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What an incredible season this has been! It started out with such high expectations. Numerous big bucks were showing up on the Reconyx cameras and high hopes were in our thoughts every day. Joe had many bucks that were on
the hit list. Topping that list was the buck that he had been hunting hard for the past 2 seasons-the 20 pointer. He had no idea how many points it had, just that it had many. His encounters with this buck were piling up even though this buck was primarily nocturnal. Katherine had the 20 pointer at point blank range last fall while sitting in a ground blind with a bow.

Watching a buck of this caliber can be unnerving for a veteran bow hunter, so one can only imagine how nerve racking it was for a 10 year old first time hunter to have this buck at 10 yards! After that encounter the buck disappeared from daylight until the day after season was over when Joe went to his tower blind armed with his camera and filmed the 20 pointer coming to his food plot with plenty of light. Later that winter while Joe and I were waging war on the ever increasing coyote population in Southern Wisconsin, we found one shed on a travel corridor coming from the other side of the farm to where Joe and Kat had their encounters.

Spring and summer passed with ever increasing anticipation for fall. Oct 26th arrived and Joe took to the woods for the first time. What a morning! Encounter after encounter with buck after buck! It was enough to drive his camera man over the edge of insanity! We saw The Heavy 8, The Big 8, The 17 Pointer, The Huge 9, The Velvet Buck, and numerous up and comers in the 3 year old range. Many times after a beautiful buck would walk by, I would turn the camera off and look at Joe and ask,"What is wrong with you?". He would just say that it was not the buck he wanted! I told him I was going to start bringing my bow and I would shoot all the deer he passed up. He laughed.

Bow season gone, gun season gone-but not without a lot of doubt. The rut hit the gun season perfect and the shooting was non-stop all around the farm. Buck after buck disappeared! Rumors were flying of 200 inchers getting shot and we feared the worst. The 20 Pointer was not on camera and no sightings. Muzzleloader season gone. Late archery season gone. Still nothing. Hope was running out. Many bucks were not around. Even home body buck, The Heavy 8 failed to show back up. The toll was really starting to weigh heavy on Joe. The high expectations of the season were really starting to hurt.

The late holiday hunt that starts on Christmas Eve started and with it came 16 inches of snow and cold temps! Perfect for the hunter! Joe checked his cameras and who showed up TWICE in daylight - The 20 Pointer! Incredible. Christmas came first and Joe and the family took a couple days to go skiing together. I jokingly told Joe that not to worry; I would sit his stands and watch his buck for him. Some reason he did not think that was a good idea. December 29th found Joe and I once again in the blind watching a couple of corn fields and some Biologic food plots. The field filled up and light was fading when movement back in the timber caught Joe's eye. Antlers! Big antlers! The 20 Pointer was coming!
He slowly made his way to the field edge and cautiously entered. Facing and quartering to the blind was his approach route. No shot. Joe had to move a little to readjust and a spooky old slickhead blew clearing the field!

Heartache is the only way to describe the emotion in the blind. We could only look at each other and ask,"Why?". Dec 30th finds us on the other side of the field in the same tower blind that Joe filmed the big buck in the day after season last year. A south wind was lightly dancing across the frozen landscape. The Big 8 came to the field early with several does and smaller bucks. I was doing my best to convince Joe that this was a good buck to take this late in the year. No luck. Joe had his mind set. 20 Pointer or empty tag for the 3rd year in a row.

"There he is! Get ready!" I heard the words, and almost didn't realize it was me that said them until Joe asked if I was serious. Once again, The 20 was slowly making his way right by the tower through the standing corn. At 50 yards, Joe laid the hammer back on his TC ProHunter muzzleloader and smoke filled the air. The 100 yard dash by the 20 Pointer was his last! Piling up in the open field closed the book on this incredible journey for Joe and his quest to take the biggest buck of his life! An absolute giant! Days like Dec 30th are the reason that hunters go to woods every day and every season chasing that elusive giant that haunts their dreams.

A camera man's perspective on a journey taken by Joe Eugster.