "pleeeeze" just take a five-minute break from our miserable economy, the Obama/Clinton crap, $4-whatever per gallon gas prices to simply rejoice in a cool deer-hunting story and begin to look forward to this coming fall? Personally, this week could not have been worse. When your mechanic tells you that there's no hope for your truck and it's time to spend 20k for a new one when you can least afford it, well, it sucks (sorry for the vernacular). Then, in comes Mark Kayser's big buck story. "Gotta" love perspective!—Gerry Bethge
Cody Warne operates Warne Ranches (www.warneranches.com), a pheasant and waterfowl Disney World in central South Dakota. When Warne isn’t corralling pheasants, he’s studying the whitetails he manages on his property. This past season Warne and hunter Sam Brandriet got a second chance on a buck they spotted during the 2006 hunting season. In fact, the duo crawled within 100 yards of the buck in 2006, but Warne couldn’t be sure the buck was 4 1/2 years or older due to the thick bedding cover. He has a strict rule of shooting only 4 1/2-year-old bucks.
Later that winter Warne spotted the buck again and confirmed it was at least 4 1/2 with a 160-inch frame. Fast forward to 2007 and Warne, and Brandriet were again on the hunt. Warne’s pres-couting confirmed the buck was in the same area and the pair finally spotted the big buck following a hot doe. Finally, the whitetail pair bedded in a wide-open wheat stubble field forcing Warne and Brandriet to once again crawl into shooting range. Tired, the buck spent most of the time sleeping, even lying its head down sideways on the ground like a sleeping horse. This offered Brandriet the perfect opportunity to get close and prepare for a steady shot. Warne even managed to snap a few photos during the stalk. The buck turned out to be a true Dakota trophy grossing 170 inches at 5 1/2 years of age.—Mark Kayser