When Penetanguishene resident and hunter Bob Dutton decided to spend a few casual hours in the bush on Nov. 28, little did he know it would end up being a day for the record books.
Bringing all his skills as an archer into play, the 50-year-old brought down a massive whitetail buck.
Now Dutton is anxiously waiting to find out if his trophy buck has found its way into the Ontario record books.
"I was up at a farm in Tay Township that I have been hunting at for years. The first time I set eyes on him I knew he was a trophy buck," said Dutton, during a telephone interview with The Mirror.
Earlier in the month, Dutton had spotted the buck from a distance and other farmers in the area had spotted him wandering through the bush both this year and in 2006.
"I knew he had been in the area, because I had seen his scrapes and rubs," said Dutton. The whitetail buck measured 207.5 inches gross and 198.375 inches of antler. Dutton is hoping the buck will establish a new Ontario record in the Non Typical Category. "It going to be close. The current standing record is 197.375 inches so if I broke the record, it won't be by much," said Dutton.
The buck has been shipped to Advanced Wildlife Art and Taxidermy in Caledon to be mounted. Once the required 60 day drying period has passed, the members of the Foundation for the Recognition of Ontario Wildlife (F.R.O.W.), along with a panel of judges will conduct the official measurements. "It's all going to depend on how much the antlers shrink over the 60 days. In some cases antlers can shrink up to two inches," said Dutton.
Plans call for the deer to be measured on March 15 at the Bass Pro Shops sponsored Big Buck Show, a major hunting and fishing event held in the Toronto region every spring.
As with many hunting and fishing adventures, Dutton was blessed with a certain amount of luck on the hunt. "I had seen him earlier this year and to be honest I never thought I'd see him again. Those types of big bucks are nocturnal and so you don't see them much during the day," said Dutton. Clearly the buck had his mind on mating and Dutton said the buck was definitely on the track of a doe he came into view on the bone-chilling morning of Nov. 28.
"In my opinion, the only time you can get them is during the first rut or the second rut. I think this one was in the second rut," said Dutton.
Winter was gripping the Georgian Bay region when deer and hunter encountered one another. "When I first spotted him coming out of the hardwood trees he was about 150 yards away. He continued up the fence line and he was trotting and grunting," remembered Dutton.
Carefully he reached under his jacket and pulled out his grunt tube used the tube to mimic the grunting of the buck.
"I gave him a couple of grunts and he looked back my way. I gave him a couple of additional short grunts and that's when he jumped the fence and started running my way," he said. Luckily the deer disappeared briefly behind some trees and that gave Dutton the seconds he needed to draw his bow and arrow while in the sitting position.
"It was an easy draw and I was able to get him in the heart from 25 yards. He ran less than a 100 yards before he dropped," he said.
A hunter for more than 30 years, Dutton began shooting with a bow and arrow setup in the early 1980s. "Archery is the most thrilling part about hunting because it is so difficult. To get any deer with a bow and arrow is a trophy because you have to draw your bow and deer can smell, hear and see you so well," he said. Dutton is no stranger to the record books. In 1984, using a shotgun, he set an Ontario record of 158.626 inches in the typical record. That deer was taken in Tiny Township.
"This new buck dwarfs that one because it has so much mass on it," said Dutton. A photo of Dutton and his newest trophy buck has already been posted on one popular Ontario hunting website, with other hunters raving about the size of the animal. "Hunters can't believe it," he said.