Soyland Archery Buck

September 22, 2016 | By: Keenan Soyland

The 2016 archery antelope season actually started for us during spring turkey season with notations on locations of animals as numbers have increased in recent years. September 2 was the first chance to make the 350 mile trek to antelope country which my experienced guide/father has hunted for over 40 years. Near the end of the first day after covering a lot of ground we had the spotting scope on what we knew instantly was a true South Dakota trophy. A very dominant buck in his prime with a herd of nearly twenty does. We hunted that buck hard for four days and made several stalks- getting close a couple times but things just did not coming together. Always being careful not to alarm the herd or buck if the stalk was not going to work. We dealt with all the keen eyes, ears and noses of the large herd. The last two days the wind blew up to 30 mph which made the chance of any shot very difficult.

The trip ended with long range pictures and dreams of a chance at a record book buck. Two weeks later another opportunity for a two day hunt came about and with very little question we were back on our way to see if we could once again find the king. When we returned the rut had definitely taken over as herd bucks had their harems rounded up and were standing guard to fend off any intruders.

We had worries about even finding the buck ever again but shortly after searching the area there he was! Only eight does with him and not too far off of a small drainage. The window of opportunity was there. So I grabbed what I needed and took some advice and headed up the creek bed. I was able to get within 150 yards of where they were and fortunate to have the wind in my favor. After many failed sneaks in the past with this buck today seemed different and time went fast. As I looked through the sagebrush my heart started pounding when I saw the buck actually coming ahead of the does straight towards me. There was one small depression just thirty yards in front of me and I briefly saw the tips of the bucks’ horns at 40 yards still coming fast. When his horns disappeared in the depression I drew my bow and waited. Unbelievably the buck came over the rise and stopped in his tracks the moment he noticed me at full draw. He was only 25 yards away quartering toward me. It seemed like the whole scenario played out in seconds.

As I let the arrow fly I instantly heard the wallop and saw the red flash right near the tail end of the ribcage. It was almost surreal as the buck went 75 yards and stood motionless with his head down. Shortly after he laid down and even though I felt very good about the shot placement I waited and tried to control my emotions until the binoculars told us he was laying on his side. I have known few things that create the excitement, thrill and satisfaction of taking a trophy animal when the odds are stacked against you!!

When my hunting partner Carl Johnson and my father Bill and I walked up on the buck “I’m not gonna lie”- there was sheer celebration for several minutes. An admiration of a downed majestic trophy and the thanks and respect to the landowner who allowed us to do what we live for. We felt blessed to have shared the hunt and the entire experience together.

After making the trek back home and having the buck scored his specs included 16 5/8 horn length, 6 1/2 inch bases and heavy all the way to the top. His gross green score is 82 2/8 before deductions and the 60 day drying period. I am told he could rank in the top archery kills in the state, so time will tell but no matter what the score the memories of hunting and taking a prairie king will be cherished forever.

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