Matt Wheeler from Coloma bagged the highest scoring typical whitetail with bow and arrow during 2007 that has been entered into state records so far. He arrowed the Boone and Crockett caliber 13-pointer on the evening of November 10 in Berrien County. The antlers have a gross score of 178 1/8 and net 174 2/8.
Wheeler captured the buck’s image five times on a trail camera between October 21 and November 4. He was hunting near where the photos were taken on the morning of November 8 when he got his first look at the live deer.
“At one point during the morning, I saw an 8-pointer on point,” Matt said. “He was looking at something in a 200 acre fallow field that had grown up in tall grass. I watched the area where he was looking and eventually saw a big set of antlers moving in the grass.
“I did a rattling sequence to see if I could get the buck bedded in the grass to come to me. The buck started toward me after I rattled, but he wouldn’t come any closer than 160 yards. I could tell it was the buck that had been photographed by the trail camera.
“A doe eventually stood up and that was what he was focused on. She must have been in heat. I thought about getting out of my treestand to stalk the buck, but decided to stay put and it almost paid off. Later in the day, I saw the buck coming toward me from a distance of 80 yards. Unfortunately, there were some guys trimming a nearby powerline at the time and their activity spooked him.”
Two days later, Matt decided to hunt a different spot that is a mile and a half from where he saw the book buck. The wind was perfect for the new location. That’s one of the main reasons he decided to switch spots, but he also had trail camera photos of a big 10-pointer that had been taken where he decided to hunt on the 10th.
“It’s only a 20 acre spot,” Wheeler said. “I have to walk all the way around it to get in position because it’s all thicket. I walk 150 yards down a drainage ditch to get to the stand. The tree the stand is in is only 30 yards from the drainage ditch.”
Matt uses his trail camera in that spot to monitor some mock scrapes he maintains there. He uses Moultree drippers over the mock scrapes that are filled with dominant buck urine he gets from a trapper supply house. Around the first of November, he replaces the buck urine with doe in heat scent.
The avid bowhunter wears Scent-Lok clothes and uses all of the sprays and soaps to minimize his odor.
“I just got done with a rattling and calling sequence and I heard the buck coming in behind me,” Wheeler said. “He came up to a scrape and ripped that up. He was on the way to another scrape when I grunted to stop him at 10 yards and shot.
“There were a lot of maple leaves still on the trees in that area on November 10th. They made for poor visibility. From what I saw of the buck’s rack, I thought it was the big 10-point I had photographed there when I shot him.”
Wheeler was hunting with a 64 pound pull Bow Tech compound and ACC carbon arrows tipped with 100 grain Mini-Blaster Rocket expandable broadheads. He’s been bowhunting for 31 years, having started when he was 12 years old and he’s now 43. He’s taken at least 30 deer with archery equipment, including 10 that score in excess of 125.
The buck only went 30 yards after being lanced by Matt’s arrow. He was in for a surprise when he reached the fallen whitetail.
“When I pulled his head out of the grass I said, ‘Holy cow. This is the big 12-point!'”
The buck’s rack ended up scoring a few inches short of what he thought it might be after examining the trail camera photos.
“I about freaked when I got the trail camera photos,” Wheeler commented. “I thought the rack would gross 181. The rack wasn’t as wide as I thought it was from the photos. The outside spread was 19 inches and I thought it was 21.”
The inside spread of the antlers ended up being 16 7/8 inches when the rack was officially scored. A short nontypical point on the right antler that is 1 1/8 inches long is the 13th tine. Both beams are 25 2/8 inches long and the third tines on both antlers are 11 4/8 inches long.n