Once they saw a coworker’s photograph of a giant whitetail near Kenora, Ontario, friends Dennis Chevalier and Chris Savage devoted the next six weeks to becoming the smiling backdrops for the next picture.
Dennis and Chris drooled over the photo in early October 2012, and they nicknamed the buck Kong. Absolutely smitten with the deer, the duo gained permission to hunt private ground, scouted, set out trail cameras and erected a large pop-up blind.
Theirs was a team effort from the start. They even shared the blind, alternating roles as hunter and cameraman.
The pals saw a lot of deer, including several bucks, but none rivaled Kong. After hunting the same location for a couple of weeks, they moved the blind.
Three-quarters into the season, they were questioning their choosiness. They hadn’t even collected trail cam photos of the buck of their dreams.
On Nov. 19, six weeks into their quest, Dennis struck out alone because Chris had worked the night shift and needed some rest. Although the rut had already peaked, Dennis hoped that a hot doe, or even the search for one, might bring a decent buck — hopefully Kong — into range.
At 11 a.m., Dennis heard the crunch of feet over snow and looked out to see an extremely impressive buck approaching. It wasn’t Kong, but the 9-pointer wore a wide and heavy rack.
This deer was a stranger to Dennis; it had never walked in front of a camera lens.
That a mature buck was on its feet at midday had to be a good omen, he thought.
The next hour brought a doe and a fawn. Dennis hoped they would stick around long enough to be seen by a cruising buck, but they drifted away, which was a letdown.
They returned a few minutes later, however, and began feeding in front of the blind.
When the doe’s gaze shifted from ground to woods and her ears shot forward, Dennis followed her stare to an enormous and familiar buck. He knew immediately that it was Kong, and his heart began racing.
As quickly as Kong appeared, however, the magnificent animal wafted back into the trees, traveling westward along a ridge.
Dennis could cry, or he could do something, anything, to lure the buck back there. He thought about grunting; considered throwing out a snort-wheeze.
But since the doe was still out there, he opted to remain quiet.
Moments later, the deer in front of him began acting strangely. They snapped to attention and stared down the trail the day’s first buck had followed.
About that time, Dennis heard heavy footfalls to his left. He peeked around the corner and saw Kong. He’d stopped and was staring at the doe and fawn.
Dennis leaned back in his chair and waited for Kong to walk into the shooting lane. His heart was pounding out of his chest. The buck with the tall rack was even more magnificent than he’d looked in the photograph, and the bedazzled hunter had a hard time staying focused.
Rather than continue walking, the giant whitetail suddenly bolted forward, scattering the other deer. It stopped a mere 20 yards from the blind, quartering away from Dennis, who drew and leveled his sight pin behind the buck’s shoulder.
When the arrow smacked him, Kong wheeled and disappeared in a flash. Dennis, overcome with emotion, began texting close friends. Thirty minutes later, he retrieved his arrow and was pleased to see brightly colored lung blood.
The walk to the downed buck was a mere 50 yards.
After counting points and marveling at the rack’s mass, Dennis decided it was time to call and wake Chris.
– Photos Courtesy of Jeff Chevalier
Hunter: Dennis Chevalier
BTR Score: 196 7/8
This article was published in the October 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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