About 10 years ago Hudson, Wisconsin native Blaine Marion, 46, decided to develop a management plan for the property he owned with his father, Jerry. The 160-acre property connects directly to a farm belonging to Jerry’s neighbors where they grow roughly 300 acres of corn and soybeans. They settled on a plan to only shoot bucks that they would have mounted and leave a large section of their property undisturbed to provide the deer with a sanctuary. In a few years, Blaine and Jerry, along with their neighbors, began seeing and shooting bigger, healthier bucks.
Blaine and his wife, Bev, have three children, a son Bryce and two daughters Kaylie and Emalie who all live at home. Blaine has been a bow hunter for 26 years and recently purchased a bow for Bryce with the thought he would join him in the woods next year. Jerry takes care of the trail cameras on the property and keeps Blaine updated since his son lives 90 minutes away. Blaine and Bryce make the trip quite often during the fall and early winter months for hunting season and they all enjoy spending time in the woods.
Blaine called his father in the last week of October and told him he was planning to pick up Bryce from school and drive directly to the farm to hunt that night. His father told him deer activity had increased greatly over the past few days and he figured rut would be in full swing by the weekend. Jerry wasn’t going to be able to hunt with them that Friday, but would be able to join them after they were out of the woods.
Friday, Oct. 29, rolled around and Blaine left work early and picked Bryce up at school for a weekend of hunting with his grandfather. They were joined that afternoon by Blaine’s nephew, Daniel Brinker, who was already taking some practice shots in the yard when they arrived.
Blaine spoke to his father for a few minutes about where he was seeing deer and took his bow out of the truck and joined Bryce and Daniel making sure he was on his mark before changing into their hunting clothes, spraying down with Scent Killer, and heading into the woods The hunting grounds consist of two 80-acre parcels arranged in an L-shape with a hardwood ridge going through the center and low thick swamp area down below. Daniel was on a stand on one end of the property, near a neighbor’s crop field where Jerry had seen several deer along the edges earlier in the week.
Blaine’s stand was on the side of the ridge and looking down into the swampy area. Both were in their stands around 3 p.m. Bryce had stayed in the house to get his homework out of the way so he could enjoy the rest of the weekend with his dad and grandfather. Things were fairly quiet and the first deer to approach was a small buck at 3:30 p.m.; a few minutes later a larger 8-point buck appeared and wandered past Blaine’s stand. It was cool that evening and a light breeze was blowing directly in his face and the deer were up and moving around.
Around 4:15 p.m. Blaine heard something to the southwest. It was a doe moving along a trail and in her tracks was the largest buck Blaine had ever seen. He slowly stood and was in position to take a shot as soon as the doe cleared his stand so he didn’t risk spooking the buck. The doe was off to his side and looking the other direction when he drew back his PSE Durango and steadied his sight on the opening, waiting for the buck to enter for a shot.
The buck froze and seemed to be staring in Blaine’s direction. The buck had stalled at 45 yards and his focus was clearly on the doe. She would soon be out of his sight and the buck seemed like he was ready to run at any time.
Blaine had his bow drawn for a few minutes and was starting to feel the strain of holding the 70-pound draw weight until the buck turned for a moment, giving him a second to lower the bow. Despite his best efforts, the bow lunged a bit when he let up on the string and Blaine knew he had moved more than he’d wanted.
Thinking the buck was going to bolt at any time, Blaine slowly looked up to see the buck had moved in the direction of the doe. The buck was concealed by brush, but his head was held high and Blaine could see he was an absolute monster. He had seen all the trail cam photos his father had sent and knew this buck was a stranger to their property.
The buck began closing the distance to the doe and Blaine’s stand. He stopped once more and Blaine could see the buck had a lot of mass and a drop tine on one side of his rack. He was inside 20 yards in some brush with no clear shot when he made a slight turn. Blaine raised his bow and came to full draw again, waiting for the buck to clear a group of Ironwood trees. Blaine knew this was a record-book animal and coached himself to stay calm and be steady. The buck took a step and was finally in the clear. Blaine settled the pin on his vitals and released a Carbon Express arrow tipped with a Spitfire Broadhead.
The arrow flight appeared to be true, but Blaine heard a loud crack, which caused him immediate concern. He asked himself, “Did I miss? What did I hit?” He could see the buck’s rack 60 yards from where he had shot, standing still and looking to where he’d just come from. Blaine was scanning where he shot trying to find his arrow in a tree or on the ground, wondering what he hit.
He spotted his arrow on the ground, but couldn’t tell if it was bloody. When Blaine looked over to where he saw the deer last, he couldn’t see him and didn’t recall hearing him run off. Blaine looked at the arrow again with his binoculars and saw it was, indeed, covered in blood. After about 10 minutes Blaine packed his gear and got down to go retrieve his arrow and check for a blood trail.
While he was walking to his arrow he was thinking how neat it would have been for Bryce to be in the stand with him today. He wouldn’t have had room to make the shot with him in the stand, but it would have been fantastic to share the moment with his son. Blaine found his arrow and it was covered in blood with a good trail starting a short distance away.
When Daniela and Bryce came to pick him up at nightfall, he told thema bout the buck and enlisted their help in searching. They found the trail and followed it for about 80 yards when the blood suddenly vanished. The trip had made a couple of passes before deciding to wait until morning. Everyone was up early to resume the search. Blaine had called his friend, Pete Blomquist to lend a hand. Along with his father, son and nephew he was confident he had enough people to help find his buck. They returned to where they stopped the search the night before and spread out.
Bryce was found his dad’s trophy, not more then 20 yards from where they had stopped searching the night before. They took a bunch of pictures and most everyone got into them before they returned to the house. Blaine knew this was a 200″ buck and asked Paul Korn, an official Safari Club International scorer, to set a tape to his rack. SCI scorers can provide a final score if the animal is not a top 10 trophy without a 60 day drying period.
Blaine’s nontypical buck scored 215 3/8″ and should easily qualify for Pope and Young’s record books and, quite possibly, Boone and Crockett’ as a typical Whitetail.
Paul Rudolph, owner of Wolf River Taxidermy in Stanley, Wisconsin will taking care of mounting Blaine’s newest addition to his growing collection of trophies taken for the property over the years. The last couple of years have produced several 150″ to 160″ animals for the family, a tradition Blaine plans to carry on with his son Bryce. This could very well be the largest nontypical and highest scoring whitetail taken by any hunter in the state of Wisconsin this season.
Blaine Marion of Hudson, WI developed a conservative management plan for the 160-acre plot he owns with his father that involved only shooting trophy bucks and leaving a large area undisturbed to act as a sanctuary. The father and son plan to grow bigger, healthier bucks on the property seems to have paid off, with Blaine taking this buck in October that, with a prelimiary score of 215 inches, may be the biggest nontypical buck out of Wisconsin this season.