Images Courtesy of Brent Olfert
Brent Olfert’s No. 1 target buck was killed by a truck during the pre-season. Then he found this deer
Buck Score: 2054/8 inches (gross) / 203 inches (net)
Date of Harvest: September 2, 2021
Location of Harvest: Saskatchewan, Canada
Weapon of Harvest: Compound Bow
Saskatchewan Whitetail chaser extraordinaire Brent Olfert is a dedicated deer hunter, and he tagged a huge Whitetail during the 2021 season. Aged 5½ to 6½ years old, the fully mature deer was a challenge, but it eventually fell to a well-placed arrow.
This deer wasn’t Olfert’s original target animal, though, as he explains. “In July 2021, my non-typical giant Whitetail dreams were smashed when the deer I watched grow into a 200-plus-inch giant was struck by a truck and killed in early summer,” Olfert said. “It was time to go back to the drawing board. I was out checking cams in the late afternoon toward the end of July and decided to go watch a few fields to see if anything was hitting them.”
That’s when he saw this new deer for the first time. “I knew his brows were solid and that he wasn’t super wide,” Olfert said. “But it looked like a sheet of velvet on his head. I headed home extremely excited that I had a new target buck. When I got home, I apologized to my wife in advance telling her that I was going to be a little obsessed with this deer. “The next morning, I made a few calls and thankfully received permission from yet another gracious landowner for what I thought would be the best place to set up for him,” he continued.
Over the next few days and weeks, Olfert worked to prepare several treestand locations for an encounter with this buck. Seeing the buck for the first time in late July and then again in August, it quickly became a regular occurrence and he continued to frequent this hunting area. With 30 years of knowledge and 20 years of hunting the general area, Olfert pulled on decades of experience to plan for this Whitetail.
With minimal action on September 1, 2021, the big day fell on September 2. The day was mostly sunny and breezy. The area consisted of flat farmland with grass, trees and sloughs. From his stand location, a ring of trees encircled the slough with grass and weeds growing within it.
Settling in for the afternoon sit, Olfert listened as the wind blew and pheasants cackled. It was the second day of archery season and anticipation steadily built with each passing minute.
After a few hours of inactivity, Olfert finally spotted movement. A doe emerged in the distance. He had a problem, though. “Every time the wind gusted, my stand creaked,” he said. “I tried everything to make it stop but couldn’t figure it out.”
Unfortunately, the doe heard the noise and started stomping, blowing and carrying on. “She looked straight up at me and made a huge scene for what felt like an eternity,” Olfert said. “I believed my [hunt] was ruined. While she went on, I moved all over the stand trying to get the noise to stop. Finally, it quit.”
About 10 minutes later, the huge buck materialized. “I looked down at a sight I’ll never forget,” Olfert said. “His antlers were at 10 yards almost directly below me. I quickly got buck fever when I saw how big he was.”
As the buck walked into the open, Olfert started his video camera and hit record. He grabbed his bow, drew back, and calmed himself for the shot. Then, he sent it. Incredibly, the deer jumped the string, and the arrow soared over the buck’s back.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Olfert said. “He didn’t see a thing but heard the bowstring and jumped back about 10 yards and stood there for a few minutes. He flicked his tail, walked back in, and I thought I might get a second chance. I waited until his head was turned in a way the drop tine covered his eye and drew once again.”
To make matters worse, Olfert’s peep sight tube was broken and the peep was turned sideways. So, he let back down. “I slowly grabbed the tube and chewed it flush,” he said. “I tried to put it back on with one hand while still leaning on the stand to keep it from creaking. That’s when the buck started to walk away in the same direction he came from. He stopped, and I knew this was my last chance.”
Hoping the tube would hold, he drew back and took the shot. The arrow struck the vitals. “As he ran away, I knew he was in trouble because he ran square into three different trees that were 4 to 6 inches in diameter,” Olfert said. “As he hit the third one, he piled up at the bottom of it, not 20 yards from impact.”
After a while, a co-worker and friend showed up to help with the recovery and photography process. Both were excited that he got the deer.
“This whole hunt from start to finish still doesn’t even seem real,” Olfert said. “It was totally a dream come true. Deer hunting is 100% my go-to for getting away from the stress of work and life. For me, it’s year-round from shed hunting, trail cams, summer scouting, archery hunting, black powder, rifle, etc.”
In 2021, that dedication resulted in a 2054/8-inch Whitetail. While he might or might not top that, he won’t ever stop trying.
White Lab: Big Buck Tactics
There are many different takeaways from this hunt. First and foremost, Olfert quickly dealt with the problem of losing his 200-plus-inch target buck to a vehicle collision. Rather than throwing in the towel or sulking, he went and found another 200-inch deer.
Secondly, Olfert went and glassed areas that he thought might be holding a mature deer. This proved to be true, as he located a giant buck he had not been aware of before.
Another tactic he used was scoring permission on a neighboring tract. In an age where this is more difficult than it once was, Olfert got it done anyway. He used specific methods to help secure the permission needed to gain access.
A third takeaway was the squeaky stand. This almost ruined his entire hunt. In fact, he had to stand in an awkward position just to keep it quiet once the buck appeared. When safely hanging treestands, it’s important to check these aspects to ensure the stands are safe, locked in and quiet. Many hunts have been botched due to noisy treestands.