15 Year Old Bags 279.5 lb Monster Buck During MN Youth Hunt
This is a true story about a hunt, and a deer of a lifetime, that almost didn’t happen. Elijah “Eli” Johnson, the 15 year old deer hunter from Baudette, MN was sitting in his tree stand on Saturday, October 21st during the evening hunt. His buddy, Nolan Fish gave him a call wanting to go to the movies. Elijah wanted to sit till dark, so Nolan came out to the stand and sat with Elijah even though he wasn’t hunting. A good decision as that evening, the monster appeared. Elijah harvested the 279.5 lb monster buck that rack scored 169 3/8 green.
Eli was hunting over a picked soybean field during the Saturday evening hunt. He was not using any trail cams and had no idea a buck of that stature was in the area. He was just deer hunting.
He and his buddy Nolan were sitting in the open stand together when the big boy stepped out. Eli shot once and the deer walked back into the woods. The boys held tight while Eli contacted his dad, Jeremiah. As they sat and waited, they were not only losing light but it started raining.
When his dad arrived, the three went into the woods looking for the buck. With little blood, they looked for about an hour and discussed pulling back and trying again the next morning. Jeremiah suggested they do one more look around, just in case. Eli found him on that last ditch effort and was, as you can imagine, absolutely elated.
They tagged the deer, field dressed it, and drug it out to a field where a neighbor helped load it up into the Ranger.
Seeing it in the light, they knew Eli had harvested a very special deer.
It was too late to bring the deer in that night and get it weighed, so in the morning, Jeremiah bought a scale. They already knew this was a special buck, but this buck was so big that when they winched it up in the garage, it actually broke one of the rafters!
Eli and Jeremiah brought the big buck to a local sporting goods store and had it weighed and scored. The weight, 279.5 lbs with a green score of 169 3/8, a true monster.
The man working at the sporting goods store, Woods Goods, has seen a lot of big bucks as the store does a big buck contest each year. He said he had never weighed a deer this big through the many years he has been weighing deer for that contest. Eli, unfortunately, had not entered the contest as this monster most likely will surpass any deer entered.
The Lake of the Woods area is home to a strong population of white tailed deer. In addition, there are literally tens of thousands of acres of public hunting land throughout the area. The opportunity to deer hunt a large, mostly unpopulated area is wide open.
Many people don’t realize the strong agriculture that happens throughout the area. The combination of many crops combined with large wooded areas is ideal deer hunting habitat.
During the spring of the year when there is still snow in the woods (sheltered by the shade of the trees) but the fields exposed to the warm spring sunshine are melting, deer will be feeding in these fields by the hundreds. Lots of deer for everyone.
Many resorts have very reasonable rates during deer hunting, which is a relatively quiet time up at Lake of the Woods as the ice is forming for the upcoming ice fishing season. This is a perfect opportunity for deer hunting camp if you don’t have a tradition already set up.
A big congratulations to Eli and his family for this experience. It is also really cool his good buddy Nolan was sitting in the stand with Eli when the entire memory making events went down. A memory the two will never forget.
If you deer hunt, you know. You just never know when that deer of a lifetime is going to appear. It keeps us in the woods longer despite chores, cold temps, hunger pains and going to the movies.