A South Dakota Skyscraper

White-Tailed Deer


A South Dakota Skyscraper

Posted 2016-10-26T11:45:00Z  by  Darron McDougal

What's That About the October Lull?

Rack Report Details
Time of Year:October 8, 2016
Place:Gregory County, South Dakota
Weapon: Hoyt bow  Bowhunting 

South Dakota's Cade Fortuna arrowed this outstanding 197-inch buck on Oct. 8, 2016.  (Cade Fortuna photo)

It's always exciting to collect matching shed antlers from a monster buck. But when you do, actually taking the buck that wore them rarely becomes a reality, especially during early October, the dreaded time often called the October lull. However, bowhunter Cade Fortuna recently capitalized on a rare chance to make his dreams reality, taking a - by every standard - world-class buck.

I didn't get a buck with my bow in 2015, Fortuna said. I was chasing a particular 5x5 and didn't get him. Meanwhile, I'd heard rumors of another giant buck and the area where he was apparently living. My brother and I went into the area this past spring to look for his antlers. We were walking on a deer trail when I found a huge antler, obviously from the buck. We continued ahead to see if we could find the matching antler. My brother suddenly saw the buck running away just ahead of us, still carrying the other antler. I went out a week later and found that antler on the same trail.

Fortuna didn't have any trail cameras in 2015, so he added some to his game plan for the 2016 season. I put the cameras out this summer, and I was getting pictures of the buck bi-weekly, he said. I'm not the greatest at judging deer, so I didn't realize how big he was at that point. I kept tabs on him all summer long, and it seemed he always walked past my cameras late at night.

Despite high anticipation, opening weekend came and went.

The buck's impressive matching sheds were a rare find, but proved an important element in pegging the buck's home range. (Cade Fortuna photo)I only saw one deer during the first two weekends, Fortuna said. I'm involved with high school sports, so I can't hunt on weekdays.

On October 8, 2016, Fortuna climbed a tree once again.

I spotted a coyote running along the nearby creek, he said. I thought he'd mess up my hunt, so I was going to shoot him, but he was a little too far away. Suddenly, two does came through. One of them began snorting and stomping its foot at me. We had a 2-minute stare down. It felt like the longest two minutes of my life. She finally continued on, and I looked back and spotted my target buck and an accompanying 3x3 coming my way.

According to Fortuna, the last time he had a nice buck within shooting range, he didn't draw back soon enough. This time, he drew his Hoyt bow right away.

With the 3x3 in the lead, the two bucks were coming my way, and when the big one was within 15 yards, I took the shot. I instantly knew I'd hit him farther back than I aimed. I backed out of the area.

Fortuna rounded up some help to track the buck later that day.

We picked up the trail and followed it to where he crossed the creek, he recalled. My brother had been looking around for more blood when he noticed the buck lying right beneath him. Unfortunately, the deer jumped up and headed for a nearby cornfield. We found him dead there later on. Then, I realized just how big he was!

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