Cliffhanger Buck

Sometimes things that are unbelievable happen in the woods when you least expect it. Ben Lause had deer hunted hard for 20 years in his home state of Missouri and had taken a few nice bucks in the 130 range. A trip to Adams County in the fabled big buck state of Illinois would leave him with a monster whitetail and a story of a lifetime. On November 8th, the rut kicked into full swing and the big boys were definitely on the move when Lause settled into his tree stand. Without warning, a thick-racked bruiser appeared out of nowhere and began quickly closing the distance. Immediately, he grabbed his bow and tried to calm his nerves as the buck eased through the dense underbrush of the wooded area.

At first glance, it appeared as if Lause was going to be unable to pull of a shot through the thick entanglement of sapling trees and overhanging limbs. Finally, he found a narrow opening and let an arrow fly at the biggest buck he had ever encountered. Unfortunately, the massive bodied buck displayed no reaction to the shot and Lause experienced the dreaded feeling that only a true bowhunter could understand. By 10 a.m., he decided to hook up with the rest of his hunting party for some breakfast and much needed consoling. Upon retrieving his arrow, a large pool of brightly colored blood kicked his adrenaline into overdrive once more. After a short tracking job, Lause and his crew decided to back out to give the buck more time.Returning a few hours later, they found the trail and Lause's younger brother accidentally bumped the buck off its bed.

The long-tined giant frantically sprang into action and ran down the steep-sided ridge toward the creek bottom and off a cliff. Miraculously, the buck's hind legs became lodged into a thick mass of roots and tree branches just below the edge of the cliff-line. Lause was able to ease along the steep and put a killing shot on the top-heavy buck that was dangling helplessly from the cliff's rocky ledge. It took well over four hours and some acrobatic work from Lause's brother to untangle the buck from the cliffy. The crew was able to use a 4-wheeler winch, log chain, and handsaw to lower the biggest buck Lause had ever taken to the ground. On a side note, the cliff-hanger buck has 20 scorable points with all of the kickers and trash. Congratulations Ben on an outstanding buck and a hunting memory that your grandkids will still be telling years from now.--Travis Faulkner