Prairie Giant

There are a few people in my life whose hunting talents and judgment of deer is so remarkable that I'll stop whatever I'm doing to learn from them. One of those folks is Bret Maffenbeier. You may recall a profile I wrote of Bret in Outdoor Life a few years ago. The topic was coyote hunting, and Maffenbeier, of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, is an even better predator hunter than he is deer hunter. Before the province reinstituted a bounty on coyotes last year, Bret called over 100 coyotes to their death every winter, some years collecting closer to 200 pelts. Every summer Maffenbeier hikes the brushy draws of the Saskatchewan grain belt hoping to encounter remarkable bucks, and he recently sent me these photos.
Maffenbeier had seen this high, wide and heavy mule deer in previous years.
But he saw him only one time last year and got a quick photo (he posted the photo on his website).
Bret passed up a few big bucks last season waiting to encounter this behemoth. But he never saw him again.
Until earlier this month. Maffenbeier was out scouting with his daughter when he saw a buck go over a hill about a half mile away.
They hiked toward the spot and came over a ridge. "I had just seen antler tips in a dry dugout creek, but we crept along and came right within 30 yards of him for at least 10 minutes."
Bret snapped several photos of the remarkable buck.
"It's hard to know what he will go, but looking at the height and base and super forks, plus his extra-long tines, he will push 200 inches and might even be better."
"Guess what I'll be doing about 6 a.m. on Sept. 1!" says Maffenbeier, referring to the opener of Saskatchewan's archery deer season.