By Scott Bestul
by Scott Bestul
I always enjoy a deer story that involves a hunter who has a history with the buck he shoots. My friend Josh Swenson told me just such a tale last week; and the buck—a giant he’d named “Stickler”—threw in enough twists that it made the story downright bizarre.
Swenson had known Stickler over the last couple of seasons. He had many trail cam photos, but this fall the Wisconsin monster was pretty elusive. Josh had some photos from the summer, when Stickler not only took a big leap in antler growth. He also sported an odd, volleyball-sized lump growing between his front legs. Stickler disappeared for several weeks during the fall, and Josh wondered if the deer had been shot or otherwise met his maker; either from the lump, a vehicle, or some other accident.
Finally, during the state’s recent late muzzleloader season, Josh’s camera captured Stickler again. The buck appeared to have an injury to his back leg, and the chest lump was larger. But Swenson was excited to see Stickler again and decided to hunt that area two days later.