Midwest Monsters!

Wow, what’s up in the Midwest this fall?

Well, besides rain, snow, and cooler than normal weather occurring in many places, this autumn is also bringing a rash of stud-monkey bucks hitting the ground with a few wearing some freakishly sized atomic headgear!

Need proof? Then read on and consider the evidence gleaned from several sources.

Seth Okonek's Minnesota Buck / Mike Hanback's Big Deer Blog

Seth Okonek's Minnesota Buck / Mike Hanback's Big Deer Blog

First up is this Minnesota mega buck as reported on Mike Hanback’s Big Deer blog:

The email I got said this giant was shot in the Camp Ripley Archery Hunt near Little Falls, MN. Camp Ripley is a military base/game refuge. 32 points, 192 lbs., thought to be 5 years old. Shot by bow hunter Scott Okonek from South Haven, MN.”

Holy Golden Gopher – that’s one seriously sized public land buck, don’t you think?!?

While there is no word yet on what this monster will score, it’s pretty clear  to me that this buck is headed for the upper echelon of Minnesota’s Pope & Young Club records. 

FYI, the current P&Y NT state record buck in Minnesota is a 222 5/8 inch bruiser taken by Gary Martin in Todd County back in 1992. With a huge main frame, daggers for eye guards, and plenty of trash, I think that 17-year old record is in serious jeopardy now thanks to Mr. Okonek’s well placed arrow.

What’s really amazing to me is that this mature buck only field-dressed at a reported 192-pounds.

What’s up with that?!?

On a 5 1/2 year old bruiser like that, especially in the upper Midwest, you’d think they would have needed a crane to hoist that bad boy up into the pickup bed!

Seth Williams' Wisconsin buck / Field & Stream Whitetail 365 Blog

Seth Williams' Wisconsin buck / Field & Stream Whitetail 365 Blog

Another toad of a buck is this one taken by Wisconsin youth Seth Williams.

According to Field & Stream deer hunting blog columnist Scott Bestul – who himself downed a 170+ Minnesota bow buck at the end of September –  Williams reportedly shot this buck in the southwestern portion of the Badger State on a youth hunt.

Heck, when I was a youth, I was shooting at spikes and small basket racked bucks, not bruisers soaring up into the 200s!

But then again, I didn’t grow up in the mega-buck rich terra firma of the American Midwest either.

For the record, Bestul says that the Williams’ buck succumbed to a 200 yard shot from the youngster.

If that’s the case, then it certainly looks like there was no case of big buck fever occurring in Seth’s deer stand on his big hunt.

Congratulations young man – I can’t wait to see the next buck that you shoot!

Lee Lakosky introduces "Mr. Gnarles Barkley" / "The Crush" The Low Down Blog

Lee Lakosky introduces "Mr. Gnarles Barkley" / "The Crush" The Low Down Blog

Finally, there’s this absolute freak nasty Iowa buck, tagged by none other than Lee Lakosky of “The Crush” outdoor television show fame.

Dubbed “Mr. Gnarles Barkley” by Lee and his wife Tiffany, this rock star whitetail was downed on Oct. 7 by the husband half of the popular Hawkeye State couple.

According to Tiffany’s report on “The Crush” television show’s “The Low Down Blog,” the Lakoskys had a couple of sets of Gnarles’ antler sheds from previous years as well as some Cuddeback trail camera photos.

But what really got their blood pumping was seeing the buck in person while he was feeding in a food plot all by his lonesome self on the evening of Oct. 3rd.

The next evening, both Lee and Tiffany hunted the buck to no avail despite seeing him at a moderate distance.

A couple of days later however Mr. Gnarles Barkley came calling in front of Lee’s stand and the rest is history as Tiffany indicates: “This buck is an 8 point with a 14 inch spread & its score ties Lee’s biggest buck that he ever shot at 196 7/8 inches.”

While the Midwest is year in and year out the hallowed promised land for many of Deer Nation’s big buck hunters, it seems apparent from where I sit that this autumn seems to be something extraordinarily special unfolding even as we speak.

With other giants hitting the ground already this season in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kansas, this has already been a memorable year to say the least.

And that’s despite the fact that the best big buck hunting action of the year – the treasured Midwestern whitetail rut – is still a week or two around the corner.

Stay tuned – I can guarantee you that some more Midwestern Monsters are going to fall!


About hunting365

Lynn Burkhead is a blessed man who digs being alive to know, live for, and worship the Creator; being married to his babe, Charissa; and being "Dad" to Katie, Zach, and Will. Professionally, he is a nationally recognized outdoor writer who served as an associate editor, senior writer, and blog columnist for the ESPNOutdoors.com Web site for much of this decade. Burkhead has also been a deer hunting columnist and fishing fundamentals columnist for Texas Fish & Game magazine as well as serving as a hunting columnist for Southern Sporting Journal magazine. Finally, he has been a busy freelance writer and photographer for more than a decade with hundreds of byline credits appearing in such places as Bassmaster.com, Bowhunt America, Bowhunter, Buckmasters, Field & Stream, GrandViewOutdoors.com, Great Plains Game & Fish, Louisiana Game & Fish, Lone Star Outdoor News, North American Whitetail, Oklahoma Game & Fish, Outdoor Life, Realtree.com, Rocky Mountain Game & Fish, Texas Sporting Journal, and Texas Sportsman. When time permits, you'll typically find him outside with a bow, a shotgun, a fly rod, or a Nikon camera in his hand. View all posts by hunting365

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