This issue of "Giants in the Woods", will be a little different. One of our hunters was kind enough to write about his trip to Wilderness Whitetails in October. Please see below:
We flew in from Texas and were looking forward to some good old fashioned, Northern Wisconsin whitetail hunting. We booked a 3 day hunt with Wilderness Whitetails and looked forward to a long weekend of hunting and relaxing at the lodge. Just a short drive up from Milwaukee airport, we arrived at the lodge about 5pm. We were greeted by Shorty Flees and his brother Greg. I've got to tell you, the Flees family are some good people. Since we missed the afternoon hunt, the first evening was spent making sure my rifle was still sighted in, then eating some pork chops, drinking a few beers and sharing a laugh with our new friends.
There were 5 hunters from upstate New York that arrived ahead of us and they were a riot. It was one of the guys birthdays and the cook whipped him up a birthday cake. The food at the lodge is second to none. The preserve is huge and the lodge is very comfortable, but all I could think about was getting out there the next morning and hunting that trophy buck! The guide showed up after dinner time and told me what to expect for the morning hunt. Man, this was getting good.
The next morning, my guide John came to get me. I packed a backpack, grabbed my rifle and hopped in the 4 wheeler. It was a chilly morning, about 25 degrees, and still dark. The preserve is remote, and pretty far north so there are no nearby city lights to pollute the sky. In fact the stars up there are pretty amazing. We stashed the 4 wheeler in some brush and hit the blind. It was very comfortable and had room for three. We propped open the front and side windows and waited for the sunrise. Within about 20 minutes of hitting the blind, I could already hear movement around us, the sounds of hooves crunching through the leaves, but it was still too dark to see.
We spent the rest of that morning glassing for whitetail. The number of animals on the preserve is impressive. We saw a couple of bucks sparring just barely out of range and a true monster buck chasing down some turkeys. My shooter buck didn't show himself and we decided to head back to the lodge for some breakfast about 9:30.
That afternoon we went back out. Afternoon hunting is my favorite. I like to stay out there right up to the time we spend the last bit of shootable light. As it turns out, we didn't have to wait that long. After about an hour in the blind, John nudged me and pointed to his right. A whitetail had just slipped into some tall pines and brush. All we caught of it was it's hind quarter as he disappeared into some thick brush. The direction it was moving would have it step into the shooting lane directly in front of us. We still didn't know what it was, but I got my rifle ready.
Moments later, the largest whitetail I have ever seen in person stepped out into my shooting lane. It was incredible. I looked at John and he whispered, "That's the one we've been looking for". Anyone who loves whitetail hunting knows the feeling at that moment. I could feel my heart start racing as I slowly brought the scope to my eye. The buck was probably about 80 yards away and through the scope, it tripled in size. All I could say was "wow". At that moment a young buck entered the picture and got the big boys attention. The smaller buck came in and ruined my shot. The monster stepped back out of the shooting lane and into the thick stuff again. After what seemed like an eternity, the smaller buck was intimidated away and my buck stepped back into the shooting lane, giving me a new opportunity. I regained my composure, focused in on the sweet spot and slowly started to pull the trigger.
I was shooting a 200 grain .308 Winchester cartridge. It did its job to perfection. The buck jumped and ran less than 20 yards. We could see him lay down in some tall grass just 100 yards from the blind. After a few celebratory high fives and a massive adrenaline dump, we decided that we would wait a few more minutes before going down there and checking out this buck. The next 20 minutes seemed to last forever!
We walked out into the forest to find the buck. It looks a lot different at ground level than 20 feet up, but we still had no trouble finding the buck. We loaded him into the 4 wheeler and headed back to the lodge.
You can see the blind back in the distance.
The boys back at the lodge were excited for me and all needed to get a picture with the buck. That night we cooked steaks, had a few more beers and shared some more laughs. This is what it is all about and the folks up there at Wilderness Whitetails really know how to do it. I can't wait to get back up there. I expect this will be a tradition now for years to come.
Thank you Shorty and Greg for such a great hunt and a memory I will carry with me for the rest of my life.