Photos: Wisconsin Bowhunter Takes 181-Inch Buck

Chad Statz was hunting in southern Wisconsin in October when this buck materialized out of nowhere. It was the biggest buck he had ever seen from the stand, but Statz was able to keep his composure and make the shot. Here's the story behind how he took this massive Badger State buck with one of the most intriguing racks of 2012.
The buck first showed up on trail camera photos in the summer of 2010. Statz hunts a small property with his brother in the driftless area of Wisconsin near a beanfield.
The two brothers hoped the buck would hang around during the 2010 season, but it disappeared. And it would be hard to mistake this buck for another deer. Its thick main beams wrap wide and then hook up with the left one splitting into two points. They guessed at the time that the buck was four years old.
In the summer of 2012 Statz's neighbor snapped a photo of the buck entering a field. The Statz brothers and the neighbor share intel on the deer in the area, and everybody was happy to see that two years later the big buck was still alive.
But Statz wasn't expecting too much when he hiked into his stand on Oct. 21, 2012. In fact, he had intentions of shooting a doe if a mature buck didn't show up. After all, in two years of hunting no one had actually seen this deer from a treestand.
On an earlier hunt, Statz witnessed two young bucks sparring and then watched as a three-year-old buck charged in and broke up the fight. So on this sit, Statz brought along a pair of rattling antlers and knocked them together lightly. Pictured: Statz, left, and his brother Seth.
About 10 minutes before dark, two does walked by. Statz watched them walk off and then looked down to see a big buck only 20 yards away. "I knew it was a really mature buck by the way he walked, but I couldn't see how big he really was because I was kind of blinded by the setting sun," Statz said.
The buck walked to 10 yards and Statz went to full draw. The buck was facing him, so he shot straight down on the deer, hitting him square between the shoulder blades. The buck ran a few yards and then stumbled. Statz knocked another arrow and shot the deer again, this time putting him down for good.
"The coolest part was that my brother was hunting in a stand about 60 yards away and was watching the whole thing through binos," Statz said. "He could see the 13-inch tines sticking up from the ground. It was awesome." When they walked up on the buck, Statz finally realized just how big the deer actually was. "I pretty much freaked out," he said.
Statz's taxidermist gross scored the deer at 181 4/8 inches. They estimate it's a six-year-old buck. Statz has been bowhunting since he was 12 years old and this is his best buck to date. "I've always believed in age over inches," Statz said. "It's just a blessing to hunt in an area that has this kind of deer."

This buck showed up on trail camera photos in 2010 and then disappeared for two years. See how Chad Statz was able to take this bruiser while bowhunting last fall.