Brian Inda'™s Record Wisconsin Buck

Brian Inda's family introduced him to the Wisconsin outdoors at an early age. Brian remembers his Grandpa Marty picking him and his older brother Chris up at school to go play in the woods. His father, Jim Inda, also started bringing Brian along deer hunting at a young age.

As Brian grew through the years, so did his love of hunting. One of his youthful dreams was that of killing a big buck. As a young boy following in his grandfather's footsteps through the fall leaves, Brian could not have known that one day he really would shoot a buck that was not only "big," but also one that become a record Wisconsin buck.

Early last November, while bowhunting with his hunting partner Craig Carpenter near Wild Rose, Brian's dream of taking that giant whitetail came true.

SPRING 2010

Like many Wisconsin deer hunters nowadays, Brian Inda and Craig Carpenter enjoy spending as much time in the woods as they can. The spring of 2010 was not much different than so many others, except for the fact that Brian had talked to some friends he played softball with who had been hunting an exceptionally large buck the previous season.

"I had seen trail camera pictures of the buck and knew it was a monster," Brian said.

He was surprised to learn that no one had located the sheds off the buck. Brian knew the core area where the deer lived, and he also knew some farms in the area that the deer had been wintering on.

Brian's brother Chris talked with one of the local landowners and got permission for the pair to hunt sheds at one of the farms. Brian and Chris made plans to go looking for sheds with their Uncle Tony. It didn't take Chris and Tony long to find their first big shed of the day. Surprisingly, it was off the big buck.

"They found it on the edge of a cut bean field," Brian said. They called Brian and soon he was out with them looking for the other side.

"We found several other sheds, but not the other side to the big one," Brian recalled.

Another friend, Tyler Detjens, called and told the shed hunters that he was near them on the road. They went to pick him up so he could join along in the search. As luck would have it, while parking the truck Tyler spotted the matching shed the big buck had dropped. The second shed antler was lying in a grassy opening almost 600 yards away from the first one.

Needless to say, the group was ecstatic!

BAD LUCK TURNS GOOD

After the group found the sheds, Brian asked permission to hunt the farm. Unfortunately, the landowner's family members had reserved the farm for their own hunting.

"It was kind of disappointing, but it didn't hurt to ask," said Brian.

The rest of the summer was business as usual for Brian and Craig. They both work together as carpenters. They were doing a remodeling job for Gary Nelson, who manages properties for Kirk Christmas Trees. That company had several hunting leases in the area. Brian and Craig often talked about deer hunting with Gary.

One day, while the two were working, Gary approached them and said the group of Illinois hunters who had been leasing a nearby overgrown Christmas tree plantation for rifle hunting had let their lease go. Brian and Craig both knew the lease site. It was near the farm where they had located the big sheds.

They immediately said they would be interested in picking up the lease. Gary told them that first he needed to check to make sure the group really didn't want it; a few weeks later he showed up with some paperwork. The 120-acre lease was theirs if they wanted it.

"We were excited. We had hunted together several times before, but now we had a place that was just ours," Brian said.

PLAYING IT SAFE

It was now August, and so Brian and Craig didn't have much time to get things ready for the rapidly approaching bow season. The two of them looked over the property and discussed strategies for hunting it.

The 120-acre Christmas tree farm was really open. Three-fourths of the land was overgrown with grass and scattered spruce throughout it. That left only a few areas to hunt. There were two small five-acre woodlots and a brushy, oak-filled ravine the two called the sanctuary. It was a very thick and steep edge that ran along the spruce and connecting the woodlots.

Because the sanctuary was so hard to enter without bumping deer, the brothers had to set up their stands strategically. They placed two in the oaks and one closer to the sanctuary. They also set two observation stands they could hunt from overlooking the more open spruce.

"It was a very difficult parcel to hunt because the deer seemed to just wander in the open areas," Inda recalled.

The observation stands were, as Brian thought, "good starting points" to see how the deer moved through the area.

"We didn't want to pressure the deer too hard at first." The land had only been hunted during the rifle season. "We knew in the past, the deer had not been pressured during the bow season and we wanted to keep it that way."

A ROUGH START

September had come and gone. Brian and Craig had been hunting hard but still playing it safe and hunting stands only when the wind permitted.

"I was starting to get frustrated," Brian said. "We hadn't seen any sign that the big buck was using the property. I had other spots I could have been hunting that had big bucks and felt like I was wasting my time."

Brian's brother told him to consider just how big the buck he was chasing could be. The sheds had scored 192 inches. Chris reminded him it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"It was very mentally challenging," he admitted.

Then a late October windstorm changed the pair's thinking. While looking for a ground blind that the wind had blown away, Brian and Craig jumped the big typical buck.

"It went running up over a hill and we followed it with the truck." said Brian.

They watched it run off through the woods toward a neighboring property. It wasn't until then that Brian thought, "We may have just run him off for good."

The two decided to quit looking for the blind. "We didn't want to risk messing up the area any more."

Now they knew the big buck was at least visiting the property from time to time. They hoped they had not ruined it, but realized that farmers often bump deer with their trucks and machines.

"We figured that the deer would come back." With that in mind, leaving the woods scent free where they had encountered the big buck seemed like a better plan than looking for the missing deer blind.

CONFIDENCE ISSUES

Nov. 2 seemed like an ordinary Tuesday. Craig and Brian were eager to hunt, in part because the pre-rut activity was picking up. The day seemed nice and so Craig and Brian agreed to take off from work a little early so that they could get in an extra evening of hunting.

After seeing the buck they had been really careful to hunt only when the wind conditions were right. That night the winds were good for a couple of their stands. Craig was to hunt the lone oak stand and Brian was going to sit the box elder stand.

"The stand was hard to get into without bumping deer," said Brian. "I would bump deer about half of the time I walked into it."

The stand was also one that Brian didn't have much faith in. He had made a mock scrape there earlier in the season and the deer had kept it open. However, the tree was very open and after the leaves fell it left the hunter skylined.

"There was very little room for error and I had been busted in that tree several times by other deer," Brian said. He was not confident in the setup. "I really didn't think a big buck would come that way."

AN UNEXPECTED EVENING

Brian settled into the box elder with plenty on his mind. He knew the hunt was going to be a short one. He planned on getting down a little early that evening to pay his respects to a fellow hunter and avid outdoorsman who had passed away from cancer. Dave Dasson was a close friend of the family as well as a passionate deer hunter.

Lots of thoughts cross a hunter's mind as he passes the time in a deer stand. That evening was no different for Brian. The wind was blowing out of the southeast and was perfect for the tree he was in. The first hour went by with thoughts of his friend and everyday life going through his head.

Then he thought he heard a deer walking in the leaves. The sound was just far enough away that he just wasn't sure. Was it a deer?

"I was pretty sure it was a deer." said Brian. "So I pulled out my grunt tube and grunted loud. It was breezy and so I wanted the deer to hear it."

After several minutes had gone by, Brian was thinking the sound he grunted at might have been a squirrel. Five minutes later he looked to the northeast and saw a rack move behind a spruce tree.

"I knew it was him!" Brian said. Sure enough, the deer walked in and opened up the mock scrape 32 yards away.

"It was facing toward me and posturing and licking. The buck came in thinking another buck was there."

The monster buck kept looking past Brian to the spot where the earlier sounds of leaves rustling had come from. It started moving and was now following a trail that looped past Brian's stand. It eventually got around on the backside of the stand where there were no shooting lanes. Brian drew his Darton bow and waited.

"He was about 14 yards away," Brian recalled. "It was thick and I picked a hole; when he hit the hole I released."

The buck took off plowing through the thick brush and the bowhunter lost sight of it quickly. Brian recalled just after he lost sight of the buck, that he thought he'd heard it crash. The realization came over him that he had just shot the buck they had been chasing!

Brian was rattled. He wasn't sure what to do. If he waited he would miss his friend's wake. He quickly called his father Jim Inda and his brother Chris. They were both at the wake for their family friend Dave. They told Brian to stay put. Dave would have understood because he had been an avid deer hunter himself.

Brian then called Craig and waited 30 minutes before getting down and recovering his blood-soaked arrow. It looked like the carbon express, which had been tipped with a two-blade Rage broadhead, had hit its mark. He backed out until his crew arrived to help search for the buck.

After a quick five-minute tracking job, the group stood over the monster typical. The buck had only gone 70 yards.

"There was a lot of high fives and hugging; everyone was excited," Brian recalled.

Upon seeing the buck later, Brian's Grandfather Marty joked, "Well, you finally killed a big one!"

NEW WISCONSIN TYPICAL BOWKILL RECORD

On January 15, 2011, after the required 60-day drying period, a panel of certified measures representing the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club officially scored the Brian Inda buck. The panel consisted of Wil Resch, Steve Ashley, Dave Bathke and Stan Zirbel. Together they scored the buck at 187 5/8, making it Wisconsin's new typical archery record.

Brian's buck is 3/8 of an inch larger than the Barry Rose buck, which had held the record since 2006. The rack had 12 scorable points, 5 on the right antler and 7 on the left. The buck had an inside spread of 22 inches and the longest tine was 14 7/8 inches. Three other tines measured more than 12 inches. The main beams were more than 26 inches long. The overall gross typical score was 197 5/8.

The Inda buck was truly a giant. The hard work both Craig and Brian put in had paid off. I'm pretty sure Brian's grandfather Marty got it right. They really had taken "a big one." Congratulations to Brian on a beautiful buck.

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