"It was a team effort," Inda says. "We didn't claim stands or anything like that. We did the scouting and the planning together, and it could just as easily have been him as me." Carpenter concurs. "I don't feel any jealousy at all. I passed on some pretty decent bucks and a lot of does so that one of us could be in this position. I just feel really blessed to be a part of it.".
When this 12-point typical buck came in to Brian Inda’s grunt call on Nov. 2, the Wautoma carpenter knew that he had a golden opportunity to set the new Wisconsin state record. All he had to do was make the shot.
Inda and his hunting partner, Craig Carpenter (left), had the buck’s shed antlers from last year in their possession. Those antlers grossed 192 inches. “We figured he would be bigger this year than last,” says Inda. One look at the half-dozen trail cam photos they got this year confirmed that the buck, estimated to be 7 years old, had only improved with age.
The current Wisconsin state archery record, according to the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club, is a 16-point 187 2/8 buck taken in 2006 by Barry Rose, a former wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. A green score of Inda’s buck tallied 198 2/8 inches gross, 188 2/8 net.
Inda, his brother Chris (left) and several friends found the sheds while hunting last spring on private property near Wild Rose, Wisconsin. But shed hunting was all they had permission to do. It looked like the buck would be out of reach come hunting season.
Then a chance twist of fate put the buck back in the picture for Inda and Carpenter: They did a carpentry job for Kirk Christmas Trees, which is adjacent to the property where they found the sheds. They learned that the hunting lease for that property was available and quickly nabbed it.
The two then began setting up trail cams and scouting stands to help them pattern the buck. They only managed to capture the elusive buck on trail cam a half-dozen times.
In late October, while searching for a blind that had blown away in a windstorm, they saw the buck stand up in a field. They quickly backed out. “I said, ‘Let’s get out of here. I can buy another tree stand anytime,'” Carpenter recalls.
On November 2, the two men–who work together as well as hunt together–finished a job and then conferred about what to do next. “We had to decide whether to go to the next job or go bowhunting,” recalls Inda. “That was a no-brainer. We went hunting.”
They arrived at the 120-acre tree farm about 4:00 and discussed which of their six stands to hunt. “We have two stands that work for the wind we had, and we knew one of us was going to one and one to the other,” Inda says. “We talked it over, and Craig said, ‘I’ve had better luck at this stand and you’ve had better luck at that stand. So it was settled. We wished each other good luck, and off we went.”
Now into the sixth week of archery season, both men had passed on several bucks and the wait was starting to wear. “I had just sent him a text message saying I’d about had it with archery season and was ready for gun season,” Inda says.
He tried a series of grunt calls, and about 10 minutes later the big buck stepped out of the brush about 60 yards away. Inda froze. “It was kind of an open tree, not much cover, and I didn’t want him to see me.” He resisted the urge to call again as the buck hesitated, then watched him come toward his stand.
“He was definitely bothered by the idea that another buck was on his territory,” Inda says. “He came straight in to a mock scrape that we had started about 30 yards from the stand, and just went off on that thing, pawing the ground and raking branches with his antlers.”
The buck was facing Inda’s stand, leaving no shot. But his patience was rewarded the big typical continued down a trail toward his stand. He made a broadside shot at a dozen paces. After several excited phone calls he had gathered a large crew–including his father and Carpenter’s father–to help track the buck and celebrate the find.
Inda (with his girlfriend, Theresa) now has to wait until January for an official score. “It will be really close, but I feel like we have a good shot at the record. Whether it gets the state record or not will come down to an inch here or an inch there, but either way it’s a really great buck.”
“It was a team effort,” Inda says. “We didn’t claim stands or anything like that. We did the scouting and the planning together, and it could just as easily have been him as me.” Carpenter concurs. “I don’t feel any jealousy at all. I passed on some pretty decent bucks and a lot of does so that one of us could be in this position. I just feel really blessed to be a part of it.”
Update: The Wisconsin Buck & Bear Club certified Brian Inda’s 12-point buck as the new Wisconsin state archery record whitetail in February, 2011. Click here to read the story.