It’s only mid-November and Earl Anderson, a diehard deer hunter from North Dakota, has already had a season for the ages. In less than two weeks he killed two deer that scored an estimated 185 inches and 164 inches.
Since 2007 Anderson had kept tabs on this behemoth buck. He had trail camera photos of the deer and even passed on him in 2007, hoping he would develop heavier mass. Anderson’s hopes came true.
He found the buck’s sheds this spring and decided he would make a move on him once the rut started during bow season.
On Nov. 1 Anderson snuck into a treestand that was situated next to a clearing in a big, steep oak coulee. The coulee was surrounded by cornfields and sunflower fields and was a big buck magnet.
It was an unseasonably warm day for North Dakota, about 55 degrees, but soon a fawn ran out in front of Anderson’s stand followed by a mature doe.
Shortly after another deer started working its way toward Anderson, following the doe. He could tell it was a buck, but didn’t know how big it was.
“I couldn’t tell who he was or what he was through the brush,” Anderson says.
Anderson waited patiently so he wouldn’t spook the two other deer that were now only 15 yards away. As the buck made its way toward Anderson’s shooting lane, he drew his bow in anticipation.
“As soon as his head hit the lane I thought ‘Oh man there he is!’ ” Anderson says.
His arrow flew true and he hit the buck tight behind the shoulder at 30 yards.
The deer ran about 200 yards before wedging itself between these two trees and expiring. Anderson killed the deer just a few hundred yards away from where he found its sheds in the spring.
Anderson and his hunting buddies had to pry the trees apart to get the buck out.
They estimated the deer’s green score to be about 185. What’s most impressive about the buck is its outstanding mass. It doesn’t have a circumference measurement under 5 inches, according to Anderson.
But Anderson wasn’t done yet. He still had a gun tag to fill.
Sticking to a similar formula, on Nov. 10 he set up near a buckbrush clearing in the same coulee that he shot his archery buck.
“I hunt where access is a total pain in the butt,” Anderson says. He makes a habit of backing his stand against steep terrain or thick cover. “That way deer don’t like to walk behind you,” he says.
It was a foggy morning with overcast skies. As the fog began to clear, Anderson started grunting and rattling.
Soon he heard a buck give a deep guttural roar down the coulee.
Then this huge buck appeared out of the fog standing only 100 yards away.
Anderson made the shot and killed his second trophy buck of the season.
Both deer have massive racks, but they also have bulky statures. Each weighed more than 210 pounds.
Anderson says the keys to his success are patience and the willingness to pass on smaller bucks.