On Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, 12-year-old Dylan Beach of Motley, Minn. squeezed off a single shot from his Remington .270 and harvested a colossal 28-point whitetail buck—a deer with enough mass to make it one of the largest ever taken by a hunter in the state.
Sitting with his stepfather, Wilbur Verbeck, in a deer blind on his aunt’s farm, Dylan says the day started like any other and he wasn’t sure what they’d see, though never in his wildest dreams did he think they’d encounter the buck of a lifetime.
“I was hunting with my stepdad, and we got in the stand around 7:15 a.m. I was facing a field and my stepdad was facing a swamp. I first saw the deer around 7:40 about 100 yards away, and he turned and started walking towards us, but I couldn’t tell it was such a large deer. At 50 yards, he turned broadside so I shot him,” Dylan says. “I didn’t know his rack was that big because I was focusing on where I was going to shoot, not on the antlers.
After Dylan's shot hit, the buck fell over, got up again taking a few more steps before going down for good.
Climbing out of their blind and walking towards the deer, Dylan said he didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the moment until he finally stood next to the animal.
“When we got out of the stand and walked up to it, we were surprised how big the rack was. It was the first time we ever saw this deer. We started cheering and celebrating. I high-fived my stepdad and called everybody to tell them what happened,” Dylan says. “He had a big body too. Gutted out, the deer weighed 229 pounds. It took four people to put him in the back of the pickup.”
That same morning, half a mile away, Minnesota resident Al Haman sat quietly in a forested portion of his 80 acres, waiting, watching and listening for the same deer when he heard the distant echo of Dylan’s rifle shot. Haman knew the buck well. In December, 2010, his trail camera captured one of the first photographs of the deer. In the three years since, he’s watched it grow in size and celebrity.