A mature buck specialist settles his pin on his biggest whitetail yet
|Rack Report Details
|Time of Year:
|October 24, 2019
|Winneshiek County, Iowa
|Xpedition Mako X bow Bowhunting
During his first years of bowhunting, Bryton Meyer let many deer walk. When he was 19, he killed his first buck with a bow. That deer was a mature mainframe 8-pointer with a split G2 and a split brow tine.
That buck definitely hooked me on bowhunting, Meyer says. It created a feeling I can't describe ... I've been wired to pursue big deer. I'm not knocking others for shooting smaller or younger deer. By all means, shoot what makes you happy. I personally have the goal to target mature bucks and mature bucks only. As I've gotten older, I'm continually reminded that it's not as easy as some people make it seem.
In 2018, Meyer captured trail camera pictures of a giant buck. Looking back, he also thinks it's possible he captured pictures of the buck about five years ago.
I know I had him underneath my treestand three seasons ago, though, he says. I assumed he was 2½ or maybe 3½ years old. I didn't shoot because I knew he was young and not what I wanted to harvest.
I didn't know exactly how large the buck was, Meyer says of the deer in 2018. I picked up a shed following the season, and he was approximately a 153-inch 8-pointer. His body sort of dwarfed his antlers, so I didn't realize how good he was.
With another year to grow, the buck added nearly 20 inches of antler in 2019, including a cool 11-inch, non-typical tine, too. Meyer, his brother and a neighbor all were on the same page: Whoever got the first chance to shoot the buck was going to take it.
The week of Oct. 17, Meyer saw a cold front forecast for the following week. He asked his employer for a more flexible work schedule to hunt the buck. He got it.
Up until that point, we'd been hunting the buck, but only on the outskirts of his home range, Meyer says. There was one stand I'd been hunting in particular where we'd gotten lots of summer trail camera photos of him.
On the morning of Oct. 24, Meyer saw seven different bucks and lots of pre-rut action. He was planning to hunt all day but got hungry and finally climbed down. Before heading home, he pulled the card from a trail camera he'd set over a scrape 35 yards from the stand.
It turned out the buck had been on the camera at 10 the previous morning, he says. Prior to checking the camera, I was planning to hunt that afternoon in a different location. After seeing that image, I figured I'd head back to the same stand.
Meyer climbed back into the tree a little before 3 p.m. The first deer he saw was an 8-pointer still in full velvet. Next, another nice (but young) 8-pointer came through. Then a small 6-pointer.
I continued watching downwind the entire night, and then I suddenly heard a buck growling, Meyer says. The big buck came up out of the creek bank and worked right to the scrape where my camera was. I recognized the buck instantly by his 11-inch dagger. He worked into some thick stuff, and I grunted at him.
As the buck started closing in, Meyer set down his grunt tube and prepared for the shot. The buck went behind a leafy branch, and that's when Meyer drew his bow. There were two good shooting lanes, but the buck came head-on through the first one. Then, the deer turned and walked into the second lane. Meyer took the shot and tucked the arrow tight behind its front shoulder. The buck ran about 80 yards and piled up.
I can't really describe how it felt to walk up on my biggest buck to date, he says. I hadn't realized that he was over 170 inches. I figured he was in the low 160s. Obviously, the trail camera photos hadn't done him justice. He had such a dense, heavy rack and a massive body.
And that dagger was pretty darn cool, too.
Check out more stories, videos and educational how-to's on deer hunting.
Watch all the latest video episodes