Trail to a Trophy

Trophy bucks are hard to come by, but it can happen.

Trophy Bucks: Trail to a Trophy – Author, Mark Kayser, tells the tale of his pursuit of a 200-inch giant.

Trophy Bucks - Western Whitetail Magazine - Whitetail - Hunting“I think he’ll go 180 inches or better,” one of my hunting partners stated with a straight face. That’s all it took; he had my full attention. I trusted his judgment on the buck he’d seen in September and he rarely added invented points to a score, but what intrigued me even more was his description of the buck. “He’s a main frame 5-pointer, but he has a lot of garbage points, especially on his G2 and brow area.”

A group of us hunted a particular South Dakota ranch and our unwritten rule was to respect efforts if someone was working an area for a big buck. Nevertheless, if nobody is hunting and someone else has an open weekend the entire ranch is available to hunt. Luckily, I had a week in late October open when none of the others would be free. It would be my one chance to try and tag the monster with my Mathews bow before the pressure of rifle season arrived.


The sighting of the monster whitetail three weeks earlier still weighed on my mind and I figured since the buck was mature he’d rarely hit the hayfields during legal shooting light. Scouting efforts by my partners verified that fact. Instead of hunting edges, I moved into the depths of the riparian zones and hunted a different kind of edge: interior edges. What are interior edges? These are edges created by past flooding, where water once coursed and left behind a grassy alleyway. Western whitetails follow these interior pathways, marking the edges with rubs, and scrapes just as if they were walking along a woodlot in Iowa.


Despite my 5-day effort, I couldn’t put a plan together to put me within bow range of the brute, much less lay eyes on him. On the last day of my hunt, I bow killed a 4 ½-year-old, 5-pointer after grunting it into 12 yards. A misting of Primetime Estrus scent in an open shooting lane held the buck perfectly for a TV-like ending. Although this meant the end of my bowhunting season for the giant, my rifle permit would give me another opportunity in mid-November…

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Western Whitetail

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