My father Claude Sadler, Director of Southern and Central LECET of the Laborers Union, walked into the living room in 2007 holding the right side of a shed he found in our bottom field. It was amazing with eight scoring points. The G-2 was split into a triple point, and the main beams were long, sweeping and carried mass all the way through.
This was a giant deer. That same season, my dad caught a glimpse of it chasing a doe, but it was 200 yards away. The next couple years produced no sheds, pictures or sightings, and we all figured he was gone.
In the spring of 2010, my dad decided to change some things around our property. We would turn all the tillable ground into year-round food plots. In late September, we had our trail cameras over the plots, and the big buck showed up in two pictures. Before, he was a giant buck, but thanks to our trail camera, we figured he was going to surpass the famous 170 mark.
My dad woke up early on November 5, 2010 and walked to our front porch. He had planned to hunt on another property, but with the wind coming from the northwest, he decided to go to his lock-on stand in our bottom field. We all knew something was going to happen that morning. The rut was in full swing, the bucks were cruising and we had stayed out of that spot all year, knowing it was going to be hot once the bucks started chasing.
The first deer that came in was a fawn; it bedded down about 20 yards from my dad’s stand. As the fawn bedded down, my dad saw something coming in behind him—a mature doe. She had her tail tucked and appeared to be looking for her fawn. She walked right in front of my dad’s stand at about 15 yards. My dad was watching the doe when he heard a noise behind her.
With his bow in hand, he turned to see a giant mass of antlers coming down the trail. A trick my dad has always used with big deer is not to look at the rack more than you have to. Focus all your attention on that little crease behind the front leg. Had he paid more attention to this deer’s rack, who knows how shaken he’d have been.
Following the same trail as the doe, the buck would pass directly in front of my dad’s stand at 15 yards. My dad turned slightly toward the front of the stand to get in the right position. When the deer went behind a tree, he came to full draw. The deer was only eight yards away and headed toward the front of the stand, but then he turned and started walking toward the back.
This gave my dad had two choices: sit tight and hope the doe would lead the buck to the front side or turn around. He tucked up tight to the tree and started to turn very slow, while still at full draw. When he got in the right position, the buck was 12 yards away and slightly quartering to him.
My dad raised his bow just a little to get it over a limb, and the buck spotted him. But he was too late; my dad had the pin of his bow sight settled on the spot he wanted. When he touched the trigger of his release, he saw the arrow bury to the fletching in the crease behind the buck’s front shoulder. The buck took off running in the direction he came from.
I JUST SMOKED A GIANT!” was the text I received from my dad. I can’t tell you who was more excited. Since my dad didn’t see the deer go down, he decided to slip out of the woods to give him some time. He knew he’d made a great shot.
My brother and I were at work, so my dad called our good friends, Griffin Goetz and Zach Ramage, to help track the deer. The three of them waited three hours before going back to the spot where my dad stuck the biggest deer of his life. They began following the blood trail, and Griffin decided to swing out wide and look over a ridge to get a better view of the area. My dad and Zach were still making their way through the brush when they heard Griffin say, “Here he is” followed by “Oh my God, oh my God! Claude, this deer is a giant.”
My dad and Zach ran over, and dad knelt down and picked up the deer’s rack; no one said a word for a long time. When my brother and I got home, it was like looking at something from a video; no one could believe the size of the deer. A good friend and certified scorer for Boone and Crocket came out to score it—181 5/8 Band C gross.
My dad has been bow hunting whitetail deer for 30 years. He taught my brother and me everything we know about hunting. His most important saying is, “I have never killed a deer sitting on the couch!” If he has a spare moment, he is hunting, planting food plots, moving stands or shooting his bow. He lives and breathes hunting and is ethical and appreciative of the sport. No one deserves that deer more than my father, Claude Sadler.