Scott Baer knew the property he was hunting would be sold soon, and so he made good use of a rainy evening to arrow the buck of a lifetime
|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||September 27, 2023|
|Place:||Columbia County, Wisconsin|
|Weapon:||Barnett Ghost 415 crossbow|
Wisconsin’s Scott Baer (pictured here) and his friend, Bruce Jackson, have taken a lot of bucks from a property that they’ve had permission to hunt on for the last 11 years, but this one is the largest. Image courtesy of Scott Baer
Scott Baer and his friend Bruce Jackson have hunted on the same property for the last 11 years, and they’ve taken some nice bucks on it. Unfortunately for the two hunters, though, the landowners informed them during the middle of the summer that the property would be sold in the fall. They’d have until mid-November to hunt.
“During the summer, I pulled all of my trail cameras off the property,” Baer said. “My buddy did the same about the middle of June, and when he looked at the images from his cameras, there were pictures of a buck with tons of character. We couldn’t tell exactly what he was due to poor angles.”
Knowing that particular deer had the potential to be tremendous come fall, the two hunters hung cell cameras on the property to see if they could capture some better angles of the buck and pin down his movements, hopefully in time to hunt him. They got some nighttime pictures, but they still couldn’t distinguish exactly what the buck was.
“Eventually, we got some pictures of him after he had shed his velvet,” Baer said. “We knew he was hanging out near the back of the property. We decided to hunt for him, but we also wanted to shoot a couple of does for some meat.”
The buck’s antlers were difficult to judge in the early trail camera photos. Image courtesy of Scott Baer
September 26 was rainy, but Baer decided to hunt. He arrived at his hunting location at around 4 p.m., and he noticed that the deer were moving early in the rain. There was also rain in the forecast for the entire following day. Baer again made plans to be in the stand, but he planned to get there a bit earlier.
“My friend didn’t want to hunt on the 27th,” Baer explained. “So, I left work an hour early. I figured the deer would move early just as they had the previous afternoon. On the way to the stand, I jumped four does. I jumped another doe right by the stand.
“I wasn’t in the stand more than half an hour when a spike buck walked down an old logging trail through the property,” he continued. “He walked within 10 feet of the stand and then moseyed on out to the neighbor’s cornfield. At about 5:30 p.m., two more small bucks walked right by me and took the same trail out to the cornfield. A little over 20 minutes later, I looked over my shoulder to where the last two bucks had come from and noticed a buck coming my way. I knew that it was the buck from our trail cameras.”
When the buck got within about 10 feet of Baer’s stand, he unleashed a bolt from his Barnett crossbow. The impact throttled the buck into high gear, and the tremendous animal ran merely 50 yards before toppling over. After giving the buck just a little bit of time, Baer was thrilled to wrap his hands around the rack and get his first up-close look at the whacky-racked nontypical.
Scott Baer had until mid-November to hunt for this huge non-typical, but he was fortunately able to capitalize late in September. Image courtesy of Scott Baer
It’s often said that the best deer movement transpires during the first and last hours of daylight. However, Baer knew that there are exceptions to that. The conditions were such that he predicted early movement, and that’s why he left work an hour early. Good thing he did, because he got his target buck, and he did it before the property sold.
“I’ve been fortunate with my work that I can sometimes leave early, and I can be in a stand within 15 minutes,” he said. “I have a forgiving wife who allows me to pursue hunting, which really helps. Finally, I want to acknowledge the landowners, Ralph and Paula Bauch, for allowing us to hunt. My friend and I have been cutting firewood for them for more than 10 years in exchange for hunting permission, and we’re very thankful for them.”