Not Your Typical Whitetail

Not Your Typical Whitetail

After five hours of tracking through heavy snow, Derek Scheidegger's persistence paid off with a monster buck most hunters see only in their dreams.

Scheidegger tracked and shot a huge 17-point 210 6/8-inch non-typical Green County buck during Wisconsin's gun season.
Photo courtesy of Derek Scheidegger.

It is said that persistence pays.

And when it comes to deer hunting, that phrase often is directly tied into putting in a lot of time on stand. However, with Derek Scheidegger of Brodhead, it applies a little differently. In this case, it applies to being aggressive and tracking down a deer in order to get a shot. That persistence paid off big in December 2007 when he was lucky enough to track down and shoot a huge 17-point non-typical Green County buck during Wisconsin's gun season. (Cont'd)

The morning of Dec. 4, 2007, would be one to remember for Scheidegger. The hunter woke up around 5:15 a.m. and headed out to his tree stand. With temperatures less than 20 degrees and snow expected later in the afternoon, it felt like a perfect day for deer hunting.

As he crested a small hill, Scheidegger saw what appeared to be antlers just inside the woods. He was stunned to be so close to the big buck. The deer was bedded on the other side of a brushpile, but Scheidegger could see some of his antlers showing.

After sitting for almost two hours, Scheidegger decided to try something that had worked for him before -- still-hunting. The ground had been snow covered for some time and as Scheidegger still-hunted along a creek bottom, he began thinking the tactic wasn't such a great idea.

"The snow had a thick layer of ice on top, making walking on it very loud," Scheidegger said. "I started to think that walking was too loud and still-hunting wasn't going to work, when all of the sudden, I heard a deer splashing down the creek about 50 yards away. I tried to run, but it was too icy. I just stood there hoping to see it, then I did, and it was a big buck running."

Scheidegger fired his slug gun, but it was a clean miss. At this point, most hunters probably wouldn't consider following a deer running at full speed. What's the point in following the big buck? There's no way he'll let me catch him.

Apparently, those thoughts never crossed Scheidegger's mind.

"I figured I could track him in the snow," he said. "So I got on his track and started."

However, walking in the ice-covered snow was no easy task.

"It was so loud I didn't think any deer would let me within a quarter of a mile of them," Scheidegger recalled.

However, the hunter stayed with it. He called his younger brother, Brian, to help him, but Brian's wife had recently given birth and Brian had to watch his daughter until his wife got home.

Scheidegger continued tracking the buck for nearly three-quarters of a mile to the edge of property he didn't have permission to hunt.

"I went back to the truck, thought about where that deer was going and went and got permission to go on the land," Scheidegger said. "He was heading to a small wood lot about a mile and a half from where I had originally kicked him up."

Scheidegger came in from downwind of the wood lot where he thought the buck was headed. After parking his truck and getting his gear together, he headed toward the wood lot.

The morning of Dec. 4, 2007, would be one to remember for Scheidegger. The hunter woke up around 5:15 a.m. and headed out to his tree stand. With temperatures less than 20 degrees and snow expected later in the afternoon, it felt like a perfect day for deer hunting.

As he crested a small hill, Scheidegger saw what appeared to be antlers just inside the woods. He was stunned to be so close to the big buck. The deer was bedded on the other side of a brushpile, but Scheidegger could see some of his antlers showing.

"I got ready for a shot, but he just laid there," he said. "I tried to move to get a shot, but I think he heard me and quickly got up and ran straight away."

After all that time and effort to track the buck, his opportunity was blown.

Scheidegger still didn't realize how big the buck really was but knew it was the biggest one he would ever have a chance at. He felt sick. He had expended all that time and hard work to track the big buck, only to have him get away again. Many guys would have probably thrown in the towel at this point, but Scheidegger wasn't giving up.

He called Brian and asked for his help tracking the deer. This time, Brian was available to lend a hand. Scheidegger also enlisted the help of his Uncle Gene.

Derek Scheidegger's Buck-12.4.07


Total Points....17
Greatest Spread....25 4/8
Inside Spread.....23 0/8
Main Beams....38 6/8, 28 7/8
Longest Tine....10 0/8
Antler Bases....5 0/8, 5 3/8
Abnormal Points....34 6/8
Gross Typical....220 6/8
Deductions....10 0/8
Net Score....210 6/8

 

"I tracked him for about another half-mile and knew where he was going -- right back into my main hunting area," Scheidegger said. "So, I had my brother and uncle get around the woods and I stayed right on his track until I inside the woods.

"I knew where they usually bed down, so I swung out to one side, going very slow and looking at everything. I finally spotted him for the third time. I could hardly believe it.

The buck was bedded down only 50 yards away, and this time Scheidegger could see the deer's body. He used a tree to rest his gun and shot. The deer fled at full speed.

Based on the deer's reaction, Scheidegger wasn

't even sure he had hit it, but Brian watched the events unfold and could tell the deer was hit.

Scheidegger followed the tracks and some blood to the spot Brian last saw the buck. Brian told his brother that he thought the buck was hit in front of the back legs. Scheidegger felt sick to his stomach again. It was late afternoon and after five hours of tracking and still-hunting, he couldn't have felt lower.

The trio began tracking the buck. At first, there was very little blood for the first 200 yards, but things started to change.

"There was blood and more blood," he said. "By the time we got to the woods, blood was coming out both sides. But our luck changed again. It was starting to snow, covering the trail. We tried to work faster and luckily the amount of blood just kept getting more and more."

It was an encouraging sign. Nearly 45 minutes into the track, the group jumped a buck out of a ravine.

"We usually leave a deer for eight hours if it was gut shot," Scheidegger said. "But the snow was messing everything up and I felt sick again that we weren't going to get him."

The group continued tracking the deer, but they were running low on daylight. Then, about 200 yards from the spot they jumped the buck, they heard a noise.

"We had lost most of the light, so we just stood there trying to figure out the noise," Scheidegger said. "I took one step forward and the buck jumped 20 yards away."

The deer's bed was full of blood, so they continued following the trail another 30 yards when they saw a spot where the deer stopped.

After sitting for almost two hours, Scheidegger decided to try something that had worked for him before . . . Scheidegger still-hunted along a creek bottom . . . thinking the tactic wasn't such a great idea . . . when he heard a deer splashing in the creek 50 yards away.

"I told Brian we just had to get out of the woods, so we did," Scheidegger said. "We ran back to our grandparents' house for flashlights but didn't even go back to the woods. It was snowing so hard you could barely see. The sick feeling in my stomach returned as I worried the buck would never be found because of the snow."

The hunter got little sleep that night. At daybreak, Scheidegger and his father, Duane, met Gene and Brian at Scheidegger's grandparents' house.

It looked like a winter wonderland with everything covered in snow.

No sign of the deer hit the night before was visible.

"The only thing I saw was an orange hat Brian and I hung in a tree where we had turned around the night before," Scheidegger said. "We all got to that spot and couldn't find anything. My gut was turning about 100 miles an hour. I didn't think we would find him."

The group spread out to look for what they hoped would be a dead deer.

"For some reason, I went around a brushpile, then walked north about 100 yards right to him," Scheidegger remembered. "I couldn't believe my eyes. I was so pumped up they said I was just running through the woods dragging the deer myself. I was so happy I had tears in my eyes. After the excitement of finding the deer, we starting counting points and there were 18. My brother and I said that this was the year that something big had to go down and it did."

And big it was. The rack totaled 17 points -- a 10-point frame with 7 non-typical points. Those abnormal points accounted for 34 6/8 inches of extra bone. The buck sported an awesome 23-inch inside spread. And the length of the main beams is unbelievable -- just less than 29 inches.

All totaled, the great buck netted a non-typical score of 210 6/8 inches.

It would have been easy for Scheidegger not to follow the deer's tracks after the first shot and miss along the creek bottom that morning. But he didn't quit and his persistence paid off with the kind of monster buck that most hunters see only in their dreams

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