MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When hundreds of thousands of deer hunters take to the woods this weekend, they’ll go there with visions of a trophy buck.
With a little luck, and a lot of woods smarts, you could encounter what a Wisconsin archer did.
Greg Widiker’s Webster High School science class is like few others. It’s not just his sports biology lessons, but the wildlife on the walls.
“All of my land management is to prepare for bow season,” Widiker said.
He hunts his own land east of Webster. His past success hangs in the basement of his home.
“Deer will absolutely go where the white oaks are dropping first,” he said.
For the past three years, he has pursued just one — coming only as close as a few shed antlers.
Trail camera photos tracked the huge buck’s growth. It was out there, but where?
“He’s been the dominant buck on this property, this area for years,” Widiker said.
Then in September, a trail camera took an image of the buck. Widiker contemplated not hunting on the 17th, fearing conditions were not right.
“I’ve done everything I can to create this sanctuary, not go into it, know that the acorns are going to be the draw, and go in a climber for the first time,” he said.
He had passed on 15 deer when just before sundown, the majestic animal crept into a stand of white oak.
“I put the binoculars up, he’s broadside and his antlers are just a wall of tines,” he said.
Shaking, he took a deep breath and looked away.
“Don’t look at his antlers, just take the shot,” Widiker said.
A lifelong passion was realized in a single shot, fraught with emotions over the animal now held in his hands. It is one of the largest white-tailed deer ever taken in Wisconsin.
Widiker’s advice to other trophy hunters? Be entirely scent-free.
“My boots never walk anywhere but in the woods,” he said. “I’ve found that ozone generators have changed my hunting, I go undetected almost all of the time.”
And Widiker says large bucks will bust your patterns — instead of you surprising them.
“Fortunately I was able to keep my composure, make the perfect shot and have an easy recovery,” Widiker said. “That’s the dream, that’s the dream for everyone.”
Widiker’s deer is very close to the United States white-tailed buck record. It was taken by James Jordan over 100 years ago — also in Burnett County.