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A Sportswoman's Tale: Cooperative hunting area leads to deer of a lifetime

By Deanna Nikiel

Shooting a deer of a lifetime is a combination of a variety of factors.

It all came together for me when I was hunting during the final week of the Southern Zone Early Archery season last fall.

We knew this big deer was around. We have been watching this deer for two years via trail cameras, but we had no sightings while hunting.

On Nov. 11, he stepped out at about 80 yards.  I didn’t need binoculars to know he was the monster we’ve been seeing.  He turned and headed away from me. I grunted to get him to stop, then snort wheezed (by hand) and he came back to give me a 25-yard broadside shot. Definitely my biggest ever — he’s the buck of a lifetime.

He turned out to be a main frame 10-point with a split brow and kickers and mass that carries to the points. It's just insane.

Trophy Tape put him at 152 1/4 inches, and we think he’s five years old.

From food plots to shed hunting with our trained black lab, and trail cameras down to the meat on the dinner table, our lives revolve around hunting.

My husband Jay and I started Wyoming County Whitetail Cooperative to get our neighbors into QDM (Quality Deer Management) and here is an example of what can come out of it.

Yes, I was able to harvest this deer, but without the commitment to QDMA, to our Wyoming County Whitetail Cooperative and, most importantly, my husband, it wouldn’t have been possible.

Having a group of neighbors that follow the same guidelines and only harvest mature deer makes it a little easier to let the 2 1/2 year old deer walk away.

It’s not all about taking deer of this caliber; it’s about maintaining a healthy balanced deer herd. Taking the correct number of mature doe from your property is extremely important. It’s about knowing the food and bedding needed to sustain the herd.

It’s a lot of work, but it truly is a passion our family shares.

Good luck and shoot straight!

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