Wisconsin Bowhunter Takes Down Nontypical Buck of a Lifetime on His Family Property

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: twildlife

It had been a lifetime in the making when Sam Vedvei recently took down his 17-pointer buck. The South Dakota bowhunter tagged the nontypical buck on Oct. 18 with only 15 minutes of daylight left.

In mid-September, the buck started appearing on Vedvei’s camera. After reviewing photos from the year before, he realized the buck had shown up three times in 2021— something that took him a moment to realize.

“He was a nice deer in 2021 but not nearly what he is this year,” said Vedvei. “He grew about 40 inches.”

Last month, a cold front swept through the state and he decided to go for it. “I knew this cold snap was going to be my best chance to kill this buck all year,” he explained. “I live in a heavy ag area, and we don’t have much timber, so deer rely on crops for cover. Once the harvest starts, they pack up and move on.”

After spending four days in his tree stand, on his fifth day, he felt confident because the wind, which had been blowing 30 miles per hour, had finally quieted.

“I never saw a deer that night until 7:00 p.m., about 15 minutes before the end of shooting light,” he said. “I heard a rustling behind me and figured it was a squirrel or raccoon. But when I turned to look, I saw the silhouette of his rack above the chest-high native grass.”

Bowhunter’s buck was ‘one hell of a surprise’ when he found him

In less than a minute, the buck moved into an open pasture 25 yards from his stand.

“I had no time to think,” Vedvei said. “It was all reaction. He stepped out broadside and my shot was a touch back—I ended up clipping the back of the lungs and caught the liver—and he took off in a dead sprint in the same direction he came from.”

Vedvei has hunted the family farm since he was a young kid. Today, he lives a short drive away and spends time observing deer movement all year— a practice that paid off for him before and after he let go of the arrow.

While his treestand was actually equipped for rifle hunting, he knew the grassy area behind the stand was a prime area for bucks. So when it was time to track the deer, he had a good idea of how it would go down.

“My state of mind was pretty positive. I was confident that I’d made a lethal shot, and after hunting this same property my entire life, essentially, I know how deer travel in and out of the area,” he said. “I basically knew exactly where he’d go, but when you’re tracking a deer, obviously you want to do it right and follow the blood.”

Vedvei followed the blood trail through crop fields in the dark, sometimes falling onto his hands and knees. He eventually located the buck about 400 yards from where he hit it. But, he was at a loss for words once he saw him.

“From the camera photos, I kind of figured this deer to be probably in the 170s to low 180s,” he says. “He was one hell of a surprise when I stepped up to him. He was bigger than I thought.”