Allison Rauscher’s self-confidence plummeted in 2018, when she shot and didn’t recover a great Wisconsin whitetail.
“That season was brutal,” said the 28-year-old bowhunter from Lake Mills. “That would’ve been my biggest deer ever.”
Compounding her misery, she also lost access to the property that yielded it. The landowner’s family wanted to hunt there.
Forced to find a new place to hunt in a hurry, Allison consulted land ownership maps. She wound up contacting a woman who owned 200 acres nearby, the same woman who’d given her permission to cross onto the property to look for the buck she’d shot in 2018.
Although she never found the deer, she took the woman some baked goods as a thank-you. That gesture probably got her the yes she needed later.
Gaining access so late in the year gave Allison little time to become acquainted with the place.
“I was scouting the new land into the season, which opened in mid-September,” she said.
Her earliest outings were unproductive, possibly because she never ventured into the heart of the property. When she was ready for a change of scenery, she went deeper and discovered a treasure trove of buck sign.
When Allison struck out in the snow on Halloween, she was prepared to hunt the entire day. About 4:30 that afternoon, a nubbin buck and a doe began feeding nearby.
When they grew antsy, constantly staring into the brush, she followed their gazes and spotted a beefy buck coming her way from 50 yards.
“Immediately, my heart started pounding,” she said. “It reminded me of the one I’d lost in 2018, the one that would’ve been my best ever. I was all ramped up.”
A nurse for an organ transplant unit, Allison was keenly aware her pulse rate was racing as she watched the deer work a scrape. When its mission was accomplished, she grunted softly to lure it closer.
And closer it came.
The estimated 4- to 5-year-old deer weighed a whopping 228 pounds, field-dressed. It has been rough-scored at 173 6/8 inches.
— Read Recent Blog! After-School Special: A.J. Post’s story could be called The Case of the Disappearing Bullet, since nobody could find the .50-caliber chunk of lead responsible for the hole in his buck’s heart.