Local hunters share story of first, biggest buck captured this year
By Barbie Porter
As the trees undress their leaves and cover the ground in the colors of autumn, legends are made. The stories are as old as man and those participating in hunting deer are often gifted with at least two such tales—the first and the biggest deer captured.
Vergas resident Brayden Ueke had his right of passage of collecting his first deer during the youth hunt season that was held Oct. 21-24. A few weeks before then, during archery season, rural Frazee resident Luke Perrine captured a behemoth and his biggest buck to date.
First deer: two booms and a call to grandma
Ueke has spent many hours in a deer stand with his dad. He learned all about the wait, enjoying the fresh air and quiet moments; he learned about gun safety and rules to follow when the hunt is afoot. All that knowledge was put into practice this year as he took the rifle that has been passed down generations and waited for his moment.
Ueke was gifted his rifle from his father Regi, who received it from his step dad. The father-son duo share shooting their first deer with the same weapon. Ueke shared his father taught him all about caring for the Browning Remington 308, so when hunting day arrived it would be polished and its aim true.
Ueke walked with his father into his grandfather’s field. The two arrived at a deer stand, took a seat and figured the wait would take hours, if not days. About 20 minutes into opening day of youth hunting season, a deer came into the field. He aimed, fired and the animal scampered into the woods.
While he thought there was a chance he hit it, an extensive search yielded no blood trail. Back into the stand they went to spend time together in the cool, yet sunny afternoon. Time marched forward and the field remained quiet, although the two entertained one another with a game of “bluff.”
Ueke shared either he or his father would suggest there was a deer in sight and see how long the other could wait out the “bluff.” There were plenty bluffs between the two, it was as if the deer he missed had told the others to stay clear of the field.
As the sun began to fall, Ueke was sitting on the floor of the stand and his father was keeping watch out the windows.
“He said there was a deer,” Ueke recalled. “I thought he was bluffing, but I had to look.”
It was no bluff. A deer popped out of the woods into the soy bean field. Ueke’s heart began to race. He jumped up and got into firing position by leaning into the window of the stand for added support while aiming.
“I shot—boom,” he said. “I missed, so I shot again—boom. Grandma said she heard the first shot, then the second and then got the phone call.”
Ueke had dropped his first deer on the spot by piercing its heart at about 50 yards. It was a nub buck that will provide his family with a hearty meal of steaks and chops.
The 10-year-old looks forward to gunning for a doe when the regular season opens up and eventually tackling hunting birds, moose, bear, elk and more.
Capturing the behemoth buck was a waiting game
Perrine understands Ueke’s passion for hunting. He, too, enjoys those moments of pure adrenaline during the hunt. While the 2005 Frazee High School graduate has done his fair share of rifle hunting, he has specialized in archery since he was about 15 years old.
“Bow hunting is more up close and personal,” he said, adding he uses a regular compound bow with a good 50-yard reach.
The archery season stretches from Sept. 18-Dec. 31 in Minnesota, but he captured his buck for the year on Oct. 11. His stretch of collecting monster bucks began years ago. The past five consecutive years Perrine has brought home a buck with a rack measuring at least 150 inches. The key is to have patience.
While in his stand, Perrine sees plenty of deer come into sight. He pays them no mind. Before the season begins, he checks game cameras dotted about his property. When a prize buck is found, a target is declared. That is the only deer Perrine has interest in during the season.
“He was my number one and only target,” Perrine said. “I knew him and watched him grow up on the trail cameras. I have a good handle on what deer are on my property.”
Last year the buck had 10-points. Perrine figured he’d consider the deer as an adversary in a few years. However, when he checked his game cameras this year and saw what a monster the buck became, he altered his plans.
“During velvet season he showed up on the game camera and had just blew up,” Perrine said. “It is uncommon for a buck to put on 60 inches of bone in one year. I didn’t know he was as big as he was until I put a tape on him on the ground.”
The legend of taking down the big buck started with the archery season. Perrine had been in the stand four times before the fateful night when the two met. It had been drizzling that day. Perrine figured the deer would be out and about because they have patterns.
“After rain the deer move,” he said. “So, I figured I had a good chance of seeing him that night.”
As the last light flickered on the horizon, Perrine contemplated calling it a night and picking up the hunt when his chores on the farm were done another day.
“I was thinking about my farming plans for the rest of the week when he came into view,” Perrine recalled.
The buck was communicating to other deer by scraping. Scraping is a way for bucks to leave a scent and to communicate with other deer. The buck was about 51 yards away when Perrine took aim and fired.
“For me, when a targeted deer shows up there is a hunting high, but instead of getting me worked up, I get calm and in the zone,” he said. “After it falls I start shouting and fall apart.”
After being struck, the buck ran. Perrine waited at least a hour before he began tracking the deer. The trail was strong, but it went further than he felt comfortable with.
“I decided to let it go until morning and not risk bumping it from its resting spot,” he said. “I went out again at daybreak and found him.”
Perrine called upon his good friend Jason Ziegler to help carry the deer back to his farm. When measured, the buck grossed 2031/8 total inches with 19 scorable points and 25 inch main beams (from which all points on the rack originate), more than 40 inches of mass and 22 inches wide.
“I never thought a buck would grow this big at home,” he said.